Billions Wasted in the Worse Than Vietnam Wasteland: Afghanistan
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.