And it may mean we never leave. - The US (and especially the Brits, one of the few countriesleft in the "coalition"), are being pressed by voters to get their troops out of Afghanistan, which seems to many people to be a futile war being waged in a country with no desire to become democratic. One of the problems with our leaving is the fear that the country would revert to the farming of opium poppies, which end up as illegal drugs on the streets of major Western cities. Now a trillion dollar treasure trove of minerals has been discovered inAfghanistan, which may provide the country with a new economic base that would make poppy farming much less appealing. This includes the world's largest supply of lithium, which is essential to the future of nonpolluting electric vehicles, as well as batteries for laptop computers and other modern communication devices.
The deposits were discovered by a team of Pentagon officials and American geologists and according to the Pentagon, could lead to Afghanistan becoming the "Saudi Arabia of lithium." While it will take years to develop the industry, it could attract investment right away, bringing money into the Afghan economy that would relieve the taxpayer burden in the US and UK.
But our soldiers may not be able to come home yet: Instead of bringing relief to a war-torn nation, this discovery could bring even more dissention, inspiring the Taliban to fight even more aggressively for control. It could also bring increased corruption to a government that is already corrupt.
In the June 14th edition of the New York Times, James Risen reports that last year, Afghanistan's minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to give China exclusive rights to mine Afghan copper. And in Wired.com, Katie Drummond quotes The Wall Street Journal as saying that Afghanistan's Mines Ministry "has long been considered one of the country's most corrupt government departments."
In fact, Drummond says that despite this announcement of a "new" discovery, it's really nothing new at all. In Wired.com, she reports that the USGS and the Navy have known about it for at least 3 years. If that's the case, why hasn't it been factored into our plans for an independent Afghanistan? She quotes American geologist Bonita Chamberlin, who spent 25 years working in Afghanistan, as saying, "I am quite surprised that the military is announcing this as some 'new' and 'surprising' discovery. This is NOT new. Perhaps this also hints at the real reason why we would be so intent on this war."
And we thought our invasions in the Middle East were all about oil! Hey, if you love mystery and conspiracy, come raise a glass with Jim Marrs at this year's Dreamland Festival!
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