The Never Ending War 2.0

If you were hoping that the ever deteriorating situation in Afghanistan might lead U.S. military and civilian leaders to just declare victory and go home, then I’ve got a spot of bad news for you. It comes in the form of a front page New York Times headline that reads: U.S. Discovers Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan.

These are the opening paragraphs of the story in question:

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Blackberries.

I hate to be the one to say it, but… well, let’s face it: we’re never leaving, now.

(Edit: OK, now that I’ve had a few moments for the story to sink in, I’ve got to ask the question: why the fuck were we prospecting in the first place? Does the U.S. military just make it a habit to travel around with a troupe of oil and minerals industry geologists wherever they happen to invade?)


No, darling, we are there to prospect. All the rest is phantasmagoria.

I can assure you, Serolf, that like no self-respecting shrink would go along with Gitmo torture, no self-respecting geologist would go prospecting in Afghanistan.

And you missed this part:

Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.

The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced.

Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts.

Ya think?

@SanFranLefty: $30 million bribe? Thats pretty good. Thats damn good, you’d think in Afghanistan you could buy the mineral rights with some beads and a mirror.

@Benedick: We were wrong, we called it a “war for oil,” we should never have narrowed it to just oil. It was always all about corporate hegemony over all resources of any kind.

Nations are obsolete, aren’t they? They are tools now, manipulated by the international corporate oligarchy, used by the corporations to fight the wars for the benefit of the corporations, hey, its a great way to externalize what would otherwise be a huge cost, maintaining armies and fighting wars.

The Brit government is lobbying the US government not to penalize BP and raise the liablity cap, because of the impact this would have on British pension funds. The nations are now just a tool of the corporations, doing the bidding of the corporations.

Obama is standing off, just making noise, first off, because he is one of them, he is just happy and proud that now that he is president, he is the one the corporations go to so they can use him, and second, because he knows, that if he tried to object, and truly establish the power and authority of the government of a nation, over the free-floating soveriegnty of a multinational corporation, that he would be messing with one of the “primal forces of nature,” and they would destroy him, as they have destroyed any public figure over the last 60 years who dared to raise his head in opposition to the hegemony of the corporate overlords.

They need someone like Ibn Saud to whip the bickering tribes into line. Maybe a 6-7 Saudi with a long beard.

The Defense Department has a logistics bureau that develops projections of base citing and personal requirements out decades and starting in the mid-1990s it was interesting to see how great a concentration of force the department’s planners assumed would be organized in Central Asia. They were essentially planning to fight resource wars like the one Cheney waged in Iraq. Likely, DoD had their own geologists doing surveys and just as likely it was desk research reviewing records of previous live geological surveys.

@Serolf: Does the U.S. military just make it a habit to travel around with a troupe of oil and minerals industry geologists wherever they happen to invade? Yes

@SanFranLefty: Well, um, “self-respect” is subjective, right?

@FlyingChainSaw: and, yes.

George Custer establish a precedent of prospecting in a war zone (1874 Black Hills). That turned out well.

I for one am relieved to know that my new iPad will have lithium for its battery. And plus my new earth-friendly electric car. So when I drive to the mall to buy stuff I won’t be contributing to global warming.

@Nabisco: You ever read the Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia?

@FlyingChainSaw: How about US Marine Major General Smedley Butler’s “War is a Racket”? He wrote this booklet in 1935.

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