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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Laying Afghanistan

I'm very surprised to hear that so many Obama supporters are pissed at him for this escalation in Afghanistan. I'm surprised because he's been talking about it for well over a year-- all during the campaign, during the debates, after he was elected...we all knew this was coming. But people are still pissed. It's going to cost too much money, take too many lives. Why are we nation building there, when we should be doing it here? Why can't we just leave? What will we really accomplish there? Is Al'qaeda , or The Taliban really that much of a threat? What's the difference between Obama's plan, and Bush's plan?

The one thing that I don't hear people talking about, not the public, not the media, is the Afghan pipeline. Since about 1998-2002, a deal has been in the works to extend a gas line from the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan, to Pakistan and India. It was (and still is) a deal that could cause a geopolitical sh*t-storm, such as freezing out Iran from the global energy market.

When they say that we're going there to destroy the Taliban, that's not NOT true. The Taliban is a problem-- they're the ones that are standing in the way of the pipeline's construction and over-all safety. And it's true, they need to be wiped out, so that we can get this thing built and start collecting all that oil money. That's a lot of jobs, for Afghans and for Americans. The President said that there would be no more no-bid contracts, so that opens up the field a little bit.

The Afghan government is also a problem. Hamid Karzai, President/ruler of Afghanistan, is corrupt. They can't control the Taliban, they mistreat their people. And when it comes to managing the pipeline...well, they're not to be trusted. They need to go. The government needs to be restructured, their army rebuilt, so that they can take care of their people and fight back the Taliban.

There's a lot of boisterous debate about why we're still in Afghanistan, and what it's really going to take to get us out. Unfortunately, since one major component is missing from this debate, it really feels incomplete.

So does this mean that President Obama is not the messiah anymore? Honestly, I'm not mad at him. If you want "change you can believe in", he did make a campaign promise that he kept. And when you have advisors like Zbigniew Brzezinski, there should be no real surprises here. So don't blame Obama; someone has to clean up after the neo-cons.

Here's some fun stuff to read: The Nation, The BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes.

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