"There is only one thing in this world, and that is to keep acquiring money and more money, power and more power. All the rest is meaningless."Former Senator Fritz Hollings wrote a piece for the Huffington Post asking why we are still in Afghanistan since our wars are producing more terrorists than they kill. He started off well, but sidestepped the geopolitic grown up talk that America never had about why we killed a million Iraqis and why we are still in Afghanistan.Napoleon Bonaparte
It certainly has nothing to do with threats to our security. If that was the case, we would have invaded North Korea after they fired missiles over Japan.
And it has nothing to do with 9/11 since al Qaeda was financed and given logistical support by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the latter going as far as evacuating top al Qaeda leaders from Tora Bora when we had them cornered there.
If we didn't go after those two nations, it's hard to believe that having our troops in Afghanistan has anything to do with 9/11.
Instead, it is more likely we are in Afghanistan because someone thinks they can make a lot of money there, from the Trans Afghanistan Pipeline and so Wall Street can continue to collect the income from the Heroin poppies, just as the British did when they tried to force Afghan opium on the Chinese way back in the Opium War, and just as Bush was trying to force oil laws favorable to oil companies on Iraq, so they could collect up to 88% of the income from Iraq's tens of trillion of dollars worth of oil.
Energy companies courted the Taliban for a pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to take natural gas to India but gave up in frustration shortly before 9/11. In 2006, India was concerned about continuing the project until America gave assurances that we would protect the pipeline.
UPDATE: Those assurances were repeated in 2008.
(Thanks to chill_wind at DU, who provided another good background link on pipeline)
The drug story is even less well-known, though the New York Times did cover the story of the Afghan president's brother being one of the largest drug smugglers in the country.
When Britain controlled Afghanistan, they owned the poppy trade. When the French owned Indochina, they owned the poppy trade there. Once we allied with the fundamentalists in Afghanistan in the 80's, drugs started flowing out of there, through Pakistan, and to the US. Do you suppose our leaders and business people are so pure they aren't getting a cut of that?
Wall Street has a bad habit of covering up their incompetence as businessmen with drug money.
The BCCI money laundering scandal involved some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country, profiting from drug trafficking and handling money for terrorists. The New York Times and even PBS has even covered this drug money laundering business, and if you googled the name of your favorite big bank, you would more likely than not find they have been involved.
UPDATE: UN says drug money keeping banks afloat in financial crisis.
(Thanks to RubyGal at DailyKos for link)
John Kerry has documented CIA drug dealing, confirming the work of San Jose Mercury News Reporter, Gary Webb's uncovering of the Contras selling cocaine that flooded America's inner cities. The CIA itself has an odd history of picking a fair number of directors who came not from the intelligence community but from Wall Street or corporations. Like corporate lawyer John Foster Dulles or oil man George HW Bush. So it would make sense that the agency is looking after business more than our security.
It is about money. I appreciate Hollings asking the question, but he should have provided part of the real answer too.
And I guess it would be too much to ask that our new president set aside the propaganda bullshit about our various military operations, tell us who profits from them, and what if anything the average American gets out of them, so we could make an informed decision about whether to support killing people in dirt huts with our troops and our tax dollars, and nineteen and twenty year old American kids coming home in aluminum coffins.
confirmation in Toronto Star
Iran out-manuevers US on pipeline through Pakistan
November 2009 updates:
Recently, Ron Reagan had a former CIA agent on his show who said the CIA controls 90% of the heroin trade.
A couple of respectable investigative reporters have followed up on this, Chris Hedges and David Lindorff.