Thursday, February 04, 2016

Remember a country far away ... called Afghanistan?

Blogging about the warmongers led me to think about Afghanistan.  How much have we--the US--sunk in there?

Of course, the war spending is a staggering amount.  In case you forgot that amount, you might want to sit down first and hold on to a firm table or pillar.  The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq cost the US.taxpayers $1.6 trillion, according to the Congressional Research Service.  But, that is an underestimate:
A truer measure of the wars’ total costs pegs them at between $4 trillion and $6 trillion. This fuller accounting includes “long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replenishment and social and economic costs,” Harvard economist Linda Bilmes calculated in 2013.
The Pentagon and its civilian overseers don’t like to talk about war costs, either before or after the shooting. That’s because a high price tag beforehand acts as an economic brake, making war—assuming that’s the goal—less likely.
After all that spending ...

Anyway, that was for the wars that supposedly ended.  Since then, we have also been investing in Afghanistan for its reconstruction.  How much has that been?  Even after adjusting for inflation, our spending there has exceeded the amount that we spent in Europe via the celebrated Marshall Plan.  I wonder who really benefited from all those hundreds of billions of dollars--certainly not the students in my classes who work anything between 15 and 40 hours every week in order to make sure they will not have huge debts when graduating.

So, after all that spending ...
Wasil was waiting Monday at a fruit stand in Tirin Kot, the capital of southern Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province, when he was shot dead by two gunmen. His uncle said he was 12 years old.
What was special about Wasil?
Wasil Ahmad learned to fire a gun at age 9, after his father was killed by Taliban militants.
Before long, his uncle said, the boy had become a celebrated Taliban killer, credited with gunning down six insurgents during a battle last summer.
Local officials in Uruzgan and others hailed Wasil as a hero, but some said his story offered yet another example of the price paid by Afghan youth in the more than 14-year conflict.
In the first six months of 2015, the U.N. Mission in Afghanistan documented 1,270 casualties among children — 320 deaths and 950 injuries — a 13% increase over the prior year.
Yep, that is the Afghanistan today, after all that spending ...
Forgotten by the West, Afghanistan is facing a multidimensional civil war with the Afghan Taliban, which is being aided now by a plethora of groups such as al-Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Chechens, and Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.
Oh, hey, aren't you glad that we were wonderfully distracted and entertained by the likes of Trump and Palin and more?
In at least two provinces bordering Pakistan (Nangarhar and Zabul) the Taliban are also fighting ISIS, which is trying to recruit among dissatisfied Taliban members. Not until the end of January were US Special Forces in Afghanistan given authorization to go after ISIS fighters in the country—one reflection of how lackadaisically the Pentagon is responding to the crisis there. US forces can now pursue ISIS fighters, who have been declared a threat to the US. One may well ask, What about the threat that the Afghan government has already faced from ISIS all these months as the group has built up its base areas?
Ah, do the blabbering bellicose buffoons who want to lead the Republican Party care about such details before they go to all corners of the world to kick ass and bomb people to oblivion?

Caption at the source:
12-year-old Wasil Ahmad, who was killed by gunmen in southern Afghanistan on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016

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