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Billions Wasted in the Worse Than Vietnam Wasteland: Afghanistan

Updated on June 9, 2011

Honestly, the only Americans who really give a shit about Afghanistan and its war are those directly involved in it. Of those who are directly involved, while they rant the chorus line of their commanders and regurgitate the bravado about why fighting there is important, inside them, they know the cause is lost. They know because they have cleared a town or village many times over, they know because they would never trust the ill-trained Afghan army nor its police with their own lives. They know just from the scuttle butt talk among soldiers, few would want to stay to help Afghanistan become a corrupt democracy.

The real problem is that $19,000,000,000 has been spent by the US, and $35,000,000,000 by the NATO countries. For the US, $11,000,000,000 of it has been considered a waste in a recent report. Waste via corruption and waste because the Taliban take control of areas left devoid of troops. For instance, the US spent millions repairing and updating a key dam to provide electricity and irrigation for the local area served. Everything was fine until American troops left the area. Since that time, the Taliban have take control and now control who gets water for farms and who gets electricity and they do it for money. No money, no service. If you are with the Americans, woe to you. The British have their own waste also. In the areas they control, they attempt to distribute aid and free seeds so farmers will grow crops and not opium, which is easy to sell and make money on. The aid provided is often sold by those citizens who receive the free seeds, or the farmers plant the seeds among the opium crops. The idea is to replace opium crops with food crops. So, far, old habits die hard or not at all.

Afghanistan is such a waste. Its "economy" relies on 97% of foreign aid to survive. It has no valuable exports like Vietnam. Of the aid given, 80% of it is for short term, meaning within 1-2 years after 2014, Afghanistan will most likely return to a period resembling pre-2001, when the Taliban controlled. This is the prediction of the recent report unless troops remain.

Pakistan controls the Taliban with weapons and funding. We know this. It is to their advantage to keep Afghanistan within their grip because the Taliban could also turn on them. But what is worse is the fact that its own citizens do not trust the Karzai government and many prefer the Taliban, despite their strict rule of law. The Karzai government can be corrupt because they are the only "game" in town to have a "faux democracy". The US concedes it and allows its soldiers die for it.

The whole thing is a legacy thing from the Bush years. No country has ever tamed Afghanistan due to its vastness and never will. It is the worse kind of waste. America should invest in America.


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    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 6 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      Based on what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said today and backed up by Canada's Minister of Defence, it seems that the light should go on. NATO countries are developing into a two tier system, expecting others to sort out the mess around the world. Of course that will never happen. Some things are best left alone. It was probably a hard lesson for many to learn.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      Thanks, I just hope the "light" goes on in a "duh!" moment. It seems many in the Senate are questioning the whole mess.

    • albertacowpoke profile image

      albertacowpoke 6 years ago from Redwater, Alberta

      Afghanistan could have been handled with much smaller forces, if the aim was to drive out the Taliban. Needless to say the Taliban are no match for NATO forces, thus they have been using IEDs, car bombs and suicide bombers, the only way to make an impact. They freely move back and forth between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

      As far as the governance principle goes, the whole approach in my mind was wrong. You can't install a central and effective government when the whole country is based on a tribal culture controlled by warlords.

      Your article addresses the recent report from the Senate Armed Services Committee, which recognizes that local governors received too much money and no one knows where that money is going.

      Without a viable economy, forces that can be paid, I agree it will all fall apart in short order after NATO leaves. Leaving creates another Catch 22, what about Pakistan? What about Iran?

      Candidate Obama touted this as the war worth fighting and send more resources, including the surge, increased drone attacks into Pakistan, etc etc. It now seems the U.S. is even hoping that Iraq asks for U.S. Forces to remain in Iraq. Go figure.

      With a devastating economy, three wars (Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya) somebody has to sit down and sort out America's priorities. Good hub.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      It is on a much worse scale.

    • Deerwhisperer profile image

      Brenda K Krupnow 6 years ago from Ravenden, AR

      Souns like Vietnam all over again. Very informative.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      You are right in many, many ways.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 6 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      The military gets money

      The Governments of all these countries militaries get money

      The arms makers get money

      People in all countries die fighting there for what?


      We poison ourselves and our children with toxins for money.

      War makes money and controls people.

      Peace on the other hand ?