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:
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.