Thursday, June 24, 2010

Firing Your Way Out of Chaos: Loose COINdinistas Sink Ships

Michael Hastings has just kicked some COINdinista butt! He inked his scalp, four-star Gen. Stanley McChrystal no less, for Rolling Stone Magazine.

McChrystal is mercilessly depicted as an infantile and loose-lipped man intoxicated by the camaraderie and adrenaline of power and his elaborately constructed military persona:

"I'd rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner," McChrystal says.

He pauses a beat.

"Unfortunately," he adds, "no one in this room could do it."

Talk about pride coming before the fall...

Poor old McChrystal won't have to worry anymore about bothersome diplomatic dinners; there will be plenty of dinners at home for him and his suffering wife (the dude celebrates their anniversary in Paris at an Irish theme pub "Kitty O'Shea's" with his slavering entourage of loose-lipped twits in tow). At the end of his anniversary-cum-piss-up he has a teary moment where he confides to Hastings, "All these men...I'd die for them. And they'd die for me."

Dude: Think that chair, lose the crowd, substitute the uniform for a dressing gown,
and add a TV dinner on your lap!

I wonder, now that he has been caponized, whether his men would still die for him? Or will they go limpet-like onto the next powerful general? One thing I would hazard a guess about: I bet you his wife has his back, if only he had the presence of mind to take her out properly in one of the world's most romantic cities - "Kitty O'Shea's" in Paris! Tsk tsk. Poor sausage.

McChrystal makes many a telling admission, likening Afghanistan to a bleeding ulcer. What's most terrifying is that the U.S. fields such politically tone-deaf types to lead a war that demands safer hands when it comes to communication and diplomacy. Silly Global Superpower!

Parting shot:

Yes Eikenberry, you are looking a bit suss too!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Afghanistan: "the Saudi Arabia of lithium"

I am loathe to succumb to conspiratorial speculation about the war in Afghanistan. In fact, I have always maintained - wholly in the absence of any evidence whatsoever - that the motivations for the war in Afghanistan were revenge for 9/11 and destruction of al Qaida and its enablers.

Then this little doosie appears in the NYT yesterday:

New York Times, 13 June 2010

U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.
“On the ground, it’s very, very, promising,” Mr. Medlin said. “Actually, it’s pretty amazing.”

As if the US occupation wants to fuel conspiratorial fulmination about their reason for being in Afghanistan, the Pentagon fielded some geologists and other experts to see what the mining potential of Afghanistan is; and guess what?

One of of the geologists remarks that, “On the ground, it’s very, very, promising”.

Perhaps the mining division of the Pentagon could counsel the counterinsurgency part on positive thinking in times of crisis.

Luckily, the World Bank had already 'assisted' (not completely written based on precedents from the many developing countries in which the Bank has positively tranformed mining regulatory frameworks, optimistic places like Congo) the Karzai government to rewrite their mining laws.