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Imperfect Democracy

June 18, 2002

"Karzai Chosen as Leader, Vows to Rebuild Nation" (June 14) states that Afghanistan's loya jirga [grand assembly] "has fallen far short of what Westerners would regard as an exercise in democracy. Some delegates won their seats through bribery, threats or favor-trading."

I don't know what planet your reporters are living on, but it is quite evident to me that bribery, threats and favor-trading are all that remain of democracy in the West. Isn't a "campaign contribution" just a euphemism for a pre-paid bribe? Surely you understand that behind-the-scenes threats and favor-trading are major "tools of the trade" in shaping public policy at the local, state and national levels. You cannot be that naive; let's get with the program.

Dave Perrone

West Hollywood

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