What are we doing in Afghanistan?

I think it’s pretty well accepted that Al Qaeda has left Afghanistan. They’ve tucked themselves into the western portion of Pakistan like a tick. So, although the Taliban are an oppressive regime, our goal is not still to eliminate the Taliban, is it?

We must remember that Afghanistan is much less than a third world country. Afghanistan is still living in the 1500s. Sure, there are a few cell phone towers in Kabul and Kandahar, but outside of that there isn’t much. There is almost no infrastructure. There are no roads with pavement on them. Central heating and air-conditioning are laughable. The Industrial Revolution and the conveniences of the 20th century have completely passed by this part of the world.

So why are we still in Afghanistan? The knee-jerk answer is to prevent the Taliban and Al Qaeda from getting another foothold in this country. We would like to prevent another 9/11. I guess my question is — do we need to turn Afghanistan into West Virginia (rural and mountainous) in order to accomplish this objective? Why can’t we pull a Mohammad Ali (a “rope-a-dope” maneuver) and pull back into a few bases, decreasing our troop strength to around 5000? Then we could strike whenever large groups of Taliban or Al Qaeda gather. Also, there are several dysfunctional countries throughout the world. Why can’t folks like the Taliban and Al Qaeda move to chronically dysfunctional countries in South Asia or Central Africa?

I don’t pretend to have the answers as to why we are still in Afghanistan. I do think these questions need to be asked. I’m hoping that members of the Obama administration are asking these questions. 10 years ago, there was this rumor milling around the liberal circles (I was tempted to say the blogosphere, but it didn’t exist back then) that the United States and the big oil giants discovered a large amount of natural gas in some of the former Soviet Union states. The United States wanted that gas. It just so happens that these countries (Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) border Afghanistan. Coincidence?

The following is a video from Real News Networks. They believe, and they have some evidence to back it up, that we remain in Afghanistan in order to pave the way for this transcontinental pipeline. It is interesting how George W. Bush’s name continues to pop up.

Watch the video:

More at The Real News

Let me add that I don’t know if this is true. I do know that money moves American politics. I also know that Big Oil has a lot of money to throw around.

0 Responses

  1. I would say that Big Oil wants to sell the natural gas all around the world.  They would like to sell it not only today but for the next 50 years and more. So, I think that this is venture for the future. 

  2. When Bush took his eye off Osama and went into Iraq, he blew his chance to get out Afghanistan gracefully.

    The last major power to pacify the tribal region the western powers call Afghanistan was Alexander the Great. Everyone else who tried in the last two millennia has left with their tails between their legs, including the British and, in our lifetimes, the Soviets. It’s not a knock against U.S. willpower or firepower to expect the same will happen to us, inevitably. The question at this point is, how much more blood and treasure are we going to expend before coming to terms with the inevitable?

    Obama’s best play is to figure out how to get out in the most face-saving way.

  3. Here’s all you need to know about Afghanistan:

    ”  The greatest strength the Taliban has had – and still has – is time. I’m indebted to Ambassador Eikenberry for first drawing to my attention a quote that already is a leitmotiv of this conflict. As he told it, either he or one of his officers was quizzing a Taliban captive on the insurgency’s view of how the crisis would unfold. “The trouble with you American’s,” the prisoner said, “is you have watches – we have time.”  ”


  4. What are we doing in Afghanistan?
    Have you forgotten that Oil Pipeline?
    you know the one, which was persued pre 911 as a choice of a ‘Carpet of Gold or a Carpet of bombs’, right that pie line.

  5. you are so right. Or he was thinking it didn’t matter. Or that he really wanted to stay for awhile. I don’t know.  All I know is that we are stuck in this country that really nobody with any sense wants. 

  6. Simple! We are in Afganistan for the very same reasom we are in Iraq: Big Oil !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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