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WHO Voted to Fund the Taliban?


By Ralph Lopez - Posted on 27 July 2010

It is abundantly clear that congressmen who vote for more war funding this week, after the issuance of the Tierney report, will be voting to fund the Taliban in no insubstantial amount. It is estimated that the business previously thought to be the Taliban's biggest source of support, the opium business, brings in around $300 million. Now the Tierney report from Congress's own Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Warlord, Inc., reveals that the Taliban's take from the U.S. Department of Defense, every penny of it U.S. taxpayer dollars, could be as high as $400 million and certainly no less than $100 million.

The Pentagon outdoing the opium business at supporting the Taliban? Shocking, but true.

It is beyond doubt now that "protection payments" to insurgents, as the Tierney report calls them, for truck convoys carrying re-supplies for the network of 200 American bases across Afghanistan, are a major if not THE major source of funding for the Taliban.

This week the Congress will vote on whether to continue those payments, whether the vote is cast in those terms or not. An AP write-up of the Tierney report , as well as a recent CBS newscast, calls the Pentagon funding of the Taliban "unintentional," but that is an incorrect word to use. Knowledge of the practice goes up the chain of command all the way up to civilian leadership like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who testified to Congress seven months ago, on December 3, 2009:

"You offload a ship in Karachi and by the time whatever it is – you know, muffins for our soldiers’ breakfasts or anti-IED equipment – gets to where we’re headed, it goes through a lot of hands. And one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban is the protection money."

The practice cannot be "unintentional" if the Secretary of State knows about it, yet it continues. Reluctant, perhaps. The bottom line is there is no other way to move the vast quanity of supplies required by a full-blown occupation, around a country the size of Afghanistan, except by 200 - 500 vehicle truck convoys, through the most hostile terrain on Earth.

An American officer in the Tierney report says:

"the heart of the matter is that insurgents are getting paid for safe passage because there are few other ways to bring goods to the combat outposts and forward operating bases where soldiers need them. By definition, many outposts are situated in hostile terrain, in the southern parts of Afghanistan. The [Afghan security companies run by warlords] don't really protect convoys of American military goods here, because they simply can't; they need the Taliban's cooperation."

How hostile? Says the report:

"The terrain is unforgiving: deserts that kick up sandstorms in the summer become flooded and muddy in the spring, and treacherous mountain roads leave no room for error. Summer heat regularly reaches 120 degrees. Mountain weather can change in an instant, bringing snow and freezing rain. In the winter, the single tunnel that connects Kabul to northern Afghanistan is frequently cut off by avalanches."

Welcome to the Graveyard of Empires.

This is the signal we have been waiting for on the war in Afghanistan. Beyond troop casualties, beyond the society-busting cost, is the Tierney report's ill wind blowing in our faces which tells us: Pssst! It can't be won!

The anti-war momentum has been growing, with the Senate last week finally stripping out the "liptick on the pig" factor of education and other important funding, so each can be voted on separately, forcing Congress into a clean up-or-down vote on the war. Pay attention. Now you will know if your congressman is for the war or against it.

No longer can congressmen claim to be "anti-war" while still voting for war funding "because I had to vote for the education funds," the latest tactic. Last month a record number of the House voted for an amendment to require a binding exit plan by the end of the year.

The exit plan is simple: empower the Afghan people against the economic hold of the warlords and the Taliban, who often blur into the same people, by flooding civil society non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the honest ones, with cash and reconstruction assistance in major population centers like Kabul, where security is not a major issue. There are already orange work-vests on men in ditches, for telecom wire and other infrastucture, all over the city. They should bloom like flowers, workmen earning a decent wage of $8-$10 a day, very decent for Afghanistan, which keeps them away from the Taliban and warlords. Neither of the latter are particularly popular, although the Taliban has come to symbolize a national resistance to a foreign occupation which has nearly blown its chance to bring improvements to the lives of ordinary Afghans, who are among the poorest of the poor in the world.

Even the trillions of dollars in minerals and oil and gas doesn't make sense for an imperial occupation, if one calls it that. The cost of a long term occupation will easily reach the trillions, as Iraq has already reached $3 trillion according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz. That simply buying resources at market rate might be cheaper is the fly in the ointment of empire theory. That is, unless one considers that empire has its own logic, not always necessarily aligned with the interests of the nation from which the empire sprang. War is profitable to some even as it runs at a loss to others, and like a marathoner whose body is at the last consuming its own muscle.

Congress this week should decline to approve Obama’s request for $33 billion more to continue the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, and instead require him to begin preparations for an orderly withdrawal of all but civilian assistance. Afghanistan can stand on its own given the right kind of job-creating reconstruction programs which address the 40% unemployment rate which is the Taliban’s best friend.

CONTACT CONGRESS, SAY VOTE NO ON WAR FUNDING.

CONGRESS SWITCHBOARD, 24/7 AFTER-HOURS MESSAGE GIVE THEM YOUR ZIP CODE IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR CONGRESSMAN: 202-224-3121

Many US news media people and probably politicians have long been referring to all Afghan resistance groups as Taliban and others have explained that this is wrong. The others say that there are either three or two main groups of Afghan resistance fighters and only one is Taliban or the real Taliban, which I guess is the Pashtun one. They're the ones who worked with the UN in eradicating 90% or more of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, or much of the country anyway, until the US brought its war and then poppy cultivation skyrocketed.

The real Taliban might nevertheless be using funds derived from the poppy cultivation and heroin market, but I wonder if there's any actual proof that they are doing this.

It's credible that US taxpayer dollars are being used very much to pay Afghan resistance groups or leaders in order to get them to not attack supply truck convoys, but I wouldn't rely on Nanzy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton for truth. They're both criminals, liars, and so on. But they're referring to what they learned from others, so if the others are right, then we would just need to be able to be certain that they are right and that cons like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton don't distort what the others actually found and reported.

However, there aren't only Talibans fighting in Afghanistan against the foreign forces lead by the U.S.; unless the other one or two Afghan resistance groups have recently stopped.

But I wonder why the real Taliban would allow supply truck convoys for supplying US and other foreign troops to safely pass. They could want the money, but they repeatedly and fimly say that they want the foreign forces fully withdrawn from the country and if they are getting $300mn a year in funds from the poppy-heroin business, then this should be more than enough to fill their needs for weapons, food and whatever other needs they have.

Maybe they way to accept the money for letting supply truck convoys for the enemy forces there to safely make their deliveries just to have fun warring against US and other foreign troops? Not if they're true to their words fimly demanding the withdrawal of foreign forces. And I think it's very credible that they do want this withdrawal to happen a.s.a.p.

We've been lied to a lot about this war and westerners often call all Afghan fighters Taliban when this is false.

Quote: "Congress this week should decline to approve Obama’s request for $33 billion more to continue the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, and instead require him to begin preparations for an orderly withdrawal of all but civilian assistance. Afghanistan can stand on its own given the right kind of job-creating reconstruction programs which address the 40% unemployment rate which is the Taliban’s best friend".

I agree that the war must be ended and foreign forces withdrawn, yet once this happens, the Taliban will most surely try to take over the central govt and if they're successful, then I don't thin life will have the rosy picture that you describe for Afghans in general.

The Taliban surely would not want to leave the Northern Alliance war and drug lords in power in the central govt. And one or two other main Afghan resistance groups would also surely want to be in power.

The war must be ended, however, just that I wonder what will really happens if and when foreign forces withdraw, who will provide security and safe society for Afghans in general? Surely not Afghans working on reconstruction and new construction projects. Surely not politicians. Surely not the extremely criminal Northern Alliance war and drug lords, who've been historically more criminal and brutal than the Taliban were.

One easy way to realize this is by realizing that the war is part of a broarder "project" of US elites, who have been working on trying to establish global dominance. They've accomplished much in that respect, but certainly have a lot more to do for this plan of theirs. And it did not start with the Bush Jr-Cheney administration's years; the plan started long enough before.

Re. profits from the war, there is more than one way to consider the question. The US wars, covertly and through the use of proxy govts lead by evil, vicious dictators the US is basically responsible for having put in place. This is part of the explanation for the very high genocide in the Congo, a topic that Keith Harmon Snow has seriously conducted on-the-ground investigations and extensive writing about. He has had some articles posted at www.globalresearch.ca, dissidentvoice.org and possibly some other websites, and has his own website, www.allthingspass.com. I just received e-mail notice through my subscription to his news letters (or e-mail notices anyway) from him today for a new article by him on the Congo.

It's a topic that is grotesquely underreported and mis-reported in the US or simply in the west and the extreme genocide is for mineral corporations of the US and some of its allied countries or govts.

I suppose that since that does not involve a theatre war by the U.S., then the cost is relatively little for US taxpayers and other western taxpayers, so it's very different from the war on Afghanistan in this respect. The genocide is evidently much greater in the Congo, but not through US theatre war.

The minerals of Afghanistan can still bring profit enough, but if this was the only way to profit from the war waged there, then the profit from that country's minerals surely wouldn't be enough for the US to wage the war. On one hand, however, the US hasn't usually had many troops in Afghanistan during this present war there. So if the US wasn't paying for the troops of allied govts in this war, then the financial costs of this war have not been very high for US taxpayers, so far.

The US taxpayer dollars that were stolen amount to a lot, I guess, but they're not really part of the cost for waging the war there. It's just theft, major theft. They didn't pay for anything; they were just stolen.

Wasn't it Donald Rumsfeld who had said that something like two trillion dollars of US taxpayer money went missing prior to the Oct. 7th, 2001 launching of the war on Afghanistan? I vaguely recall him having said some number like this and that it's money that went missing during days prior to Sept. 11th, 2001, or maybe he said this at a later date. And maybe it was more like $2bn instead of $2tn, but am pretty sure the latter is closer to what he had said.

Of course large sums of money like that just don't go missing. They're stolen and he may very well know where the money went.

People like that don't care what the costs of their wars are for taxpayers.

But major banks make a lot of money, profits from the international drug trade. If the UN reports that the annual street or market value of profits from the heroin trade is $300mn, say, then a lot of that is laundered through major banks, which apparently turn the total value into something like $6bn. So they have an interest in the international drug trade.

The MIC makes huge profits and wars skyrocket these profits.

The oil industry surely makes a lot of profit from wars, since the US military is the greatest consumer of oil in the world and the military surely uses a lot more oil when the US is waging wars than when the US is not waging wars.

Many people in Congress are invested in these corporations and when the latter profit, the former also profit. And financial investment corporations or businesses and groups invest in all of these sectors.

War is very dirty, very evil, especially when they're wars of aggression and lower-scale conflicts like in the Congo, f.e.

But the US has long been working to achieve global dominance and this is actually evident. We can see this with plenty of examples. We can find them with respect to the conduct of the US vis-a-vis South American countries, including Haiti and Cuba. We have the example of the US in Indonesia, and today we have examples in Eastern Europe and with AFRICOM in Africa. But there are still other examples.

It's not the ruling elites who pay for this. Taxpayers are made to pay for this. So what do the ruling elites care if taxpayers tremendously lose. The ruling elites only profit and want global power.

And as many people say about empires, they all fall and it's apparently always due to the fault of the leaderships of the empires.

The fact that these (criminal) wars on Iraq and Afghanistan cost a huge amount for US taxpayers does not mean that these aren't wars of, by and for imperialists.

And did Joseph Stiglitz say that the war on Iraq was going to cost a total of around $3tn for US taxpayers, or that this would be the total US cost for both of these wars?

While he said that that was the total he estimated for US taxpayers, he also said that the total cost was going to be around $6tn, I believe, but not for the US. That's the amount he said would be the total cost when factoring in the costs to other countries; I guess US allies in these wars.

That's okay to the ruling elites. While it'll break taxpayers, the ruling elites will profit from the $6tn.

After all, these have been [their] wars; NOT ours. It's their wars, for, of and by them, and entirely or nearly entirely based on LIES. Even the "official story" on the 9/11 attacks remains a big lie. There's some truth in it, but the lying in it considerably (if not far) outweighs the truth in it.

Lastly, consider Zbigniew Brzezinski's book, "The Grand Chessboard" and his arrogant response in the interview he provided in, I believe, 1998 when he was asked if he regretted forming the Taliban through the US having formed the Afghan mujahideen and he said that it was "worth the price" in order to lead the former USSR to its own "Vietnam War"-like defeat. This is nothing short of imperialism.

US history is imperialist from start to ... ongoingly. A few good things were said by some historical Americans, colonialist leaders, but they all profited from imperialist USA. President Dwight D. Eisenhower stated a very important warning during his last statement as President about the MIC being very, very dangerous for the country, but he profited from imperialist and colonialist USA.

Who of US leaders ever seriously demanded that the treaties with American Indians be [respected]? None, or else extremely few did, and everyone who doesn't is just another profiteer of imperialism and colonialism.

The US is not solely guilty in the latter respect, but copy-catting evil is evil.

The US has the definite plan to try to remain the sole superpower on Earth and this is imperialism. It demands to be respected or accepted as the global policeman, and this is imperialism. It forces its hegemonic and hypocritical will on the world, and this is definitely imperialism.

The US is lead by imperialists; no doubt about it. And their empire is on the path of downfall, many people have been credibly saying for some years now. But as some of them also said, empires on their way down can become particularly vicious before the final fall.

Over 800 US military bases outside of the US and its so-called territories is the latest official number with the additional bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, while I suppose also some other places; maybe Eastern Europe and the seven the US is going to now have in Colombia. This is extremely imperialist, but it's only the official number. And when that number was around 750, plenty of people said that the real number was surely closer to 1,000.

Of course the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan are imperialist wars.

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