Money Well Spent (Yet Again And Again)

Yep!  More disgusting waste of the American taxpayer dollar……most Americans have their programs that they want to see cut for whatever misguided reason….but most never think about the waste of money through our so called foreign aid…..

The US and its allies are winding down their mission in Afghanistan and there will be a continuation (of course there will be) of massive foreign aid to help the country come to grips with situations on its own…….

In a piece written by Jason Ditz for Antiwar.com…………

A new Senate Foreign Relations Committee report lays out their “roadmap” for continuing to pour billions of dollars in aid into Afghanistan annually

The plan, which Senate Dems say was timed for release after President Karzai’s term in office ended and the troop deal extended, and will keep the $5-$8 billion average outflow of US “aid” into Afghanistan more or less intact.

With the vast majority of that aid being flat out squandered on things Afghans didn’t need or want, the committee’s plan seeks to make the future aid “condition-based” with some vague sustainability requirements.

Details of all the conditions are not yet clear, but indications are that they will mostly been centered on the administration signing off on the Afghan government dubious human rights record, something they’ve been only too willing to do in the past, and will undoubtedly do in the future to keep the gravy train flowing.

I understand the “need” to help Afghanistan….but my bigger question is how many American defense contractors will be feeding at the teat?

I mean we gave the country a TV station for live sports coverage without an audience……we are scrapping equipment worth billions for 60 cents a ton……just who will benefit the most from the foreign aid….Afghanistan or the Military-Industrial Complex?

If you have the answers then by all means…share with the rest of us.

Afghanistan: Money Well Spent (Yet Again)

Myself, like so many of my fellow bloggers, are always looking for something special to write about on our sites……me?  I try to keep Americans up to speed on the Middle east and Central Asia…..especially sine we are still fighting our longest war ever and all the cash we have pissed away on situations that needed NO cash…….it is embarrassing that we piss away lives but the misuse of cash is just mind numbing……

You know kinda like $60 hammers and $200 Toilet seats and other worthless use of the American tax dollar….and when I thought I had heard it all I read a news article that just made all the disgust for contractors and the like…….

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has revealed another bizarre and ultimately fruitless US expenditure in Afghanistan.

This time it was the State Department, which spent $3.6 million on equipment to gift to Afghan TV stations to upgrade the quality of live sports broadcasts on television there.

A very ambitious chore…..but think about a couple of problems with this logic from the State Department…….Afghanistan has NO national sports teams that I am aware of at this time and at best 20% of the country actually has a TV in their homes…..so where was the need?

Typical American thinking…..give the Afghans stuff they do not need and probably thought very little of this “problem”……basically we are telling them what they want and need.

My next question is….who convinced the State Department that Afghanistan need this service?  If it is a worthless program why do we keep funding these wastes of money?  And since most of them are failures…..why is NO one responsible for pissing away money we do not have?

I bet we could have found a program in this country that needed that cash to fund it……whatcha think?

Always Money Well Spent

There is a constant supply of news on just how badly the US spends its cash……there was the story of all those Nazis that are still drawing Social Security…..and then we had the story of many many government employees that were paid to stay at home for years in some cases…..and there is always a story about a $160 hammer and a $200 toilet seat…..but the Us spends money on programs that are designed to control oir stop some practices….like the opium production in Afghanistan……..

The latest report on the policy of controlling the production of poppies is not all that great…….

Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is at record levels, according to a new report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. That’s despite more than a decade of American efforts to knock out the Afghan drug trade—at a cost of roughly $7.6 billion.

SIGAR’s data, which comes from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), shows that Afghan opium cultivation nearly tripled between 1994 and 2013. More than 780 tons of heroin or morphine could be produced with the current crop, whose total value is estimated at nearly $3 billion, up from $2 billion in 2012.

In his report, John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, informs Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Eric Holder, and USAID administrator Rajiv Shah that the levels of opium poppy production don’t exactly square with all the time, money, and effort that have gone into eradicating crop. “The recent record-high level of poppy cultivation calls into question the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of [prior US government and coalition] efforts,” Sopko writes. “Given the severity of the opium problem and its potential to undermine U.S. objectives in Afghanistan, I strongly suggest that your departments consider the trends in opium cultivation and the effectiveness of past counternarcotics efforts when planning future initiatives.”

It is just amazing how our Congress has NO problem asking for cuts that would effect the poor but they seems to not care that more money is being pissed away in this worthless effort

Does anyone else think that our priorities should be making this country strong and a good place to live?  Somebody needs to walk into Congress and start shaking trees…..and shake hard enough to dislodge all the rotten fruit.

Thoughts?

 

The Face Of Bowe

That my friends is a veiled tribute to Dr. Who…….

Okay I will move on.

Does anyone remember a guy named Bowe?  That was about 10 or 12 conspiracies ago….and it was important then…..what happened?

I am referring to the plight of Bowe Bergdahl.

The Army has completed its investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s 2009 disappearance from his post in Afghanistan that led to his subsequent capture by the Taliban, according to a news report Thursday.

The Army is looking into whether Bergdahl had deserted his post in Afghanistan or was away without leave before he was captured, which would be violations of, and punishable under, the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The Obama administration secured Bergdahl’s release in May in exchange for releasing five senior Taliban detainees from the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, a swap that sparked anger on Capitol Hill from both Democrats and Republicans.

If Bergdahl is found guilty of desertion or being away without leave, he could forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages accrued during his captivity, Army officials said earlier this year.

It would also tarnish the swap, which the administration had announced with some fanfare.

The report is being complied for release at a later dare……that is military speak for giving time for the pundits to prepare a spin for the results…….in the mean time this gives some legs to rehashing the whole conspiracy thing.

Once the media gets it then the whole ‘conspiracy’ will return to the front page until something can replace it.  For now it is being held in reserve….there is still much they can report on Ebola and they do not want that story to be upstaged by something they are now prepared to deal with at this time.

Time Has Come Today

Inkwell Institute

Central Asian Desk

A great song from the 60′s, Time Has Come Today by the Chambers Brothers…….and as in the song the time has come for you to face reality…..and reality is Afghanistan.  Ir a better title might have been….Afghanistan:  The Forgotten War.

 

In the year of our Lord, 2014, US troops will be leaving Afghanistan and we shall leave the country to its own devices.

Now the question is going around….will Afghanistan become the next Iraq?  I am so glad you asked!  Maybe not the question on your lips but international geeks like me it deserves some thought.

When the Russians pulled out in 1989 there was an immediate vacuum….and the Taleban waltzed in and took control and the rest, as they say, is history.

And now another invasion force will leave and the country once again will be to their own devices….this time the world will expect a different outcome…..for you see the US pressed for a democracy and the country has had some, well a couple of elections by now…..and almost every time they have been contentious……so what does the world expect with this withdrawal?

A former US Air Force officer, Justin Pavoni,  that served two tours in country has come up with the perfect checklist for when the US finally walks away from Afghanistan……..

  1. Behind the scenes the United States will broker a handshake deal with the Taliban in vain hopes that they do not simply overrun the country again and uproot the Kabul government. This has been going on for years. It is also the primary motivation behind the recent Bergdahl prisoner exchange.
  2. An Active Duty military drawdown from theater will be followed by the eventual announcement that the “last” American boots are off the ground in Afghanistan. Instead of conventional active duty troops the United States will keep a small contingent of extra-governmental and special operations operators (CIA, private military contractors, JSOC personnel) in theater. Sorties will still be flown in country but all active duty airmen will launch from one of the permanent bases in theater (e.g. Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar). American aviators will drop bombs with “civilian” controllers (in very limited areas) but will be hesitant to do so with exclusively Afghani personnel on the mic (the vast majority of the country).
  3. Some of the military gear is being shipped home as part of the military’s retrograde equipment program but the much of it “in theater” is likely to stay exactly where it is. From a financial perspective it would be more efficient to let it sit in the Afghan dust forever because the cost of transportation far outweighs the value of the equipment. Eventually I suspect much of it will be turned over to the supervision of an inept Afghani government or sold to other foreign nations somewhere along the silk-road (sound familiar?). This is a real-world example of how the military industrial complex works.
  4. To “compensate” the United States government, Kabul is likely to “buy” some military gear at a greatly discounted rate. Considering the fact that the entire GDP of Afghanistan is less than $35 billion (much of which comes from US service-members shopping at the base bazaar), it should be obvious that Afghanistan can’t actually pay for the equipment itself. Therefore the United States is likely to “help” them through the provision of foreign aid and a fiat money loan presumably coordinated by the IMF (which of course does not expect to actually be paid back except through further fiat loans). The net effect will be an attempt by the United States to buy soft power in yet another foreign administration and to justify government spending (despite the obvious losses) as a statistical contribution to American GDP.
  5. A little bit of time will pass – say, for example, one or two years after the removal of ground troops. There will be small news stories along the way about a skirmish here or there. Most incidents will go unreported as most news agencies will be evacuated from large portions of the country.
  6. The Kabul government’s deal with the Taliban will eventually fall apart. The Afghani military (that is entirely infiltrated by Taliban) will fall apart, and the United States government will be faced with the question of whether or not they want to ramp up bombing in Afghanistan again (sound familiar?).
  7. Some Talibani soldier will execute a former Kabul government loyalist and will publish their video on the Internet. People will justifiably be outraged by the cruelty of such an act. There will be calls by the press for the “international community” to do something. Women are also highly likely to be oppressed in some form or another. Despite the utterly disastrous and counterproductive occupation of Afghanistan, it is a credit to the United States’ effort that the situation for women in the country has been much improved. This will not last and unfortunately, this situation creates a lot of potential danger for women in the absence of American imperial protection.
  8. The Taliban will take over a portion of the country – likely in the largely Pashtun areas surrounding Kandahar. They will focus their efforts on remote outposts and will start to take command of former American outposts and military weaponry (just like they did with Soviet weaponry). The ANA and/or ANP in that area will completely fold – they will either run away or surrender (sound familiar?).
  9. The Taliban, although presently weakened, will eventually start to gain momentum in the country. They will also garner support from foreign fighters who will flood the country. At this point the neo-conservative and neo-liberal war maniacs in D.C. will start to bang the drums for more American intervention in the region (sound familiar?). Eventually the president, whoever it is at the time, will concede. An increased bombing campaign will be authorized and the president will claim that it’s a limited action in that no “boots are on the ground.” This of course means no conventional active duty soldiers. The Special Forces and paramilitary types will have never left but they will be ill-equipped to fight the larger Taliban on their own. The war authorization will not be debated and the new war will not be declared. The president will act unilaterally using either the War Powers Resolution or a United Nations declaration and international consensus (which has no legal relevance) to lawfully protect him or herself. Congress will ignore the situation (being conveniently relieved of their responsibility to commit to a “yea” or “nay” vote and thus subject themselves to public scrutiny). Moral authority for such action will remain vague and most people will refuse to take any responsibility for their individual actions.
  10. Soldiers will pretend they’re defending the Constitution or will be entirely ignorant to the fact that such a document holds zero legal authority with regards to war in the modern American government. As such they will do exactly as they are ordered or they will be sent to prison.
  11. The Supreme Court will ignore any cases brought before it. Any alleged standing in court will be dismissed as irrelevant under the “political question” doctrine.
  12. The increased war spending will be monetized as required by the Federal Reserve System.
  13. Most Americans will continue to vote for their local zombie. They will be entirely unsatisfied with the Congress but will support their district’s incumbent nonetheless – it is the other ones that are the problem after all. Those who care enough to speak out will largely continue to pay their taxes because the IRS backlash will be individually devastating if they try to withhold their finances from perpetual war. Feeding their children will understandably take precedence in their mind and the war machine will carry on.

The future does not look bright for the country with our departure……if one wants a good look at the future then look to Iraq.  But there is one saving grace….the US will have about 10,000 troops in the country……and just how is that a positive sign?

The last election showed the deep divisions in the country and the ideology……..those divisions can only get deeper and more violent with the departure of the only thing keeping the country together…….the good old U S of A…..

Look for the Northern Alliance to walk away from the power sharing deal the US helped broker……in case you are not sure who the NA is let me assist…..they are the ones that did the most to defeat the Russians….they are the ones that fought the Taleban…..they are the ones that helped the US when we invaded in 2001…..in short they are the only people in Afghanistan that we can trust…..they will be waiting for Ghani to screw up and they will rise in revolt.

America’s grand experiment of democracy will most likely break down as one warlord against another and the Taleban as the thief in the woodpile…..waiting for the best moment to strike.  Afghanistan will return to the days of yore….the days of constant fighting and destruction and democracy will be the final victim of this American experiment.

The Us has signed a deal for Afghanistan……….

Afghanistan and the United States signed a long-awaited security pact today that will allow US forces to remain in the country past the end of the year. At a ceremony held at the presidential palace in Kabul, newly appointed national security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar signed the document along with US Ambassador James Cunningham. The deal will allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends Dec. 31. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had refused to sign it despite US threats of a full withdrawal in the absence of legal protections for American forces. US officials have said that the delay in the deal’s signing does not affect plans for next year.

A second agreement allowing NATO troops to stay in the country was also signed between Afghanistan and NATO during the same ceremony. President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who was sworn into office a day earlier, told the assembled crowd that the agreement signaled a fundamental shift in the country’s relations with the world. “This agreement is only for Afghan security and stability,” he said. “These agreements are in our national interest. The Bilateral Security Agreement will pave the ground for Afghanistan to take control.” Government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also welcomed the agreement as beneficial to the country. “It has been signed after very careful considerations,” he said, adding that “the BSA is not a threat to our neighbors. It will help strengthen peace and stability in the region.”

Let’s be honest….Afghanistan signed this deal as a way for the government to hold onto power….they will use the presence of troops to control the situation…….the Afghan army is no better prepared to help the country as the Iraqi army was……

In short even with the departure of the bulk of American forces….this war is far from over.

 

ISIS offered to swap Foley for ‘Lady Al Qaeda’: Terrorists wanted return of MIT-graduate jailed in U.S. for planning ‘mass casualty strike’ with dirty bomb, ebola, and chemical weapon ‘that spared children’ | Mail Online

Remember when Bowe Bergdahl was traded for 5 Taleban leaders we had in prison?  Remember the outrage in some corners over the trade?  Wonder what would have been said if this trade had gone through?

 

ISIS offered to swap Foley for ‘Lady Al Qaeda’: Terrorists wanted return of MIT-graduate jailed in U.S. for planning ‘mass casualty strike’ with dirty bomb, ebola, and chemical weapon ‘that spared children’ | Mail Online.