Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 10:40 pm

When I called the war in Afghanistan “the longest war” …


… looks like I was more right than I knew.

I snarked that there was no way the copper, gold, lithium, etc., supposedly in Afghanistan was “newly discovered.” But what I didn’t think about was why The New York Times might pimp a decades-old story now.

Because the war in Afghanistan is shaping up as a failure and our deadline for withdrawing arrives within a year. Duh:

… guaranteed U.S. access to “strategic reserves” of “strategic minerals”, where possession is nine tenths of the game and the resources are just as valuable still in the ground as mined and processed for market, is a heady brew to mostly-hawkish senior policymakers and Very Serious think-tankers, especially if the end of the sentence goes “and China doesn’t get them.” [New York Times reporter James] Risen’s stenography isn’t aimed at us, but at them and will be used to add some geopolitical weight to the arguments McChrystal and others are already beginning to make as to why they should be allowed to break their promise to Obama and the U.S. should stay in Afghanistan a few years longer.

The people jumping up and down, screaming, “We’ve got to DO something before the ChiNEEEEESE get all the precious!”  are some of the same people who lied us into a war. Of course they would pull a stunt like this, and I’m ashamed that I didn’t jump immediately to that conclusion or one very much like it.

UPDATE: Oh, for crying out loud, Risen even admits it:

“Several months ago, Milt [former CIA officer Milt Bearden, who was active in Afghanistan in the 1980s] started telling me about what they were finding,” Risen said. “At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to do a story on it.” At first both Bearden and Brinkley [Paul Brinkley, a deputy undersecretary of defense charged with rebuilding the Afghan economy, with whom Bearden is now working] resisted, Risen said, but he eventually wore them down. “Milt convinced Brinkley to talk to me,” he said, “and Brinkley convinced other Pentagon officials to go on the record. I think Milt realized that things were going so badly in Afghanistan that people would be willing to talk about this.”

Memo to the New York Times ombudsman: Having a Times staff writer pimping an exploitative pro-war policy (which, by the way, would violate a military agreement between the U.S. and another sovereign nation) to the Very Serious People of Washington is a wee bit of an ethics problem. Particularly when that war is going badly. Just sayin’.

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