Indulge me for a moment if you would. Can you say with certainty that you know why we are still fighting the longest war in the history of our country? I’m speaking of Afghanistan of course. It was October 7, 2001. That’s when we launched airstrikes under the label of “Operation Enduring Freedom”. We succeeded in toppling the Taliban government. We did not succeed in eliminating the Taliban insurgency. They merely went underground (literally) and have since then relocated and re-emerged as a moving target. We are now committed to staying in Afghanistan until at least 2014. There is reason to believe that this timeframe will be accurate. But not for the reasons advertised.
I write this post knowing full well I may be labeled a conspiracy theorist. That’s fine. I never much cared about labels anyway. I do believe in reading between the lines to find the real reasons for events. As you can tell by reading other posts I have written, I generally don’t accept things at face value. I’ve always felt a dose of skepticism is healthy. With that in mind, I have been questioning the progress of this war for years.
I simply don’t accept the premise that we can’t locate Bin Laden after all these years and take him out. The same goes for the Taliban insurgency. We are told that the terrain in Afghanistan is extremely difficult and harsh, which it is, and this is one of the main reasons we simply can’t go in and end the war quickly. Another reason has been the fact that we are fighting two wars and don’t have the resources to send into Afghanistan. People forget that the Iraq war didn’t begin until March 20, 2003. That premise is false. Bush just recently did his rounds promoting his book and he stated that this was as much a humanitarian effort as well due to the abuses Afghani women face. I don’t disagree with this premise, however, these types of abuses occur all over the globe and we aren’t actively engaging in stopping those, so it doesn’t hold water.
What I’m getting at is that we made no serious attempt at eradicating Bin Laden and the Taliban. Why? Some would say it’s so we can fight the perpetual war and continue to funnel money to defense contractors and those that profit from war. I have no specific knowledge supporting or discounting that theory, so I don’t know. But I always believe in following the money, particularly when government is involved.
Another theory that has been around since the start of the war has been economic gain. This seems more plausible to me the more I look into this issue. The reason behind it is China. The wars of the future are not only going to be due to the old stalwarts like land and religion, they are going to be fought over food, water and raw materials. Raw materials, in particular precious metals, is where China has the upper hand. Currently, China mines more than 95% of all rare earth minerals. Yes, over 95%! These minerals are key in the future production of automobiles, computers, energy, medical, and military technology just to name a few. Plans are already in the works to at least extremely limit China’s exports of these highly in demand precious minerals. They claim they need them to meet their own demand. Maybe that’s true, but regardless, it means shortages and skyrocketing prices for the rest of the world.
Now it just so happens that Afghanistan is a treasure trove of precious minerals. Over 90 different minerals have been identified with over 1,400 potential mining sites in Afghanistan. In particular, they have significant reserves of Beryllium and Uranium. These are highly in demand for the key sectors mentioned previously. Needless to say, those who control these resources will have extreme leverage in future technology as well as military capabilities.
Turkmenistan, the neighbor to the north of Afghanistan, has extensive gas and oil reserves, possibly even the largest natural gas reserve in the world. Construction is underway on the 1,000 mile long TAPI pipeline to deliver gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. Can you say huge cash cow? Trillions upon trillions in potential wealth is here between the minerals, gas and oil. Turkmenistan is already the worlds 10th largest producer of gas while still in its infancy as it has potentially 20 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves.
As you can see by the map, the obvious path to get Middle East oil to thirsty countries like Pakistan and India would be Iran. I don’t need to go into the status of our relationship with Iran. What you can easily see is that Afghanistan is a key country, both for the precious minerals it contains as well as the location it inhabits directly in the path of the TAPI pipeline. The U.S. and its allies have huge financial interests at stake by securing reliable supplies of these raw materials.
The U.S. can’t get Osama Bin Laden and eradicate the Taliban from Afghanistan for financial and strategic reasons. We would no longer have the justification for maintaining a large military presence there. We can’t allow a Taliban controlled government to operate here and control the country. Intense security will be required to build the gas pipeline which is scheduled for completion when? Why 2014 of course when our occupation is scheduled to end. It’s the only logical conclusion to draw as to why we have never utilized our full capabilities and superior military advantage to finish the job. In my mind, that’s a reasonable solution to the question. As to the even more extreme theories floating around, I find them much more difficult to swallow. Some theorize that 9/1/1 was intentional so as to provide the excuse for our military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Further back, they theorize it’s why under Bush 41, we stopped just short of Baghdad and Sadaam Hussein, the reason being to keep the perpetual war and the military option open.
I have never bought into these type of New World Order, clandestine arrangements in which global events are manipulated. I do, however, as in the case of Wikileaks, believe that we have a government more than capable of capitalizing on opportunities presented. Yes, the good old “never waste a good crisis” mantra. They employ scores of people who do nothing but strategize about world events. With the knowledge of our situation involving raw materials and their availability, is it too much of a stretch to think that those at the top merely decided to kill two birds with one stone?
Our geo-political policy must take into account a huge amount of factors. But these fit together nicely. Russia and China are constantly seeking to position themselves strategically for the long-term as well. Control of energy and raw materials are right at the top of the list. We are simply taking advantage of our war on terror and the hatred of Islamist extremists toward the west. Afghanistan is that opening which will accomplish several goals. Following the money explains the financial opportunities presented by the abundance of natural resources in this under-developed area of the world. Watch and see which corporations with U.S. interests step in and develop these opportunities. Securing access to the precious minerals available will negate the power-play China wishes to capitalize on. And of course, having more options open to us for gas and oil is a method of negating the power and influence of Iran.
Those are my “conspiracy theories” if you wish to label them as such. I don’t believe our government is an active participant in the more extreme unsubstantiated theories of controlling the world. But I absolutely believe that we have people who work night and day weighing our options on how best to capitalize on world events that help lead to accomplishing our national interests. Wikileaks is a perfect example of taking advantage of opportunities presented. Of course they want more control over the media and the internet. This is a means to an ends. Afghanistan is as well.