by James Petras
July 12, 2011
GlobalResearch.com

The US government (White House and Congress) spends $10 billion dollars a month, or $120 billion a year, to fight an estimated “50 -75 ‘Al Qaeda types’ in Afghanistan ”, according to the CIA and quoted in the Financial Times of London (6/25 -26/11, p. 5). During the past 30 months of the Obama presidency, Washington has spent $300 billion dollars in Afghanistan , which adds up to $4 billion dollars for each alleged ‘Al Queda type’. If we multiply this by the two dozen or so sites and countries where the White House claims ‘Al Qaeda’ terrorists have been spotted, we begin to understand why the US budget deficit has grown astronomically to over $1.6 trillion for the current fiscal year.

During Obama’s Presidency, Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment has been frozen, resulting in a net decrease of over 8 percent, which is exactly the amount spent chasing just 5 dozen ‘Al Qaeda terrorists’ in the mountains bordering Pakistan .

It is absurd to believe that the Pentagon and White House would spend $10 billion a month just to hunt down a handful of terrorists ensconced in the mountains of Afghanistan . So what is the war in Afghanistan about? The answer one most frequently reads and hears is that the war is really against the Taliban, a mass-based Islamic nationalist guerrilla movement with tens of thousands of activists. The Taliban, however, have never engaged in any terrorist act against the territorial United States or its overseas presence. The Taliban have always maintained their fight was for the expulsion of foreign forces occupying Afghanistan . Hence the Taliban is not part of any “international terrorist network”. If the US war in Afghanistan is not about defeating terrorism, then why the massive expenditure of funds and manpower for over a decade?

Several hypotheses come to mind:

The first is the geopolitics of Afghanistan : The US is actively establishing forward military bases, surrounding and bordering on China..

Secondly, US bases in Afghanistan serve as launching pads to foment “dissident separatist” armed ethnic conflicts and apply the tactics of ‘divide and conquer’ against Iran , China , Russia and Central Asian republics.

Thirdly, Washington’s launch of the Afghan war (2001) and the easy initial conquest encouraged the Pentagon to believe that a low cost, easy military victory was at hand, one that could enhance the image of the US as an invincible power, capable of imposing its rule anywhere in the world, unlike the disastrous experience of the USSR.

Fourthly, the early success of the Afghan war was seen as a prelude to the launching of asequence of successful wars, first against Iraq and to be followed by Iran , Syria and beyond. These would serve the triple purpose of enhancing Israeli regional power, controlling strategic oil resources and enlarging the arc of US military bases from South and Central Asia, through the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean .

Link to the rest of the article Imperial Decline: Multi-Billion-Dollar Terrorists and the Disappearing Middle Class