Resistance Rabble-Rouser Rohrabacher Refused Entry to Afghanistan

Rohrabacher playing dress-up in Afghanistan. (Rohrabacher photo via Mother Jones)

Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tried to pull a fast one over the weekend and sneak in as a “last minute replacement” on a Congressional delegation to Afghanistan. The problem was that, as BBC reported, the rest of the delegation had visas for entry but Rohrabacher did not. Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai learned that Rohrabacher had joined the group prior to it leaving Dubai for Kabul, and he instructed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ground the flight until Rohrabacher was removed.

I find it really hard to believe that Rohrabacher did not plan to be a part of the trip from the start, but wanted to avoid advance publication of his plans. Back in January, Rohrabacher, along with his usual co-conspirators Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA), somehow managed to get Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) to lend a patina of “bipartisanship” to a meeting held in Berlin that many viewed as a call to partition Afghanistan and to arm opposition groups such as the Northern Alliance. This meeting made Karzai “incredibly angry”, giving Rohrabacher good reason to try to stay below Karzai’s radar. Further, Rohrabacher also held a Congressional hearing on establishing an independent Balochistan, which, if drawn according to cultural lines, would take territory from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

The full list of Congressmembers on the weekend trip to Afghanistan has not been disclosed, but the fact Politico reports that it was headed by Gohmert supports my suspicion that Rohrabacher planned to attend all along. The timing for additional meddling in US-Afghanistan relations could not have been worse, because Sunday was when it was announced that the US and Afghanistan had finally reached agreement on the outlines of a long term agreement for US support after the withdrawal of fighting forces. Rohrabacher seems to be quite entertained by Karzai’s response. Returning to the Politico article:

“Apparently, [Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai just goes bananas every time he hears that I might be, in some way, coming into his country,” Rohrabacher said in a phone interview with POLITICO on Monday while he waited in Qatar for a flight back to the U.S.

That bragging pretty much confirms that Rohrabacher knew he couldn’t give Karzai advance warning that he was coming. In their article on Rohrabacher being turned back, the Los Angeles Times appears to have been coached by Rohrabacher’s team, as they tried to soften issue of not having a visa:

Afghan officials say Rohrabacher lacked a visa. But State Department officials said no other members of Congress have been barred from Afghanistan, and members usually aren’t required to get visas because they fly into military bases.

The Washington Post reports that Gohmert led the remaining members of the delegation on to more talks with the Northern Alliance, further suggesting to me that Rohrabacher had planned all along to join the trip.

In addition to his current meddling that has called for two different routes to carving up Afghanistan, the BBC article reminds us that, as seen in a photo Rohrabacher provided to Mother Jones a couple of years ago and reproduced above, he actually took up arms in Afghanistan in the 1980’s to fight alongside the mujahideen:

The US embassy in Kabul has been quick to distance the US government from Mr Rohrabacher, whose involvement in Afghanistan goes back to the 1980s during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, our correspondent reports.

At the time he often accompanied mujahideen forces fighting the Russians.

Rohrabacher’s freedom-fighting then gave us a wonderful “hero” by the name of Osama bin Laden. Who will his latest adventures bring us?

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.
7 replies
  1. Jeff Kaye says:

    I can’t believe Rohrabacher is just free-lancing all this. Whose interests (besides his own) does he represent? What is their agenda when it comes to Afghanistan? Partition? The US seems quite mild in their treatment of his shenanigans.

  2. Jim White says:

    @Jeff Kaye: Well, he’s been “out there”, or as the Mother Jones article notes, “batshit crazy” basically forever. The response does seem quiet for now, but I have to wonder if he will be following the MEK supporters as next in line for investigation of “material support” violations.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    @Jeff Kaye: He certainly isn’t paying for it out of his re-election coffers or personal assets. Someone is footing the bill and allowing him to run as a front man for their views. It may be to distract from intended goals, to act as a trial balloon for them, or to be a focus for would be followers for a policy such as, “Let the president do as he sees fit; we’re all in jeopardy, so discard even thinking about oversight or having a rational plan the president is willing to own, lobby for and risk political capital on.”

    Rohrabacher could be, for example, a distraction from the president’s now routine behavior of avoiding public ownership of his actions, while hiding behind public pablum, party controllers, and useful idiots such as Rohrabacher. I don’t suppose he even imagines a down side in his role; he’s likely to be handsomely rewarded for it.

  4. Phoenix Woman says:

    @Jeff Kaye: To use the old saying: It’s OK, so long as you’re a Republican. Look at Mitt Romney’s current dealings with Netanyahu — or Nixon’s and Kissinger’s pre-1968-election dealings (via Anna Chennault) that sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks so that Nixon could win the elections later that year.

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