[pjw] Analysis: Trump's plan to fund Afghan surge by taking their resources (Salon 8/22)
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Tue Aug 22 13:22:34 EDT 2017
I poked around looking for the words "Trump Afghanistan plan Erik Prince"
to respond to Trump's speech last night. I found this piece on Salon by
the person who's been doing great reporting on the former Blackwater
owner and his proposal to take over Afghanistan with a private corporation
which would fund itself by taking Afghansitan's natural resources.
It's worth a read. And, of course, it's worth vocally opposing more troops
being sent to Afghanistan at your favorite publications, with your elected
officials, and in the streets.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017 8:02 AM EDT
Trump has a secret plan to "win" in Afghanistan and wants us to trust him.
Since he knows nothing about Afghanistan or the war, his only strategy is
more bombs and stealing resources
Heather Digby Parton
According to NBC News, last month President Donald Trump met with his
generals and angrily demanded to know why we haven't "won" the war in
Afghanistan since he became president. He wanted to fire the commander
there and find someone who could get the job done.
Over nearly two hours in the situation room, according to the
officials, Trump complained about NATO allies, inquired about the
United States getting a piece of Afghan's mineral wealth [sic] and
repeatedly said the top U.S. general there should be fired. He also
startled the room with a story that seemed to compare their advice
to that of a paid consultant who cost a tony New York restaurateur
profits by offering bad advice.
As with everything else on earth, Trump is clueless about the history
of Afghanistan, the conditions on the ground or the war's ostensible
objectives. To call it complicated is to understate it by a factor of a
Trump had been talking to some veterans who complained, as soldiers
have been doing since time immemorial, about the generals not knowing
their top brass from a foxhole in the ground. He believed them. But
since his only frame of reference in life is that of an heir to a
fortune who lives between Manhattan and Palm Beach, he explained his
position by recounting a story about how the 21 Club had hired an
expensive consultant to come up with a renovation plan when they should
have just consulted with the waiters.
Trump's complaining about NATO was more of the usual ill-informed
crankiness about U.S. allies, and the questions about why we aren't
stealing minerals from Afghanistan (which would be a war crime) are par
for the course. He's always said that his military strategy is to "bomb
the shit out of 'em and take the oil," so one assumes that
after dropping the MOAB, the biggest bomb short of nuclear weapons in
the U.S. arsenal, he logically felt the next step was to take whatever
In any case, the Pentagon's plan to have Trump sign off on a plan
didn't happen that day. It took military brass until this past week to
finalize one and get the president to approve a new "surge," which will
probably do the same thing as the last surge: Not much. Politico
reported that National Security adviser H.R.McMaster and Vice President
Mike Pence actually rehearsed their pitch to Trump last Friday to get
him to agree to the consensus. One imagines that it consisted of lots
of pictures, small words and flattery. Apparently it worked.
Thank goodness for small favors. As useless as another surge in
Afghanistan might turn out to be, it could have been a whole lot worse.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the plan Steve Bannon and Eric Prince had
reportedly cooked up, which Bannon and Jared Kushner were reported to
have delivered personally to Defense Secretary Mattis. That plan was to
privatize the war by hiring a mercenary army under the auspices of an
American "viceroy," modeled on the old colonial British East India
Company. They would then "take the minerals" as payment to finance the
war, ostensibly on behalf of the locals.
Mattis told Bannon and Kushner that he wasn't looking for any "outside"
plans at this time. Although the president was said to have been
intrigued, this idea lost favor in the end, for unknown reasons.
Perhaps the fact that the Trump Organization wouldn't be allowed a
piece of the spoils soured the president on the scheme.
In any case, after some final deliberation over the weekend, on Monday
night Trump took to the airwaves to announce his new strategy. He spoke
stiffly from the teleprompter in flowery words that sounded nothing
like his own and omitted the magic words "radical Islamic terrorism,"
which, according to his own campaign rhetoric means he supports the
He cranked up the temperature on Pakistan and asked India to "help"
more, which may very well have serious repercussions down the road.
Apparently the Trump administration has decided that the nuclear
standoff with North Korea and destabilizing the nuclear deal with Iran
isn't enough of a challenge. Now it wants to get into the middle of
that ongoing mess between two nuclear powers as well.
Trump also made some vague references to "defraying the costs" of the
war, which may very well translate into grabbing Afghanistan by the
minerals. And somebody definitely needs to answer for letting him say
that the country has a prime minister when it has a president. Overall
the whole thing was very light on details, which he once again
explained away as his secret, special, super-duper surprise attack
Essentially Trump told us, "We have a plan, we won't tell you the plan
and the plan will cost a lot of money." In other words: "Trust me."
Trust him? Let's review why those might be the scariest words in the
English language right now. Two weeks ago, Trump inexplicably escalated
the war of words with North Korea to the point at which Guam was
issuing warnings to residents not to look up at incoming missiles in
case Kim Jong-un came through with his threat to launch bombs in their
direction. The possibility that one of the unstable men in charge of
either the U.S. or North Korea might miscalculate and start World War
III was one of the most nerve-wracking moments in recent memory. This
was particularly true since Trump clearly didn't understand the nature
of the nuclear threat during the campaign and obviously hasn't learned
anything since becoming president.
But Trump's campaign promises were full of chilling messages that
seemed designed to make our allies frightened of us and our enemies
hate us even more. As I mentioned above, he's threatened to bomb, raze,
torture, execute and pillage any country and any people he deems to be
an enemy or a friend of an enemy. He routinely endorsed war crimes,
even repeating one of the most lurid of them all just five days ago,
when he tweeted his oft-repeated apocryphal tale about Gen. "Black
Jack" Pershing dipping bullets in pig's blood and staging a mass
execution of Muslims in the Philippines. Doing this just days after
pronouncing that Nazis marching in the streets was no worse than your
average protest march undoubtedly reinforced the message that the U.S.
military answers to a bloodthirsty thug no better than the worst
Trump is impulsive and lies constantly without remorse. He often
behaves like a child. He looked up at the eclipse without glasses, and
acted proud of his juvenile rebelliousness. Trusting him, ever, about
anything, is suicidal.
Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer
to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and
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