THE BLOG

Afghanistan by the Numbers

06/15/2010 01:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Here are some interesting digits: What do all these have in common? Nine, Ten, Two, One-trillion, and One-thousand? Read on:

While the nation is focused -- and rightly so -- on the burgeoning Gulf oil disaster caused by BP and out-of-control-Bush/Cheney era deregulation, other global issues are escaping unnoticed.

One little-seen headline this morning read "Expect violent summer in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal says." Let me think, now . . . . Afghanistan . . . . the surge . . . .Taliban . . . . . pipeline . . . . oh, that's right! The first doomed-from-the-start Bush/Cheney invasion waaaaay back in 2001. That brings us to our first number:

Nine. That's the number of painful, costly years we've attempted to occupy and control Afghanistan, and we're still reading headlines about increasing violence against our troops? Why are we still there? Can someone remind me?

Remember Osama bin Laden? Wasn't his capture the original stated objective for our entering this hopeless, bloody experiment in Afghanistan? Not that the objective was ever all that clear. We were inundated by constant Bush/Cheney/Rummy Newspeak about "known knowns" and "unknowable metrics" and "defining success" and "victory is spelled many ways." The press releases during their eight year reign of terror read like garbled fortune cookie sayings. At least the US has given up all pretense of searching for this ultimate evildoer. Not that such a search ever really was the goal.

Two. That's the number of US administrations involved in this ill-fated effort. After an interminably long deliberation process, last year President Obama agreed to a "surge" of US forces into Afghanistan, with a specific timeline that mandates the beginning of troop withdrawals in July 2011. However, with the Taliban back full strength, firmly entrenched and protected in Pakistan, they are laughing in the face of the weak, preening puppet and former Bush/Cheney oil crony "President" Hamid Karzai, who now teases the US and NATO with fey threats of partnering up with ol' Mr. Taliban if we don't continue to protect his cushy position in his comfy palace. Like Raisin Brain's surge into Iraq, this, too, smells like failure. According to today's Washington Post:

The biggest surprise is not the increasing casualties . . . [but are the] setbacks in three off-the-battlefield announcements last week. First was the dismissal by President Hamid Karzai of two of the three ministers in his cabinet most closely allied with the United States. A second is the divergence between U.S. interests and those of Karzai, despite a make-up session between the two governments last month in Washington. In Kandahar, the U.S. command may be suffering from a failure of nerve. It has stepped back from an initial push to challenge the entrenched and corrupt local power structure headed by Karzai's half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai. It has decided not to deploy U.S. troops in the city itself."

It all started with the Bush Crime Family. Well, actually, with Bush the First who abandoned Afghanistan after Reagan finished using them in his proxy war against Russia, allowing the Taliban to take over in the first place. But getting back to Dim Son's invasion in 2001, apparently the US policy makers behind the Bush Crime Family learned nothing from the Russians, who tried and failed to subdue Afghanistan for (here's another number) ten years between 1979 and 1989. That's after a 5,000 year history of Afghanistan defeating every single invading force that attempted to conquer it. That's quite a history lesson isn't it?

Typical American arrogance; we think we can do things other superpowers cannot, or was "winning" in Afghanistan never the true objective after all? What if all their "victory, success, smoke 'em out, get bin Laden, defeat Taliban, mission accomplished" rhetorical horse hockey was just a smokescreen for other motives? What if they really didn't care if the little girls could wear their pretty white shoes to school or if the darling little boys could freely fly their colorful kites after all? (Which reminds me, another headline today details how young girls in Afghanistan are being poisoned and attacked with acid by the Taliban. Guess they don't feel too liberated at the moment.) What if the real reason we're still sending our young - and not so young - service men and women to kill and die and be maimed there is found in a second headline buried under a mass of oil-disaster related news. This one read: "US geologists find $1 trillion of mineral reserves in Afghanistan." There's a big number:

One trillion. This is from today's Telegraph of the UK:

The new-found mineral wealth could propel the country into one of the world's most lucrative mining areas. 'There is stunning potential here,' General David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said. 'I think potentially it is hugely significant.' Deposits in the country include iron, copper, cobalt, gold and industrial metals such as lithium, which is used in coolants, batteries for laptops and mobile phones as well as in pharmaceutical production. The largest mineral deposits discovered are of iron and copper, as well as large gold deposits in the Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan. However, violence continues in the country and, with virtually no mining industry or infrastructure in place, it is likely to take decades for Afghanistan to exploit this mineral wealth to the full.

Aw heck, what's a few more decades? I'm sure the statisticians are crunching the numbers as we speak: projected number of US casualties (the Afghans don't count) vs. billions of dollars to be stolen from the country. Sure makes the opium profit look like chump change. And let's not forget the projected profits once the Taliban is neutralized. One trillion. Dollars.

That's a lot of Lone Star Beer, eh Dubya? Here's a final number:

One Thousand. That's the number of "official" US dead reached in the Afghanistan theater a couple of weeks ago. Just acceptable, collateral damage in the never-ending corporate oil/mineral wars.

Mike can be heard and seen nightly from 9pm-12am ET at Mike Malloy Show