Posts tagged Afghanistan

The US Just Can’t Stop Blowing Billions in Afghanistan

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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The US Just Can’t Stop Blowing Billions in Afghanistan

 

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We stay and will stay in a more “limited” way in Afghanistan because it is vitally important in the “grand game.” Afghanistan is the cornerstone of Asia and it is at the crossroads of the Silk Road. To the north is Putin’s Russia, to the west Iran. To the east China. To the south India. It may be inhospitable. It may be dangerous. It may be the place where historically empires have gone to die. But it is full of unexploited minerals and lots and lots of opium.

To control Asia (which is probably impossible though the British gave it a good go) one must control the craggy peaks and dusty valleys of Afghanistan. And that is why we continue to dump money down a hole in the country and will probably forever. That and if we stop things will probably get get even worse. This is why we should leave empire building to other countries. We were once a colony. We didn’t like it.

(From Vice News)
 
Afghanistan may now be a catch-22, but US donors have missed several chances to learn a lesson. Sopko pointed to a 1988 USAID report on development in Afghanistan, drawing many of the same conclusions that US officials are realizing now. And many of the mistakes made in Iraq — particularly with sub-contractors — were repeated in Afghanistan and are once again becoming the norm.
 
“I’ve seen it in Somalia, in Yemen. The system of corruption and collusion between the US government and these contractors was born in Afghanistan and is being replicated elsewhere,” Jackson said, adding that development in Afghanistan took a turn for the worse after a surge both in military presence and in misguided development projects. “In 2010 you had this massive influx of money and all these quick-impact projects, and focus on burn rates rather than results.”
 
“That’s very important for understanding why Afghanistan is such a mess now,” she added. “If you look back, it could have gone differently.”

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
 

 

Why do we stay in Afghanistan? $30 trillion in the ground.

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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Why do we stay in Afghanistan? $30 trillion in the ground

 

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There are actually 2 major reasons. The first is that Afghanistan is at the crossroads of Asia. The power which controls Afghanistan controls the Kyber Pass and with it access to the Indian sub-continent. To the east is China. To the north Russia, to the west the Middle East. Though it’s a rough neighborhood the real estate is prime location-wise.

The other is that Afghanistan is full of minerals we (and other countries) need. Lithium, vital to electronics is in abundant supply. As is copper, iron ore, gold, and a host of rare earth materials. The countries of the world are licking their chops, and we just happen to be sitting on top of all the wealth. Well good for us.

The problem (one of them) is there is no way to get all this wealth out of the backwater. Iron ore is much heavier than heroin which can be packed out on the back of a camel. So, a railroad has to be built – in Afghanistan.

This ought to work like a charm. No way anyone will blow up the rails in a turf war or anything like that. I wonder who will be tasked with keeping the lines open? I wonder who will be tasked with paying for this?

Like I said, we won’t be leaving completely anytime soon.

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.

 

‘I Didn’t Join to Be Sacrificed’: U.S. Troops Fed Up with Risky Afghanistan Strategy

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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‘I Didn’t Join to Be Sacrificed’: U.S. Troops Fed Up with Risky Afghanistan Strategy

 

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Afghanistan stinks. The death, despair, cronyism, corruption, the companies licking their chops over lithium and rare earths deposits, the endless funds which are printed here and flow through Kabul to God only knows where, the “heroin bomb” dropped on American cities. The country may look like heaven in places, but for America it has been hell.

It should be noted that the Macedonians, the British, and the Russians, all found themselves bogged down in the Hindu Kush and expended treasure and blood with nothing to show for the effort. Afghanistan killed the Soviets as a superpower.

But we didn’t heed the lessons of history. We found ourselves at the heart of Asia, a strategically vital place and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave it. It’s smack dab between China, India, the Middle East, and Russia. Afghanistan is at the crossroads to the Old World. It is a prize, but the cost is dear, terribly dear.

(From Breitbart.com)
 
A Navy SEAL who left his job only a few years shy of full retirement said the following: “I got out because I couldn’t take it anymore. We tried to explain how much reckless danger we were being exposed to and they told us we were being illogical.”
 
This type of response has created a growing crisis of confidence between our warfighters and senior military leadership. His argument wasn’t illogical at all.
 
A gut-wrenching pattern began forming in early 2009, a pattern completely ignored by Congress, the White House, and apparently the DoD.
 
In the first seven plus years of war in Afghanistan (October 2001 – December 2008) we lost 630 U.S. soldiers. In early 2009, this administration authorized the implementation of the COIN strategy. Over the next five years, the U.S. death toll skyrocket to 2,292.
 
Seventy-three percent of all U.S. deaths in Afghanistan have taken place since 2009.

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.

 

 

Rep. Walter Jones: More Spending on Afghanistan is ‘Insanity’

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Source: http://ronpaulinstitute.org

By RPI Staff

Rep. Walter Jones: More Spending on Afghanistan is ‘Insanity’

 

Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), an RPI Advisory Board Member, delivers hard-hitting questions and comments during a House Armed Services hearing this week on the “State of Al Qaeda, its Affiliates, and Associated Groups: View From Outside Experts.” On the continuing controversy over the US/Afghanistan status of forces treaty and the prospect of ten more years of spending money in Afghanistan, Rep. Jones  has this to say:

The people in my district, the third district of North Carolina, the home of Camp LeJeune Marine Base, 60,000 retired military, do not understand the stupidity of this policy in Afghanistan. On the 30th of January, in the Washington Post, and I’m sure you probably read it, after billions in U.S. investment, Afghanistan’s roads are falling apart.

Watch the short video segment of Rep. Jones’ excellent comments here:

 

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Will U.S. Ever Leave Afghanistan?

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Will U.S. Ever Leave Afghanistan?

 

1-23-2014 8-16-23 PM

 

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Published by NextNewsNetwork

The Crazy Neocon Newtster is Channeling Ron and Rand Paul on Foreign Policy

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Source: http://libertycalling.net

Posted by Judy Morris

The Crazy Neocon Newtster is Channeling Ron and Rand Paul on Foreign Policy

 

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The Washington Times:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a leading neoconservative hawk and staunch supporter of Israel, says the U.S. military interventions he has long supported to promote democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere have backfired and need to be re-evaluated.

“I am a neoconservative. But at some point, even if you are a neoconservative, you need to take a deep breath to ask if our strategies in the Middle East have succeeded,” the 2012 Republican presidential hopeful said in an interview.

Mr. Gingrich supported the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, but he said he has increasingly doubted the strategy of attempting to export democracy by force to countries where the religion and culture are not hospitable to Western values.

“It may be that our capacity to export democracy is a lot more limited than we thought,” he said.
Mr. Gingrich at times has expressed doubts about the U.S. capacity for nation-building, but he said he now has formed his own conclusions about their failures in light of the experiences of the past decade.
“My worry about all this is not new,” Mr. Gingrich said. “But my willingness to reach a conclusion is new.”

Mr. Gingrich said it is time for Republicans to heed some of the anti-interventionist ideas offered by the libertarian-minded Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, and Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, tea party favorite and foreign policy skeptic.

The U.S. Government Has Awarded Contracts To Al-Qaeda In Afghanistan? This can’t be true.

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

The U.S. Government Has Awarded Contracts To Al-Qaeda In Afghanistan? This can’t be true.

 

 

Let’s just say this is disappointing.

I was going to rant on, but geez, Just leave that place. What a horrible waste.

 

(From Zerohedge.com)
 
Supporters of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan have been getting U.S. military contracts, and American officials are citing “due process rights” as a reason not to cancel the agreements, according to an independent agency monitoring spending.
 
“I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract,” Sopko said.
 
The 236-page report and Sopko’s summary provide one of the watchdog agency’s most critical appraisals of U.S. performance in helping to build a stable Afghanistan as the Pentagon prepares to withdraw combat troops by the end of next year.

Click here for the article.

 

The Pentagon is spending taxpayer dollars on what?

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

By Nick Sorrentino

The Pentagon is spending taxpayer dollars on what?

 

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One of the biggest failings of conservatives over the years, and especially since the end of the Cold War, has been the failure to understand that the military is big government too. It is full of waste, and much larger than it should be.

Some will always argue that “defense” is specifically enumerated in the Constitution and therefore a legitimate expenditure. It is a legitimate expenditure.

But it is “defense” which is enumerated. Policing all of the world’s sea lanes was not envisioned by our founders. Nor was maintaining an archipelago of bases in every corner of the world. This is hugely expensive and a drain on our economy back home.

(From The Daily Caller)

The military recently spent $34 million on a construction project in Afghanistan. The money was spent building a headquarters for planning U.S. military operations. Unfortunately, the structure is unoccupied and will most likely never be used. It will either be demolished or handed over to the Afghans.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State received $3.5 million from the Department of Defense to purchase land around the base to protect gophers that inhabit the area. The DOD also gave Eglin Air Force Base in Florida $1.75 million to save a tortoise habitat.*

Click here for the article.

*For the record I am a big fan of tortoises

The Michael Hastings Wreck–Video Evidence Only Deepens The Mystery

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Source: http://whowhatwhy.com

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The Michael Hastings Wreck–Video Evidence Only Deepens The Mystery

 

Or was it?

 

Michael Krikorian, an essayist and former Los Angeles Times crime reporter, happened upon the scene a few hours after journalist Michael Hastings’s speeding car slammed into a palm tree and burst into a fireball.

Krikorian has seen his share of fatal car wrecks. But this one was different. As he put it, “This demands a closer examination.”

In accident-investigation parlance, it was a roadway departure–a non-intersection crash in which a vehicle leaves the traveled way for some reason.

But how and why did Hastings’s Mercedes depart the traveled way, and why was it traveling so perilously fast?

In a city where there seem to be as many car wrecks as cars, North Highland Avenue in L.A.’s Hancock Park neighborhood is not exactly Dead Man’s Curve. A fatal car accident there is rare.

Highland is a four-lane neighborhood artery as straight as a laser, with a narrow, grassy median lined with towering Washingtonia robusta palms. In the two miles between Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards, not a single traffic fatality was recorded on Highland from 2001 to 2009, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. http://map.itoworld.com/road-casualties-usa#fullscreen

In the final moments of Michael Hastings’s life, the car he was operating accelerated to a treacherous speed before swerving off the pavement, mounting the median and slamming into one of the palms. There were no skid marks—no apparent attempt to brake before the collision.

Hastings, 33, covered the Iraq War as a young correspondent for Newsweek. But he made front-page news (and won the prestigious George Polk journalism prize) for his 2010 Rolling Stone magazine profile of “The Runaway General,” Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO’s security force in Afghanistan. Hastings’s story portrayed the dismissive contempt with which McChrystal and his staff viewed President Obama and Vice President Biden. The general apologized, calling the profile “a mistake reflecting poor judgment.” But he was forced to resign.

Michael Hastings was carving out a journalism niche as a muckraker, and some see nefarious forces at work in his death.

We asked Michael Krikorian for his take on the curious accident, which happened in his hometown on a block he visits several times a week. He provides the details of new video evidence that offers a few clues about the seemingly inexplicable fatality.—David J. Krajicek

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By Michael Krikorian

Shortly before 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18, I was walking with my girlfriend, Nancy Silverton, to get my car, which I had left the night before at her restaurant, Pizzeria Mozza, at Highland and Melrose avenues. Walking west on Melrose, we noticed crime scene tape as we arrived at Highland. Just to the south, a wrecked and charred car was being pulled away from a palm tree in the median.

We lifted the yellow tape and walked down the sidewalk to get access to the alley leading to the lot where my car was parked. A Los Angeles police officer stopped us. Nancy explained she owned the restaurant and I identified myself as a reporter. The officer let us walk on and gave a quick rundown: A man had driven into the tree at 4:30 that morning. He was dead.

My first thought was that another early morning L.A. drunk had killed himself. I told the officer that a security camera located outside the front door of the pizzeria probably captured the crash.

As we talked to the police, a Mozza employee named Gary, who has been staying at a small apartment above the restaurant, approached us to say that he had heard the crash.

“I heard a ‘whoosh,’ then what sounded like a bump and then an explosion,” he said. “I thought the building had been hit.”

He said he rushed down and saw the car ablaze. Gary listened as two men who claimed to have witnessed the crash told police the car had sped through a red light at Melrose.

Later, when the pizzeria manager arrived at work, we watched the security camera footage.  There’s no wonder it was a fatality. The crash ended with a hellish explosion and fire. The officer, watching the video with us, was as stunned as we were. He said, “I have never seen a car explode like that.”

Soon, a flatbed truck with the burned Mercedes CL 250 aboard drove slowly by, going north in the southbound lanes of Highland. The front of the car, particularly on the driver’s side, was badly damaged. I snapped a couple of poor photos with my iPhone.

The Man Who Brought Down General McChrystal

Nancy and I got in my car and went home. I went on to Watts to do some reporting on another story and later to Gardena. That afternoon, I got an email from a friend to whom I had mentioned the crash. It included a link to an L.A. Times story about the wreck. My friend wrote, “The driver was a well-known journalist: Michael Hastings. What a drag. Obviously a talented guy. Wonder why he was driving so fast?”

I went online and read about Michael Hastings, the guy who brought down General McChrystal. The conspiracy theories were already being spun on the web: that a bomb had been planted in the car, or that its controls had been hacked and the crash was engineered remotely by an unseen hand.

For nearly five years, McChrystal served as chief of the Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees the military’s commando units, including the Army Delta Force and the Navy Seals. This was not a paper-pushing general.  McChrystal was a soldier’s general who would go on raids with his men. A reporter brings him down—and then dies in a mysterious crash three years later. If this had happened in Russia, wouldn’t we all figure it was some dark military conspiracy?

I’m not a conspiracy guy, but my reporter’s instincts told me that this demands a closer examination. So I snooped around.

Mysteries on the Video Tape

“I’ve never seen an explosion like that,” said Terry Hopkins, 46, a former U.S. Navy military policeman who served in Afghanistan, told me. “I’ve seen military vehicles explode, but never quite like that. Look, here’s a reporter who brought down a general. He’s sending out emails saying he’s being watched. It’s four in the morning and his car explodes? Come on, you have to be naïve not to at least consider it wasn’t an accident.”

FULL STORY HERE

Copyright © 2013 WhoWhatWhy

Image credit: http://professorsblogg.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/this-was-not-an-accident.jpg

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Related posts:

More Questions in the Death of Reporter Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings Cremated, Family Never Requested; Wife Has Hired Private Detective

Reporter: Very Unusual Intense Hot Fire in Hastings Car Crash

Crashes of Convenience: Michael Hastings

Added Info: The Mysterious Death of Journalist Michael Hastings

Reporter Who Brought Down General Stanley McChrystal Is Dead at 33

Defense Dept. Demolishes Huge, Unused Facility in Afghanistan

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Defense Dept. Demolishes Huge, Unused Facility in Afghanistan

 

7-14-2013 1-54-03 PM

 

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Published by  NextNewsNetwork NextNewsNetwork

 

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — As the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is drawn down, the Pentagon is preparing to demolish a huge operations center that was built for the Marines.

The facility, which is located in the country’s Helmand Province, cost at least $34 million to construct. Sprawling across the bleak and dusty landscape of southwestern Afghanistan, the base is the size of a football field.

This report also includes…

NEW YORK CITY — Despite receiving widespread praise for her emphasis on good nutrition, First Lady Michelle Obama has seen several schools rebel against her school lunch standards.
CAIRO — The Obama administration, which refuses to call the recent removal of the elected Egyptian president a coup, has announced that it will not cut off foreign aid to Cairo. Several media outlets, including Al-Jazeera, have reported that the State Department funded opposition figures and non-governmental organizations that called for the military to remove now-deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

SALT LAKE CITY — For the past 15 years, Xmission, Utah’s first independent internet service provider, has refused demands from local, state, and federal law enforcement officials that they provide warrantless access to customer data.

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