From Al-Jazeera: Why the US won't leave Afghanistan
Let the head-spinning, pea-soup launching extravaganza begin! Aah, it's times like this that I really cherish the comfort garnered from those silly Obama "Change" campaign posters.
If you do a Google search right now for the phrase "Obama promises to leave Afghanistan", you will be greeted by an entire page of articles, mostly dating from June 23rd to the 25th of this year, praising the President for the work he and his administration have done to scourge the earth of the likes of Al-Qaeda, and celebrating that over 30,000 troops had been slated to return home over the next year, with 10,000 of those due home by the end of this year.
Fast forward just under a month. Now we have Defense Secretary Gates asserting, with the support of the Pentagon, that it is far too premature to begin retracting the Afghanistan troop surge, and recommends a start date for pulling out the troops be place at the end of next year. Of course, all of this talk about bringing home the troops obfuscates the fact that even were this withdrawal to occur, it would still place the total number of troops stationed in the country at a level above what it was before Obama took office.
I mean sure, hell, why not? We can afford it. How much could a party out in the desert for a few thousand soldiers really be costing our depleted coffers, anyway?
A recent, detailed study by the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University revealed that the war on terror has cost the US economy, so far, from $3.7 trillion (the most conservative estimate) to $4.4 trillion (the moderate estimate). Then there are interest payments on these costs - another $1 trillion....oh.
That makes the total cost of the war on terror to be...a staggering $5.4 trillion. And that does not include, as the report mentions, "additional macroeconomic consequences of war spending", or a promised (and undelivered) $5.3 billion reconstruction aid for Afghanistan.
Well, fuck it. We need to keep this war going for the safety of America, right? There are hordes of terrorists in those mountain caves who would like nothing more than to rape your daughter and piss on the flag out of their seething hatred for American freedom. They must be stopped! No Quarter! Right?
Unless of course you believe a statement from the CIA that was quoted in the London Financial Times three weeks ago as establishing the number of "Al-Qaeda types" currently in Afghanistan somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-75 militants. God damnit, that's less than a third of my graduating high school class, even if you lean it on the heavy side. We're talking 10 BILLION dollars a month for a group that could fit on a single Fung Wah bus from Boston to Manhattan. But those things have a tendency to explode even without religious extremists on board, so maybe that wasn't the best illustration.
Pretty spot on for a man talking two decades ago about a different war...
Enjoy your day, folks.