It seems the United States has known for a long time that Afghanistan is loaded with mineral wealth, and the Russians have known even longer. It explains a lot. Who really thought we were there to bring democracy to warring tribes who practice their own version?
The Obama Administration, hard put to explain why it has persevered in George W. Bush’s misadventures in the Middle East and Central Asia, and harder on leaks to the press than the Bush-Cheney people, has now leaked to the press an account of Afghanistan’s fabulous mineral wealth.
Fancy that. It’s not so much a leak as sleight of hand. There have been previous stories. But the Administration is under the gun to explain why we can afford a war in Afghanistan but can’t afford decent services for our people.
So now we know, if we didn’t before, that Afghanistan has emeralds and sapphires and gold and copper and more lithium than Bolivia, our main source. But there’s a little problem. The Afghans are considerably more corrupt than we are and considerably better at it. So that mineral wealth and efforts to extract it might just intensify the war and give rise to more corruption than Afghanistan’s poppies have.
But them’s the breaks. The Administration needed to justify its loony policies. The generals needed to justify their grandiose strategies. So now we risk making Hamid Karzai KIng Midas and handing over a bonanza to the Taliban or China or both, just as we bankrupted ourselves in Iraq to hand it over to Iran’s influence.
It gets worse. Much worse. The Administration confesses to The New York Times, which “broke” the somewhat tainted story, that it’s worried about Afghanistan’s culture of corruption. More than it’s worried about our own Minerals Management Service in the Interior Department, which has been serving as a handmaiden to the offshore drillers? The Administration has done little to nothing to reform MMS, but it’s worried about corruption in Afghanistan.
I say give each of our soldiers an emerald and get the hell out of there.
Oh, but the point, you see, Mr. Marbrook, is that we can’t get out of there now because we want those minerals. Oh yeah, I see. So how many more thousands of soldiers do we need to guard the corporations that plan to exploit all that mineral wealth? And what will the Taliban and their Pakistani pals be doing while we rationalize another surge?
But did you see, sir, that the Russians just declined Kyrgystan’s plea for help to quell ethnic violence? The Russians said, We’ve been watching events in Iraq and Afghanistan closely and we conclude it’s not in our interests to send troops. Seems like the Russians are learning the lessons we have inoculated ourselves against.
It’s all too pat, this “revelation” about Afghanistan’s mineral riches. The Russians knew about them and took their geological surveys with them when they pulled out. That means the Taliban knew about them, too. So by pulling this rabbit out of the hat who does the Administration seek to fool? Certainly not our enemies. No, it must be us our Administration is trying to fool.
And what does it want, besides all that tax money we seem willing to spend on war but not on peace? It wants more of our children, more blood to spill, more flag-waving, more coffins, and an Arlington National Cemetery that cannot even bury our heroes decently.