Rich Galen

As an election observer I'm supposed to watch what goes on and report on it. I am not supposed to be an election judge nor an enforcer of Afghan election law. As I will only be in one province, I can only report on what I saw in that province. It is a little like looking through a straw and trying to describe the Grand Canyon.

However the National Democratic Institute has observers, as does the European Union. Japan has sent a contingent and the United Nations will be easily in evidence. The hope is, if you put all those straws together a more-or-less accurate determination of how the election was run should be reachable.

The success bar appears to have been set pretty low by the people, mostly foreigners, who are in charge of this election. The short hand is: If the Afghan people think the election was legit, then the election was legit.

The betting line has Karzai winning with just a bit over the 50% margin needed. If its just over 50 percent, then the charges of ballot stuffing and/or ballots being tossed off the side of a mountain will certainly follow.

It is important for the civil government of Afghanistan to continue to grow in strength and reach. The U.S. is leading the fight here and President Obama has put the task of defeating the Taliban near the top of his foreign policy agenda.

According to the BBC

[Obama] is sending 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan and success or failure there will help determine how history views his administration.

Two presidents - Obama and Karzai - have a lot riding on Thursday's election.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at