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Health Care & Environment
06.19 Engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% [Trump fires scientist. It would be far better to enable their good work.]
06.19 We’ll Never Solve Immigration If We Don’t Solve Climate Change [Why is our President so willfully stupid?]
06.18 The Worst Patients in the World [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 Navy Contaminates Local Groundwater and Sewer System in Maryland [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 Trump's order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.17 Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia [Governments must subsidize very rapid installation of renewable energy to displace all fossil energy—aka DEATH ENERGY—power plants that must be made illegal ASAP]
06.17 Oil companies double down on plastics as public outcry grows [Obscene!]
06.15 So much plastic is being made that "recycling has no impact" [Non-recyclable plastic must be made illegal to manufacture, use]
06.15 We must transform our lives and values to save this burning planet [Increased ice melt in polar latitudes has been disguising reality in the middle latitudes. This effect will soon be replaced by record heat as ice volume and seasonal melting increasingly declines.]
06.15 This all-male council in Texas just voted to ban abortion [1:59 video; Bad assumptions foment ignorant actions...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
06.19 America has never gone this long without hiking the federal minimum wage [The poor would spend every penny and help the economy and decrease health costs. Only dummies don't understand the costly effects of penury.]
06.19 When migrants arrived in droves, this poor New Mexico city opened its arms [A good example for us all: This is the way we must respond to human suffering]
06.18 It's A Horrible Idea To Privatize The Tennessee Valley Authority And Other Public Energy Assets [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 Tobacco's 'Special Friend': What Internal Documents Say About Mitch McConnell [His immorality is in complete control]
06.17 Climate change leadership would create a new 'American century' [We must incentivize the strategic good, again, before it's too late.]
06.17 Drug Cop Worth $400 Million After Bets on Brooklyn Real Estate [A better role-model than Trump or Kushner!]
06.15 White House physicist sought aid of rightwing thinktank to challenge climate science [When your President is a quack he naturally surrounds himself with sycophants]
06.18 As promised, Trump slashes aid to Central America over migrants [Is THIS the cruelest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 ‘The Saudis couldn’t do it without us’: the UK’s true role in Yemen’s deadly war [If you act psychopathic you are psychopathic; 3:40 Video: Where have all the flowers (and morals and young men) gone, long time passing, sung by Marlene Dietreich]
06.17 'Blatant Theft': Netanyahu Unveils Illegal Settlement Named 'Trump Heights' in Occupied Syrian Territory [Great deal: the U.S. gives Israel $Billions every year, and they name an illegal settlement—to be built on Palestinian land—after Trump]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
06.15 'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion [More equality or bring back the guillotines!]
International & Futurism
06.19 Trump Enabled an ‘Act of Organized Crime’ in Guatemala [Trump and other mafia-dons cause refugees and migrants as much as global warming]
06.19 Madrid’s new rightwing council suspends low-emissions zone [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
06.19 Donald Trump’s reckless Iran policy casts doubt on the US as global leader [America's reputation has plummeted more speedily since Trump's dubious election, with professionals willfully replaced with less competent appointees or left unfilled in many federal government agencies]
06.18 'If This Is True, They Are Even Bigger Lunatics Than We Realized': UN Officials Reportedly Believe Trump Planning 'Massive' Bombing Campaign in Iran [Never underestimate the stupidity of the Trump Administration]
06.18 Iran will not wage war against any nation, says Hassan Rouhani [Economic sanctions are cruel punishment to innocent civilians causing hate for generations. We will reap what Trump sows.]
06.17 Saudi Arabia May Execute Teenager for His Protests — Including When He Was 10 [America's “best ally” is psychopathically insane]
06.17 Why Venezuela Is the Vietnam of Our Time [Powerful, clear writing!]
But the Devil Sends the Cooks
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
It all boils down to this for the good old US of A. Cut and run and be damned, or stay and fight and be damned but have your pockets full by the time the bullhorn is sounded.
Despite incessant interludes of chaos, Afghanistan was not always this rough, blood splattered land of wild hordes charging their steeds in its desolate stretches. When Europe was backwards, impoverished and irrelevant territory, the region today called Central Asia, with Afghanistan at its southern tip and ancient trade routes interweaving it, was a land of much wealth, culture, scholarly attainment and prized international trade.
Writing way back in the year 1900, poet James Elroy Flecker summed up the view the Western world held of the region at the time;
Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells,
Dating back over 6000 years, some of the earliest indications of mining anywhere in the world come from Afghanistan. Afghanistan, for example, has always been a well-known source of precious and semi-precious stones and above all its lapis lazuli. The blue lapis lazuli stone in the famous funeral mask of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen was reportedly exported from Badakhshan in Afghanistan to Egypt in 1300 BC.
During the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, geological investigations were closed to the Western world. The Soviets, however, did carry out sporadic mining surveys in the country neatly cataloguing these on charts and maps. Though much of this record was destroyed during the armed resistance to the Soviet occupation, and later during the messy Taliban rule, some did survive.
It was thus that in 2004, when the Americans undertook the so called reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, some geologists came across fascinating sets of old Soviet charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul. The information more than hinted at major mineral deposits in the country.
That got the US Geological Survey team’s antennae up. They promptly got an old Orion P-3 aircraft, configured it with advanced gravity and magnetic measuring equipment, loaded it up with the Russian survey charts and maps and began a series of aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources. They flew well over 70 per cent of the country in the year 2006. The data they put together was so promising that they returned in 2007, this time with instruments that offered a 3-D contour of mineral deposits deep below the surface. In the end, what was started as a hunch turned out to be the most wide-ranging geological survey ever conducted in Afghanistan. The results, not shared internationally till then, were breathtaking.
Due to the universally slow pace of bureaucracy, however, files containing this astonishing array of records kept gathering dust for next the two years in US filing cabinets. It was only in 2009 that a Pentagon task force called ‘Business Development Task Force’ (whatever it stands for) stumbled upon this wealth of information. Not very much later the Pentagon task force brought in teams of American mining experts and had them poring over the survey’s findings. Eureka!, the experts shouted to themselves at the end of the study, with their head honchos reaching for the nearest telephones simultaneously.
The Times broke the story in a screaming headline on June 13, 2010. Reportedly, the deposits are so rich in quality and quantity that according to the NYT “Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world.” Having a worth of approximately one trillion US dollars, Afghanistan is said to be loaded with bulging veins of gold, copper, iron, cobalt and critical industrial metals like Lithium. The country’s present gross domestic product stands at a puny $12 billion.
The biggest mineral deposits discovered so far are of iron and copper. Other finds include large deposits of niobium, a soft metal used in producing superconducting steel, and some rare earth elements. An internal Pentagon memo, according to the same report, states that “Afghanistan could become the ‘Saudi Arabia of lithium’.” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command called it a ‘stunning potential’. Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines, said, “this will become the backbone of the Afghan economy.”
Intriguingly, the Times slipped in another interesting report the very next day i.e. on June 14th. According to this one, the bidding for rights to explore the reserves could begin in as little as six months and that Afghan officials believed that there was even more wealth than announced so far. According to these officials, it was so because, “in part the surveyors did not examine closely the entire country and at least 30 percent of it has yet to be fully investigated.”
The NYT articles of the 13th and 14th June surreptitiously raise two other issues. One, the Taliban could now fight ever more viciously for their country’s untapped wealth. And two, regional actors like China are likely to warm up to the idea of having these untold riches just in their backyard.
Well!!! One could let the two stories go by as straightforward reporting but for one other report. In this report of 14th June, the viability of President Obama’s plan to begin pulling out by July 2011 has been questioned. Ever ready regional specialist Bruce Reidel of Brookings Institution, who helped formulate the administration’s first Afghan strategy in early 2009 has been reported as saying, “things are not looking good, there’s not much sign of the turnaround that people were hoping for.” While Mr. Reidel did say that pouring in more troops was politically infeasible, he also added, “pulling out altogether would make the United States vulnerable to a terrorist attack organized by Al Qaeda and originating in a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan.”
Now the scribe could have simply said ‘eat your heart out Dick Cheney’ and let the news slip by as sensational but routine, or draw certain not so routine conclusions from the reportage. Just some of these are;
Essentially, then, it all boils down to this for the good old US of A. Cut and run and be damned, or stay and fight and be damned but have your pockets full by the time the bullhorn is sounded.
So yes, eat your heart out Dick Cheney for you missed it by a click but urge Dubya’s successors to start building the world’s second largest embassy in Kabul, the first one having been already built in the other colony.
To the grand strategic thinkers of Pakistani variety especially, therefore, one has this to say; start getting your danders up, but make haste slowly this time for no one is going any where any time too soon. Let the grand masters have their fill of the Manna first.
And to the poor Afghans unable to extract from the bowels of the earth what is rightfully theirs, this, “God sends the meat but the devil sends the cooks.”
Copyright 2010 by Anwaar Hussain. The writer, a former officer of the Pakistan Air Force, is now based in Canada. This story was originally published in Truth Spring, Mr. Hussain's blog, and is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with the author's permission. Mr. Hussain may be reached by email at email@example.com.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on June 16, 2010.