Dying for Crooks: US Troops in Afghanistan

Transparency International reported yesterday that Afghanistan is the most corrupt nation in the world – except for Somalia.

Heckua achievement, if the only nation on earth that is more shady is one that is full of pirates… Karzai is making Marion Barry look like Mother Teresa.

The Washington Post reported today that one of Afghanistan’s top ministers took a $30 million bribe to give a special deal to a Chinese mining company.

The New York Times reported: “Everything seems to be for sale: public offices, access to government services, even a person’s freedom.”

So what do Army recruiters say these days? Why in Hades would any American agree to risk his neck to prop up this band of thieves?

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12 Responses to Dying for Crooks: US Troops in Afghanistan

  1. W Baker November 19, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    Jim, kids are recruited because Afghanistan is something of a mirror image of the politically connected elite in this country. This may sound too sweeping, but modern Afghanistan, between the honchos in Moscow and Washington, represents about the best central planning can offer. It’s where you can physically see the philosophical convergence between Soviet Russia and the United States (post Woodrow Wilson).

    Afghanistan (particularly the Pashtun) has for decades been portrayed to Western and Soviet audiences as backwards (it is), abusive to women (it is), and warlike (they are). Look at the geopolitical cauldron they live in. You’d be one tough bastard if you spent generations defending a godforsaken moonscape from the Chinese, British, Iranians, Uzbeks, or Pakistanis!

    So Afghanis are ripe for the salvation. How many NGO’s raise money and operate under a credo of female education, indoor plumbing, or internal improvements of some sort? Even the Pentagon uses this mantra as its main motivation: the conversion of fourth-century goatherders into responsible, modern democrats. This is the identical motivation the Soviets took to Afghanistan – just substitute “collectivists” for “democrats”. Heck, Russia even went further. They took a huge number of Afghanistan to Russia for higher education.

    For a couple decades after Vietnam, the US has seemed contented in just dabbling in other countries’ business. Bush, the Elder, invaded Iraq. Reagan, should we all say, ‘hallowed be his name'(?), had his little proxy war in Afghanistan. Now, however, we’ve taken the logical next step. We are now actively involved in the day-to-day operations of these countries. We are now the central planners par excellence.

  2. Vigilante November 19, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    No more dithering! I call it a “slam dunk”

    It costs $1,000,000 to send one pair of U.S. boots per year “over there”.

    $26,000,000,000 could be saved by withdrawal. But if President – I mean ‘General’ – McChrystal’s recommendation is followed, we will be “investing” $734,000,000,000 in Chaosistan. Is that more than the military budget of the Bush administration? That can’t be!

    Are we ‘over there’ in order to stimulate economic over here??

  3. Jim November 19, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    The US involvement in Afghanistan certainly stimulates the opportunity for foreign policy experts to gasbag on TV, regardless of how many people died because those same experts’ errors on Iraq.

  4. Jim November 19, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    Wes, some excellent points – thanks!

    I suppose at some point we will need to approve a new foreign aid program for Afghanistan to help them dismantle the central planning that we have bankrolled there since 2001.

  5. Vic November 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    Did I read somewhere that (Afghan President) Karzai was a consultant to President Bush while he was governor of Texas, and energy companies Enron and Unocal?

  6. W Baker November 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Yea, Jim, I’ve read what Vic has read several places. What I’ve read is that the CIA picked him as a mujahedeen fighter in the ’80’s, and he’s sort of been the go to guy for proposed pipelines and now el Supremo puppet! What have you come across in your research that links Karzai and Bush, I and II?

  7. Tom Blanton November 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    I have a hard time believing that Afghanistan is so corrupt. Their system of corruption seems to be rather informal and unsophisticated, and the dollar amounts are relatively low.

    In America, we have a very sophisticated multi-tiered system of corruption that involves local, state, and federal players and payment schemes that vary.

    In America, you have to pay a bribe, er I mean political contribution, just to get face time with a politician in order to arrange for a further bribe to obtain what you want.

    Ordinary citizens must pay tribute, um taxes, for the privilege of living in a certain geographical area. On the highest levels, cartels may have to fork over hundreds of millions of dollars over a long period of time to a great number of politicians in order to buy favors or to obtain a cut of the spoils taken from the rubes, er uh citizens.

    Many people may not even realize they are paying for bribes as their payments are included in the prices they pay for goods, services, union dues, association dues, etc.

    There is almost a certain innocence to the simplicity of just paying some politician a wad of cash to get a deal worked out. If I owned a business, I would just as soon pay the bastard off in cash up front rather than have to make him an executive in my company later on or pay the clown 50 grand to give a boring speech over some business breakfast at the Hyatt once his term expires.

    It’s high time that Americans demand to be recognized as a great nation when it comes to grand institutionalized corruption. The entire political system, which is the greatest in the world, is built upon our complex integrated system of corruption.

    I refuse to accept that some third rate nation like Afghanistan can beat America at a game we have perfected.

  8. Tom Blanton November 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    Ooops, I forget to answer the question about why any American agree to risk his neck to prop up this band of thieves. The answer is to prop up our own American band of thieves. American soldiers have a proud tradition of propping up American thieves – it’s what they do.

    An interesting article about some of this is on Sibel Edmonds new site:

    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2009/11/09/in-the-name-of-a-general-his-son-a-spook-the-godmother-of-neocons/

    “Afghan Carpetbaggers Hit Pots of Gold in Washington”

  9. Jim November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    Tom, if Afghanistan was not more corrupt than the U.S., why would the Washington Post be writing about Afghan corruption on its front page?

    If we can’t trust the Post, who can we trust?

  10. Jim November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    Tom – excellent link at the Sibel Edmonds’s website. She continues as one of Washington’s top hellraisers…

  11. Dirk W. Sabin November 20, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    One cannot offer much more than Mr. Baker and Mr. Blanton and so I’ll simply leave off with a “….Oh, and this country’s political system is not based upon backsheesh?”

    Washington advised against “foreign entanglements” in his Farewell Address. His namesake city , a kind of Freebooting City State thinks it is following tradition but the the only problem is, to Washington D.C., the rest of the country is foreign and everything beyond tax tribute is a foreign entanglement. They have bigger fish to fry everywhere but at home

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