Tuesday, March 22, 2011
After 10 years in Afghanistan why are we still there ?
If you break it down, this translates out to 2-3 lives and $796,328,671.00 in taxpayer money wasted every week on a war that nobody wants. That’s right; a recent poll revealed that 2/3 of the American public no longer thinks that the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting.
While the current official stance is that troops will begin being moved out of Afghanistan in July of 2011 (with all troops to be removed by 2014), there is talk of what a post 2014 US Presence in Afghanistan should look like, which doesn’t sound as if the US plans on ever leaving completely. This talk was corroborated by Defense Secretary Gates who observed that the transference of security to Afghani civilian forces (which are currently being trained by the US military) may very well take longer than the 2014 deadline. It is a statement that is not sitting at all well with the American people, nor is the fact that it has been pointed out by sources outside the government that even if the number of Afghans being trained to take over security (the number is over 300,000 at this point) can be trained in time, the cost to Afghanistan (a notoriously impoverished country) to keep them trained and paid and supplied would be greater than Afghanistan’s entire gross domestic product
In spite of President Obama’s assurances that troops will begin to be withdrawn in July of this year, General Patraeus was recently quoted as saying he will “provide options and a recommendation” to the President regarding the number of troops to remove from Afghanistan this year. That caution is needed, and he went on to say that while steps forward in Afghani security are real, that they are “fragile and reversible.”
But it isn’t just the idea of a continued US presence in Afghanistan that is sticking in the craw of the American public; it is also the suspicion that there has been an organized effort by the government to hoodwink the American public into support of the war. Everything from the supposed ‘wikileaks’ documents which reports ties between the Taliban and Pakistan, to the 2010 announcement by pentagon officials (backed up by American geologists) that over $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits have been ‘discovered’ in Afghanistan (a fact which has been known to geologists for decades) make it clear that the US government is doing everything within its power to stall the withdrawal of troops.
Is the reluctance on the part of the US government to withdraw from Afghanistan truly a result over the concern for the Afghani people or is it, as some claim, a reaction to the 2010 agreement between Iran and Pakistan to create the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline? (which would give Afghanistan – given its border with Iran – a strategic significance in the world oil market).
In short, what began eleven years ago as a commitment by the American Government to find and bring to justice those responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil (specifically Osama bin Laden, who was being harbored by the Islamic extremist Taliban government, headquartered in Afghanistan) has turned into a full-scale headache, complete with the responsibility of rebuilding Afghanistan (for whatever reason) within a democratic framework and maintaining an American presence in the country even after we have turned security over to the Afghanis.
Is it truly the security of America and Americans that is now at stake? Or is it something more?