This video is from C-SPAN, broadcast Dec. 2, 2009.
Only 100 Al Qaeda fighters remain in Afghanistan, while number of private Pentagon contractors tops 104,000.
In an address to the nation on Tuesday, President Obama declared, “As commander in chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interests to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. … After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.” For Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), however, if the ultimate goal is to get out of Afghanistan, then the sooner the better.
“Why are we still in Afghanistan?” Kucinich asked on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday morning. “Al-Qaeda has been routed. Our occupation fuels a Taliban insurgency. The more troops we send, the more resistance we meet.”
“The people of Afghanistan don’t want to be saved by us,” Kucinich continued. “They want to be saved from us. Our presence and our Predator drones kill countless innocents, creating more US enemies and destabilizing Pakistan.”
Kucinich has been expressing opposition to a “surge” in Afghanistan since last spring, regularly insisting that at a time of economic crisis the money being spent on war would be better applied to basic needs back home.
When General Stanley McChrystal asked in September for more troops, Kucinich issued a statement saying, “If the Obama administration is determined to ‘win the war’ in Afghanistan, then we should be prepared for another Vietnam. An unending military commitment is unacceptable to the American people and it should be unacceptable to Congress. If the Obama administration refuses to bring this war to an end, then Congress should use the power of the purse, granted by the Constitution, to end the war and bring our troops home.”
“We’ve played all sides in Afghanistan and all sides want us out,” Kucinich concluded on Wednesday. “They don’t want our presence, our control, our troops, our drones, our way of life. We’re fighting the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time. What part of “get out” do we not understand?”
UPDATE: $300 MILLION FOR EVERY AL QAEDA MEMBER IN AFGHANISTAN
President Barack Obama made the decision to send some 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan despite being informed that the country is now host to only 100 Al Qaeda fighters, ABC News reports.
A senior U.S. intelligence official told ABCNews.com the approximate estimate of 100 al Qaeda members left in Afghanistan reflects the conclusion of American intelligence agencies and the Defense Department. The relatively small number was part of the intelligence passed on to the White House as President Obama conducted his deliberations.
ABC News estimates that, with the surge included, there will be a ratio of 1,000 US troops for every Al Qaeda member in the country. The cost of the war will work out to $300 million for every Al Qaeda fighter.
And Justin Elliott at TalkingPointsMemo reported Wednesday that the US now has more than 104,000 defense contractors in the country, which exceeds the number of regular troops on the ground, which will be 98,000 after the surge is completed.
By Muriel Kane
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 — 1:11 pm
Source: The Raw Story
– Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’
Murray asserts that the primary motivation for US and British military involvement in central Asia has to do with large natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As evidence, he points to the plans to build a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan that would allow Western oil companies to avoid Russia and Iran when transporting natural gas out of the region.
Murray alleged that in the late 1990s the Uzbek ambassador to the US met with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to discuss a pipeline for the region, and out of that meeting came agreements that would see Texas-based Enron gain the rights to Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits, while oil company Unocal worked on developing the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.
“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.
“There are designs of this pipeline, and if you look at the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, as against other NATO country forces in Afghanistan, you’ll see that undoubtedly the US forces are positioned to guard the pipeline route. It’s what it’s about. It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”
“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel. “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”
“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.
Opium production rate has soared to 6,900 tons in Afghanistan in the past 10 years ‘despite‘ the presence of 100,000 foreign troops in the country for nearly eight years.
A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Wednesday that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium that has devastating global consequences.
The UN report also noted that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production is worth 65 billion dollars.
The heroin and opium market feeds 15 million addicts, with Europe, Russia and Iran consuming half the supply, UNODC reported.
– Top US commander in Afghanistan: The Taliban have gained the upper hand:
The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas like the volatile southern city of Kandahar, the insurgency’s spiritual home. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that means U.S. casualties, already running at record levels, will remain high for months to come.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)