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Americans are subsidizing Afghanistan’s economic development

Americans continue to get fed propaganda by our corporate-led government, military and media.

In early June, the New York Times reported the “discovery” of vast mineral resources in Afghanistan as follows:

"Armed with the old Russian charts, the United States Geological Survey began a series of aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources in 2006, using advanced gravity and magnetic measuring equipment attached to an old Navy Orion P-3 aircraft that flew over about 70 percent of the country.

"The data from those flights was so promising that in 2007, the geologists returned for an even more sophisticated study, using an old British bomber equipped with instruments that offered a three-dimensional profile of mineral deposits below the earth’s surface. It was the most comprehensive geologic survey of Afghanistan ever conducted.

"The handful of American geologists who pored over the new data said the results were astonishing.

"But the results gathered dust for two more years, ignored by officials in both the American and Afghan governments.”

The claim that no one in our government knew about Afghanistan’s vast mineral reserves until only recently is pure propaganda.

In 2007, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines posted information on their websites. The New York Times should have reported the discovery of the vast mineral resources to Americans before President Barack Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan last year. According to a USGS press release in November 2007:

"Afghanistan has significant amounts of undiscovered non-fuel mineral resources according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s 2007 assessment, unveiled today at the 3rd annual U.S.-Afghan Business Matchmaking Conference organized by the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

"USGS scientists worked cooperatively with the Afghanistan Geological Survey of the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines, between 2004 and 2007, to compile existing information about known mineral deposits and evaluate the possible occurrence of undiscovered deposits of non-fuel mineral resources. This assessment will be used in rebuilding Afghanistan’s natural resources sector, provide valuable new information to the global business and mining communities, and serve as a foundation for future work on areas of mineral resource potential."

Additionally, in June 2008, the Council on Foreign Relations published an interview with Mahmoud Saikal, Afghanistan’s Former Deputy Foreign Minister and Senior Advisor on the Afghanistan National Development Strategy. Saikal stated:

"More investment will bring security to Afghanistan. The 'security' strategy places a very heavy reliance on the idea of privatization luring international and domestic partners to invest money. But the strategy acknowledges for investors to invest in Afghanistan, security needs to first be achieved."

The “gathered dust” explanation is implausible unless you want to keep swallowing those propaganda pills, and unless you want to continue to believe the war is "just" and "necessary" and that we are ridding the world of "evil" while Americans involuntarily pay to build Afghanistan’s infrastructure for multinational corporate investments.

Security for Afghanistan’s private industry and international corporate investment is being achieved at America’s blood and expense.

Our corporate dominated government has allowed a “war” which has killed more than 1,000 American soldiers and currently costs taxpayers $3.6 billion a month to continue.

As more and more soldiers return home with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries and cancers caused by toxic battlefields, we see the tragic effect of deploying our soldiers on repeated tours of duty for private investment and corporate gain.

We must demand that our government end the war and that our troops are brought home. We must demand that global corporations pay for the development of Afghanistan’s resources instead of U.S. taxpayers. To do this, we must publicly expose the propaganda and acknowledge the financial and human toll.

Tracy Emblem is an Escondido appellate attorney.