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?)