Monday, June 21, 2010


Boy in Marja, Afghanistan [model campaign of March 2010 yet unsettled], through barbed wire fence of Marines camp enclosure, NYT photo

The war in Afghanistan is now the longest war, nearly ten years, ever fought by the USA. The first reason for going to war was to counter-attack al Qaida's base there, as a response to 911. There was to be no "nation building." No staying around to help out. The Taliban was deposed as the country's central government, but remains powerful, and al Qaida's leader Osama bin Laden escaped our clutches. Opium production skyrocketed, thousands of civilians killed, and hundreds of thousands made refugees—collateral damage of war. We abandoned our initial limited goals, put it all on hold to go to Iraq where we thought war more profitable, and now we re-develop our Afghan interest, in a surge of $1,000,000 per U.S. soldier deployed.

U.S. citizens are finally becoming disenchanted with this war. A Washington Post / ABC News poll June 3-6, 2010 indicated 53% No, and 47% Yes, to the question, "Is the War {Afghan} Worth the Costs?" The Pentagon's response to this bad news in the war marketplace was swift. Two weeks later we have the New York Times article, "U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan."** A supposed $1 trillion dollars worth.


The hot trail of evidence for the story goes back to a Defense Department / U.S. Geological Survey study began in 2004, renewed in 2006, and based on documents that had been left in a heap by the Soviets when they fled Afghanistan after 9 years of fruitless war in 1989. Apparently the war industry felt that our flagging war fever needed a shot in the arm. "There's gold in them thar hills!" And lithium, to which everyone with a laptop battery can relate.

e have embarked upon a path of endless preemptive wars, where the reasons for the war, are less important than the need for continued progress in the war industry. War and Homeland Security have become our predominant national products. The profit margin is always better for a Bradley Fighting Vehicle than for a Cadillac. And while you might not sell the Cadillac, the government purchase is always assured for the Bradley, as long as the politics of fear can be maintained.

The U.S. public needs not a new war motivation, but a serious examination of conscience. The gleam of greed for power and money, in the guise of self-protection, must be cast out of the public eye. Military manufacturing and services are not listed categories in the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis annual tables of our Gross Domestic Product***, but they most certainly comprise our number one export to the rest of the world.

Civilian casualties of war--womens' graves in Gardez, Afghanistan

The most recent accounting****of total war costs {Iraq & Afghanistan} done in early 2008 found $3 trillion expended at that time. Costs to the people and infrastructures in the countries of the wars, was not included. War has become job one in the USA. At what price? Ask a returning combat soldier what they have seen of suffering--their comrades, and civilians, in those countries become battlefields.

Where our treasure is our hearts will be. Lord God, make us instruments of Your peace.

*Mineral type coined by comedian commentator Stephan Colbert


****"The Three Trillion Dollar War" book by Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winning economist at Columbia University


Illumination {inverted by editor} by Kathy Brahney

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