10 billion dollars a month are being poured into Afghanistan by the US alone. Read that figure again. 10 billion dollars …………a month.
Let’s pause a moment and evaluate what we are getting for a return on that. Bin Laden’s gone. Great, right? A 10 year “mission accomplished”, well that is something. But you really have to ask the hard questions like, “What difference did this accomplishment make? ”
Let’s take a look at mission accomplished, US style, for the current cost of 10 billion dollars a month.
From the CIA factbook online come the following interesting facts as of 5/2011:
* Afghanistan is smaller than Texas. with a population estimated at 30,419,928 [about 5 million more people than Texas]. In the CIA’s rankings it has the second highest death rate in the entire world, the second highest infant mortality rate, and only 28% of the population 15 and over is able to read and write.
* It’s current environmental issues include:
limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution [lightenup-add to those, undetonated mines, depleted uranium, and various other unexploded projectiles scattered about ]
* This un-enlightening blurb is about why the US is still there, again from the CIA website:
“Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. KARZAI was re-elected in August 2009 for a second term. Despite gains toward building a stable central government, a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability – particularly in the south and the east – remain serious challenges for the Afghan Government.”
* and finally:
The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid, agriculture, and trade with neighboring countries. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, and the Afghan Government’s inability to extend rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan’s living standards are among the lowest in the world. While the international community remains committed to Afghanistan’s development, pledging over $67 billion at four donors’ conferences since 2002, the Government of Afghanistan will need to overcome a number of challenges, including low revenue collection, anemic job creation, high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure.
You may note the incredible statement at the beginning of the above paragraph:the economy has improved significantly. Yes indeed. The country that currently has one of the lowest living standards in the world, has improved since the US occupation, not just a little, but significantly according to the CIA. Improved all the way from being the absolute worst place in the world to live to the 2nd absolute worst place in the entire world to live.
After choking on that,you might also have noticed this shocker: “Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, and the Afghan Government’s inability to extend rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan’s living standards are among the lowest in the world.”