Monday, October 19, 2009

Afghanistan banana stand

I remember back when nobody knew anything about Afghanistan. It was just some desert country in the middle east that nobody gave a second thought about. Then the Russians invaded. Exactly why I have no clue. If you look up the information in Factbook you find a country with little to no resources and no reason to stay. Much like the badlands of the west it's one of those places you want to get through quickly to get to a better place. They have no oil, minerals, industry or timber and yet here we are bogged down in a war that could last for years. But that's not the worst of it. If you look closely you find that we are paying for this war but, not just for our troops and hardware but for theirs as well. Not only are we sending our army and trying to build an Afghan army but indirectly we're providing money to both the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Everytime you fill up your gas tank some of the money goes for taxes to pay for our army while at the same time some of the profits from that barrel of oil gets skimmed off to pay the other side. What a win win situation for the arms suppliers.

So we've gone from the military industrial complex that Eisenhour warned us about to the terrorist industrial complex. I think the latter may be worse in that not only are we spending billions for hardware over seas but we're putting billions for anti terrorist equipment over here in the form of homeland security. And I'm sorry but I just can't see a need for having a small town like Bozo,Texas with six bio-chemical suits costing $10,000 each when nobody in the town knows how to use them or would ever need to use them. But "we got em by god". We don't bother to help pay for police overtime at airports with federal dollars, we leave that to drain city and state budgets.
Then there's the funding on the other side. We knew Bin Ladin was fairly well off, his family owning one of the biggest construction companies in the middle east, but there was the fund raisers among rich arabs just after 911 that continue. Our CIA has yet to track down the money trail because of the way they transfer money over there. They use small money changers with no paper trail or so I've read. Then of course there's the opium. By one NY Times article the Taliban skims off 10% of the opium money from farmers much like a tax. Reports from $70 to $400 million go to support the Taliban which has become a shaddow government in the southern part of the country. Then you have to stop and consider that the Taliban doesn't have to lug a 50 lb. back pack with all the equipment that goes with it. They can travel light and don't have the expense of milti million dollar armored vehicles, jets or planes. And how could we expect to win hearts and minds when we can't provide much more than a temporary illusion of security. Who would you trust, someone yelling at you in a foreign language you don't speak or someone who looks like you, speaks your language and shares your customs?

This is truly a no win situation. Like a cancer you can't get rid of without killing the patient the Taliban are an ingrained part of the country. But then I thought that was the original strategy to go in rout the Taliban and banish them to the hills where they'd be irrelivent. We sent them packing to the hills only to have them come back and take over the southern areas.


Holte Ender said...

That's why Afghanistan is known as "the Graveyard of Empires" going back to the Mongols and probably further than history knows. The countries surrounding Afghanistan have always had more interest to would be occupiers, but let's not forget the mighty poppy, a massive cash crop. It's amazing throughout all the recent conflicts, the poppy keeps growing, you see the odd video of authorities destroying a poppy-field, just for show.

MRMacrum said...

In my opinion, Afghanistan has more to do with keeping Pakistan stable than Afghanistan. Again we find ourselves in a position where if we leave, the power vacuum created may be worse than the situation was before we went in. There is no winning in Afghanistan, just as there was no winning in Iraq. But at least now we are focusing in an area that warrants it.

J. Marquis said...

I don't mind concentrating on the Afghan-Pakistan border but it's insanity to think we can "nation build". It was nearly impossible in Iraq and they actually had an infrastructure in some areas.

S.W. Anderson said...

Many excellent points in your post and subsequent comments. I'll just add what a joke it is that we're struggling to develop a capable Afghan military. Afghans have been known as fierce, determined fighters since shortly after dirt was invented. What's lacking isn't organization, guns and fighting skills. It's Afghans lack of will to suit the needs a Western interlopers and protect a corrupt, basically impotent government.

Many Afghans no doubt see the Taliban as a less-than-ideal ruling group, yet preferable to a corrupt puppet of the U.S. The Russians couldn't overcome that attitude and neither can we.

Randal Graves said...

SWA just about covered it. They day they start being the willing puppets of the American Empire is the day I use my music CDs in a game of ultimate frisbee.

Pull out and use the money saved to buy all the military/industrial complex dickwavers a game of rock 'em sock 'em robots to soothe their savage souls.