On Tuesday it was announced that 17,000 more troops have been authorized for the Afghan war. According to PBS News, the total number of troops in country will total 55,000 by the end of the summer. Why not a million?
It is time to recognize the Afghan war for the absolute folly that it is. A landlocked country approximately the size of Texas, surrounded by neighbors hostile to the U.S., it is a logistical nightmare as regards supply lines. With mountains rising to greater than 24,000 feet in some parts of the country and deserts in other parts, the terrain is at best foreboding. With a population of around 33 million, (eight million more than Iraq), and a fractured political state, the country is a disaster waiting to happen (see Tuesday's posting, "Whistling Past the Graveyard").
The Soviets, in their miserable debacle there, threw everything they had at the Afghans. Maintaining a force of over 100,000 for most of their occupation, they were not only driven from the country, they were driven out of existence. Is that our goal as well? If not, what exactly is our goal?
The rationale for the Afghan war seems to have been obviated. Al-Qaeda, our initial rationale for invasion, can no longer be considered a reason to maintain this war. The Taliban seems to be gaining strength but show little involvement with al-Qaeda, which seems to have spread beyond the borders of the nation and possibly relocated its base to Pakistan. In any event, it is almost assuredly the case that those responsible for 9/11 have either gone or regrouped elsewhere.
Why then are we continuing, and increasing, our troop presence in Afghanistan? Do we really believe that 55, 000 troops will do the job? As I said earlier, what about a million troops? In a land where it is not even possible to define victory, when will enough be enough? Who would need to surrender before we could claim victory?
The mission is unclear. The opponent is elusive. The only thing clear is what happens to those who choose to fight in this place.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs
- 11 workers killed in initial blast
- Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
- 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
- Gulf Fisheries Industry
- Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
- Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)
Worst Oil Spills
- Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
- Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
- Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
- Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
- Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
- Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
- South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
- France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
- Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
- Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
- Source: Mother Nature Network. mnn.com. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.
Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)
- 1957 Windscale, UK
- 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
- 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
- 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
- 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
- 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
- 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
- 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
- 1989 Griefwald, Germany
- 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
- 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
- 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
- Source: Benjamin Sovacool
Mining Disasters (Under Construction)
- China 1942 - 1549 deaths
- France 1906 - 1100 deaths
- Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
- Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
- South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
- Source: Epic Disasters Website
- Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.
OIL IS OVER! - Resources
- The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
- The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
- Demian - Herman Hesse
- Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
- The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
- Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
- Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
- 1984 - George Orwell
- Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
- The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
- The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
- Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
- The Quiet American - Graham Greene
- Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
- Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
- Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
- Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
- We - Yevgeny Zamyatin
- John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
- Patti Smith
- The Clash - the only band that matters
- Billy Bragg
- Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
- Art Blakey
- Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
- PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
- Woody Guthrie
- Michael Franti (Spearhead)
- Public Enemy
- Ray Charles - the Genius
- Bob Dylan
- Velvet Underground
- Flaming Lips
- John Doe & X
- The Beatles
opiate of the masses
- God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
- I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
- The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
- If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
- No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
- When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
- If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
- The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
- Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
- God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer