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U.S. has right to benefit from Afghanistan’s mineral wealth

Published: Tue, June 22, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Last week’s revelation in THE New York Times that war-torn Afghanistan has nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits brought to mind similar reports in the early days of the U.S.-led military invasion of Iraq.

At that time, the huge untapped oil reserves were touted by the Bush administration as a way of not only restoring Iraq’s war-torn economy, but also repaying the United States for the cost of its presence in that country beginning in 2003.

But, as a USA Today story published in May shows, American tax dollars continue to be spent by the boatload not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan as well.

Indeed, the newspaper revealed that the monthly cost of the Afghanistan war has now surpassed the cost of the Iraq incursion. In February, the Pentagon spent $6.7 billion in Afghanistan, compared with $5.5 billion in Iraq.

“As recently as fiscal year 2008, Iraq was three times as expensive; in 2009, it was twice as costly,” USA Today reported.

In the midst of a national economic recession and the growing federal budget deficit and national debt, such spending does prompt the question: When will the U.S. benefit from bringing freedom to the two countries that were once ruled by cruel dictators?

In Iraq, 2.4 million barrels of oil per day are being produced, but the goal is to increase that to more than 12 million a day. Foreign oil companies are being urged to invest.

The country has the world’s third largest proven oil reserves.

Now, we’re told, there’s so much wealth beneath the ground in Afghanistan that American officials are speculating the country could be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the Times reported.

According to an internal Pentagon memo obtained by the newspaper, Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material used in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The fact that the story did not become a topic of 24/7 media discussion does not diminish the importance of what the Pentagon has discovered. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two months ago has taken up hourly discussion on cable television — with good reason. With millions of crude oil spewing from the disabled oil rig operated by BP, the economic and environmental devastation is plain the see.


The four Gulf states, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi are scrambling to limit the damage, but until the well is tapped, their economies, marshes, wildlife preserves and pristine beaches will continue to be destroyed.

Although BP has publicly pledged to set aside $20 billion in an account to be managed by the Obama administration for recovery efforts, the overall cost of cleaning up the environment and restoring the region’s economic health will be many more billions of dollars.

President Obama has made it clear that BP will have to bear the cost, but there will be other expenses the federal government will be expected to meet.

Having two countries being cared for by the United States with so much natural wealth makes it incumbent upon Obama to let the governments in Kabul and Baghdad know that repayment is not negotiable.

Indeed, the oil in Iraq and the vast mineral deposits in Afghanistan will not be fully explored without U.S. involvement — despite what the people of those countries may think.

As the BP oil spill has shown, the American people aren’t in a forgiving mood.


1solman678(1 comment)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

What a ridiculous thing to say! "Two countries being cared for by the United States"? "Repayment is not negotiable"? Does anybody else realize how foolish and arrogant this sounds? First of all, it's fair to say that the people of Afghanistan and Iraq never asked for our military and government to "take care of them." If a country invaded the United States, occupied us for eight years, killed thousands of civilians, and then found untapped mineral deposits, would we say that country had a right to develop them without permission, and keep the profit? According to the tone of this article, it sounds like we'd be on our knees thanking them! Are the Afghans supposed to be thanking us for "caring for them"? Again, return to the scenario of another country invading the United States the same way the U.S. military did to both Iraq and Afghanistan; would you be thanking them? Of course not, what would you have to thank them for? The civilian casualties? Their desire to develop resources that don't belong to them? Whoever wrote this needs to do some serious thinking. Or any thinking at all, really. Pretty much anything would be more than whatever it took to throw this article together.

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2VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

If we strip the people of Afganistan of their natural resources, then we are no better than any other conquering power from the past. We need to remember our reasons for invading Afganistan, which was not for the natural resources, but for the defeat of Taliban extremists and Al Quieda terrorists who were persecuting Afgan citizens and creating terroristic behavior throughout the world.

The people of Afganistan need their natural resources to rebuild their nation and not to payback our government for its invasion. Granted, our government's military invasion has begun the reconstruction process for Afganistan's people, but their reconstruction will take many, many years and many, many dollars. Allowing the Afgan people to use their resources as financial backing for all that needs to be accomplished is the only consideration we should take. Our government will need to assist future Afgan leaders in guiding them in the correct direction and avoid the retaking of Afganistan by the Taliban.

The wealth of Afganistan's natural resources can only be measured by the market and our county's need and ability to pay for those resources, which will determine how quickly Afganistan can rebuild and the people of Afganistan can rise up to a level of civilization equal to the rest of the world.

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3palbubba(794 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

George W. Bush and his administration was ostersized daily for the invasions constantly by the media, saying it was all about "oil". All of that reporting has been shown to be a big LIE, a word the media loved to use to describe George. How about taking away the billions spent on the law breaking illegal aliens, it would more than pay for the wars. I'm just saying.

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4Valleys_Voice(149 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

In my opinion, we invaded Iraq and Afganistan to secure these wealth deposits. Money equals power and if the U.S. was to maintain its "super power" image, we had to do what was necessary. Russia tried to take over Afganistan for the same reason and failed. It was only a matter of time before another super power tried to take advantage of their resources.

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5ozzi(14 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

The crumbling us empire has the right to rape and pillage the whole world! NOT.

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