By Pepe Escobar, Information Clearing House, 7/13/11
Surge, bribe and run? Or surge, bribe and stay? How US military bases and the energy war play out in Afghanistan.
July 13, 2011 “Al Jazeera” – Among multiple layers of deception and newspeak, the official Washington spin on the strategic quagmire in Afghanistan simply does not hold.
No more than “50-75 ‘al-Qaeda types’ in Afghanistan”, according to the CIA, have been responsible for draining the US government by no less than US $10 billion a month, or $120 billion a year.
At the same time, outgoing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been adamant that withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is “premature”. The Pentagon wants the White House to “hold off on ending the Afghanistan troop surge until the fall of 2012.”
That of course shadows the fact that even if there were a full draw down, the final result would be the same number of US troops before the Obama administration-ordered AfPak surge.
And even if there is some sort of draw down, it will mostly impact troops in supporting roles – which can be easily replaced by “private contractors” (euphemism for mercenaries). There are already over 100,000 “private contractors” in Afghanistan.
It’s raining trillions
A recent, detailed study by the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University revealed that the war on terror has cost the US economy, so far, from $3.7 trillion (the most conservative estimate) to $4.4 trillion (the moderate estimate). Then there are interest payments on these costs – another $1 trillion.
That makes the total cost of the war on terror to be, at least, a staggering $5.4 trillion. And that does not include, as the report mentions, “additional macroeconomic consequences of war spending”, or a promised (and undelivered) $5.3 billion reconstruction aid for Afghanistan.
Who’s profiting from this bonanza? That’s easy – US military contractors and a global banking/financial elite.
The notion that the US government would spend $10 billion a month just to chase a few “al-Qaeda types” in the Hindu Kush is nonsense.
The Pentagon itself has dismissed the notion – insisting that just capturing and killing Osama bin Laden does not change the equation; the Taliban are still a threat.
In numerous occasions Taliban leader Mullah Omar himself has characterised his struggle as a “nationalist movement”. Apart from the historical record showing that Washington always fears and fights nationalist movements, Omar’s comment also shows that the Taliban strategy has nothing to do with al-Qaeda’s aim of establishing a Caliphate via global jihad.
So al-Qaeda is not the major enemy – not anymore, nor has it been for quite some time now. This is a war between a superpower and a fierce, nationalist, predominantly Pashtun movement – of which the Taliban are a major strand; regardless of their medieval ways, they are fighting a foreign occupation and doing what they can to undermine a puppet regime (Hamid Karzai’s).
Look at my bankruptcy model
In the famous November 1, 2004 video that played a crucial part in assuring the reelection of George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden – or a clone of Osama bin Laden – once again expanded on how the “mujahedeen bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat.”
That’s the exact same strategy al-Qaeda has deployed against the US….
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