Why Are We There?

Aftermath Of an IED Explosion

The United States recently dropped an enormous bomb, one of the biggest non-nuclear weapons in existence, in Afghanistan.  We dropped it apparently on ISIS fighters.  So why in the world are we in Afghanistan?.  What is our purpose there?  We’ve been there since 2001, we’ve spent billions of dollars.  We’ve lost soldiers.  Afghani civilians have died.  We don’t seem to be any closer to leaving or having a plan or date for leaving.

To what purpose all the sacrifices?  As far as I can see, all that we’ve done is ousted the Taliban and Mullah Omar from the central government and put in place a central government that is shaky and still needs our presence.  That might have felt good in 2001 (revenge is sweet), but it’s sixteen year later and the Taliban is still there and is still fighting.  Now there’s a third force in the mix, ISIS, and apparently ISIS and the Taliban fight each other.  If the enemy of our enemy is our friend, does that mean we’re now chums with the Taliban and should fight on their side?  It’s all too confusing.  I wish someone could tell me what our objectives there are.  Is it to reduce terrorism?  To create a stable, democratic government in Afghanistan?

Whatever our objectives were or are, we have failed miserably.  We keep coming up with new plans, new strategies for continuing to fail.

Perhaps it’s time to put up or get out.

Some statistics on Afghanistan:

Coalition deaths of 01/10/15:  3,407

U.S. deaths of 01/10/15:  3,424 

During the war in Afghanistan (2001–14), over 26,000 civilian deaths due to war-related violence have been documented; 29,900 civilians have been wounded. Over 91,000 Afghans, including civilians, soldiers and militants, are recorded to have been killed in the conflict, and the number who have died through indirect causes related to the war may include an additional 360,000 people. 

Direct costs of the war, FY2001 – FY2016 – $783 billion

The war in Afghanistan has so far cost $33,000 per citizen, as of 01/10/2015



It’s fun brainstorming how to describe today’s Republican Party:  dumb, silly, heads-in-the-sand, regressive, really dumb, mean, pandering, allergic to facts and logic, really really dumb.  The list can go on and on.  I look at Scut Walker and his pals in Wisconsin and “mean-spirited” comes to mind.  Let’s micromanage the diet of food stamp recipients even if it costs money and puts the state further in the red.  Thom Hartmann says

It’s actually more expensive to stop poor people from eating shellfish than to just let the food stamp program go on as normal, but Republicans are all on board because it punishes and stigmatizes low-income people. (See the whole post)

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The Republican picture of food stamp use.

The Republicans base their world view on anecdotes.  A woman with an iPhone was spotted using food stamps thus all food stamps users are abusing their stamps.

Too bad that the true picture is lost – to Republicans – beneath such anecdotes.


If they would bother to look a bit deeper they would see that:

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ISIS Spending and Ebola Spending

I’ve seen quoted a number of different estimates of how much the US plans to spend fighting the Ebola epidemic in west Africa.  The highest I’ve seen is $100 million.

The cost of the fight against ISIS?

Gordon Adams, the go-to guy in Washington on DOD’s budget, previously told The Fiscal Times that the mission to stop ISIS would cost between $10 billion and $15 billion each year. Now that more details of the plan are known, Adams has revised his estimate — up.  “I estimate $15-20 [billion] for the operation, on an annual basis,”

This doesn’t make sense.  Why are we spending so much more on the war against ISIS than we are on fighting the Ebola epidemic that rages unabated?  Why does America fear ISIS much?  Why do not Americans fear Ebola as much?  I don’t know.  Perhaps it is because of the brutal videos of the beheadings by ISIS of American journalists?  The pictures I see coming out of Africa are of people who are obviously sick.  But a video of a beheading trumps a picture of a sick person or videos of people walking about in moon suits.

Read this:

House Republicans indicated Tuesday that they will provide less than half of the White House’s funding request to fight Ebola in the next government spending bill.

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) agreed as of Tuesday morning to spend a total of $40 million to fight the epidemic in the 2015 spending bill.  [thehill.com]

Is that not shameful?  The Gates Foundation has pledged $50 million.  Republicans don’t even want to spend as much on Ebola as does a private foundation.  They sure are willing to spend money on endless wars in the Mideast, but not much on impoverished, black Africans.




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