Can we put a price on the American dream?

A good friend of the Spellchek blog is Asylum Watch. Today the post was about the U.S. officially ending the armed conflict in Afghanistan. This point was made.

It is not at all clear what, if anything, of lasting value was achieved from all the death and destruction after thirteen years.

That depends upon one’s interpretation of lasting value. Our 13 year presence in Afghanistan was sold to the public as a response to eradicate the Taliban in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In that respect, it was clearly a complete failure and that will become more than obvious as time passes and the Taliban quickly reestablish control.

However, to the skeptical observer who never bought the sales pitch to begin with, eradicating the Taliban was never the goal to begin with. As is so often the case, the U.S. engages in global conflicts under false pretenses in order to promote ulterior motives. This is not to say all of these ulterior motives are somehow sinister. In fact, many times our foreign policy agenda items are intended to improve U.S. economic interests for one example. The problem arises when our blood and treasure are expended in the course of accomplishing these goals and that simply isn’t palatable to the public.

An example of a conflict fitting an agenda item is Afghanistan. Take a look at the Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999. Yes, 1999, two years prior to the 9/11 tragedy. And yes, I realize this was only the House version of the bill which passed but never was by the Senate. The U.S. operates everyday under policies which aren’t official law. Simply look no further than the hundreds of undeclared conflicts we have engaged in since our last ‘officially’ declared war, WWII.


It shall be the policy of the United States in the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia–

(1) to promote and strengthen independence, sovereignty, democratic government, and respect for human rights;

(2) to promote tolerance, pluralism, and understanding and counter racism and anti-Semitism;

(3) to assist actively in the resolution of regional conflicts and to facilitate the removal of impediments to cross-border commerce;

(4) to promote friendly relations and economic cooperation;

(5) to help promote market-oriented principles and practices;

(6) to assist in the development of the infrastructure necessary for communications, transportation, education, health, and energy and trade on an East-West axis in order to build strong international relations and commerce between those countries and the stable, democratic, and market-oriented countries of the Euro-Atlantic Community; and

(7) to support United States business interests and investments in the region.

Does this state that the U.S. will engage in covert actions to promote commerce under the auspice of making the Taliban pay for their involvement in 9/11? Of course not. Stated policies never deal in such specifics, they are written in generalities. Particularly when they involve such politically unpalatable outcomes as the one Asylum Watch is questioning.

By the way, this proposed act that never made it out of Congress is merely one in a long line of examples which illustrate the fact that natural resources and commerce play a very pivotal role in U.S. policy around the world. The news media may play up the talking points of protecting human rights, freedom and democracy all around the world but many times there are other factors motivating our actions.

I considered adding the laundry list of links to sources that support the idea that the military-industrial-corporate complex is the global driver of conflicts over natural resources and economics as a primary national security initiative. I usually find that non-believers won’t bother to do the research anyway. So today I’ll just add one if you’re interested –

Placing a value upon the outcome of such events as the 13 year Afghanistan ‘unofficial’ war is probably impossible. There are lots of winners and losers depending upon your stake. One thing is for sure. The conflicts will go on and so will the loss of life. All in the name of progress and national security. What is keeping the American dream alive worth to you?