Clerk Note: Afghanistan resulted in commercial gains. Follow the money.
By: Bob Hennelly
This presidential campaign has endured debates on a number of mundane issues, including the size of a candidate’s hands, who is more dishonest, and which candidate has the better temperament. One thing nobody is talking about is the staggering outcome of the war in Afghanistan — and that’s probably just the way those profiting from this trillion-dollar fiasco like it.
This month marks the 15th anniversary of the US-led intervention in Afghanistan, making it the nation’s longest war. It now appears, based on evidence gathered by a federal inspector general, that the whole undertaking was, and remains, an incredibly expensive disaster that has actually made Afghanistan more corrupt than it was before the US invasion back in 2001.
In one of his most stunning disclosures yet, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) revealed that, while the US Forces-Afghanistan reported that there were 319,000 Afghan soldiers, the actual number may only be 120,000. “Persistent reports” of discrepancies in Afghan troop strength “raise questions” over whether or not US taxpayers are actually paying for “ghost soldiers,” SIGAR John Sopko said in a letter to the Pentagon.
Bill Goodfellow, the executive director of the Center for International Policy, a nonprofit that promotes US foreign policy accountability and transparency, observes that despite reports like this, as well as the huge price tag and human cost, there’s been no discussion of Afghanistan in the presidential race.
“It doesn’t affect most people because the military is being staffed by economic conscription and the children of think tank analysts and journalists are not being drafted,” Goodfellow told WhoWhatWhy in a phone interview.