Wednesday, December 09, 2009


When he was serving as Senator, Obama opposed the war in Iraq and the troop surge proposed by the Bush administration. Now, as President, how can Obama, having recently received the Nobel Prize, appear as a symbol of international peace by supporting the deployment of 30,000 additional troops, along with the infinite number of mercenary and private military forces not mentioned, to war in Afghanistan? We have spent almost a decade fighting in Afghanistan with the intention to seek and destroy Osama Bin Laden, a 6’5” Saudi on dialysis, and related perpetrators of 9/11. Seemingly, after 8 years our strategy or purpose for spending an estimated $3.6 billion per month on the war in Afghanistan (still worried about health care costs) has changed drastically, and without accurate inquiries by the media. Since military conscription is no longer applicable, most Americans today remain dissociated from the fact that this is the longest war in U.S. history.

Last Tuesday at the West Point Military Academy in New York, President Obama gave a speech detailing his administration’s military strategy for war in Afghanistan. The reasons for continuing to wage war in a country that has defeated more super-powers than any other nation in modern history seemed vague and unconvincing to the hundreds of cadets in attendance, many of whom may certainly be included in the 30,000 troops to be deployed, or re-deployed to Afghanistan. After remarking on the large disparity between the numbers of soldiers in Iraq versus Afghanistan, Obama declared that our national interest, security of the U.S. and safety of the American people are dependent on additional forces being sent to aid our currently deployed military personnel in stabilizing Afghanistan.

The proposed 18 month deadline for U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan coincides with the winding down of the war in Iraq. During his speech, President Obama stated that the war in Iraq is being brought to a responsible end. Troops will begin to be withdrawn starting next summer and completely out of the country by end of 2011. Contrary to President Obama’s vision is that of Afghan President Karzai, according to a press conference he spoke at today with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Karzai claimed that assembling a substantial security force from among the Afghan people that can provide order and stability to the country without U.S. military support would take much longer than just 18 months, much longer indeed. He argued that more international support and U.S. military presence is needed for another 20 years until the Afghan people can fend for themselves. How President Obama and President Karzai, the elected leader of Afghanistan and go-to moderate backed by the U.S., can formulate two radically different strategies is beyond me.

Not publicized by the media nor mentioned by President Obama during his speech last week was a clear description of U.S. interests in Afghanistan. Simply looking on a map would reveal the geo-strategic importance of Afghanistan to U.S. interests in the region, specifically, forming an alliance of regional states to oppose Iran and securing access to energy resources in the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. Widely unknown to the general public is the existence of two crucial natural gas pipelines, namely IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) and TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-India pipeline). Through continued military efforts in Afghanistan, the U.S. can control TAPI and run it through Kandahar province, coincidentally the most notoriously violent and terrorist filled area of the country, or use an alternate pipeline leading directly to the Arabian Sea. Consequently, the establishment of TAPI would reduce the energy reliance of Central Asian states on Russia, and more significantly, easily bypass a troublesome Iran.

While securing energy resources in the region may not have been the initial reasons behind the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, they are certainly part of the underlying motivations and paramount to the comprehensive strategy only partially discussed last week. I find it very deceiving for the Obama administration to withhold this issue from the American people. Also, the fact that none of the major media outlets have publicized even a shred of information relating Afghanistan to energy resources or U.S. geo-strategic interests in the region is alarming.


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