September 27, 2009

AfPak's Dr. Evil moment

Remember how Dr. Evil, who had been cryogenically frozen since 1967, threatened to blow up the world unless he receives One Million Dollars?

From the Washington Post:
The AfPak War
Combating Extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Diverse Sources Fund Insurgency In Afghanistan
Restricting Cash Flow Difficult, U.S. Says

By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service

KABUL -- The Taliban-led insurgency has built a fundraising juggernaut that generates cash from such an array of criminal rackets, donations, taxes, shakedowns and other schemes that U.S. and Afghan officials say it may be impossible to choke off the movement's money supply.

Obama administration officials say the single largest source of cash for the Taliban, once thought to rely mostly on Afghanistan's booming opium trade to finance its operations, is not drugs but foreign donations. The CIA recently estimated that Taliban leaders and their allies received $106 million in the past year from donors outside Afghanistan.

One Hundred and Six Million Dollars! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ah!

$106 million per year might get you third place in the American League East behind the Yankees and Red Sox.

How much is the U.S. spending in Afghanistan?

This is much like the war frenzy of the summer of 2006 when Hezbollah's military juggernaut, with its inexhaustible $100 million in Iranian funding, was the biggest threat since Hitler. I recall that during the Israel-Hezbollah 2006 war, the Wall Street Journal ran a breathless article called "Why Hezbollah Is Proving So Tough On the Battlefield" about a "fortified, 5,000-square-foot Hezbollah military base with a radio tower, secure satellite communications and a unit of more than a dozen guards."

5,000 square feet is 1/8th of an acre, but who's counting? Not many, that's for sure.

The truth is that the human race is going soft. Fewer and fewer people want to engage in combat, so the enormous U.S. military tax dollar sinkhole has to be all the way over in Afghanistan just to find somebody so backward and barbaric, the Pathans, as to want to fight.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

38 comments:

l said...

The US taxpayer outspends the Taliban's donors by about 1,000 to 1. But it's not enough to defeat them once and for all. Some liberals are shocked that General McChrystal's answer to a floundering war is "more!" -- while they call for "more!" to defeat poverty, illness, unemployment, etc. The government technocrat's answer is always "more!"

l said...

This just in ... General McChrystal says the Taliban's PR is more effective than NATO's:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/26/AR2009092601748_pf.html

We need to deploy more betterer catch phrases.

Pashtun Anti-defamation League said...

somebody so backward and barbaric, the Pathans, as to want to fight.
Them's fighting words!

rec1man said...

Since 9/11, the Indian govt has offered to send in one hundred thousand troops to keep out the taliban

Fighting taliban in Kashmir is no different than fighting taliban in Afghanistan. The kashmir taliban has been defeated after a twenty year campaign, only a few hundred taliban are left in Kashmir

Already Indian troops under the guise of Road building have over ten thousand troops in the non-pashtun areaas, aiding the non-pushtuns against the taliban

David said...

But they have access to A-bombs and from their high-tech caves can press a button and nuke Dubuque.

Our enemies are always as formidable as the Soviet Army was in 1965. No amount of money is too much to spend to fight them.

L said...

One thing seldom mentioned is McChrystal called for a totally new strategy (i.e., a classic counterinsurgency approach). He declares often that, without this new strategy, he doesn't want more troops. In other words, commit to a new strategy, the one that should have been used all along, or else get the heck out.

headache said...

106 mio? Recently I watched a Bond flick somebody gave me, forgot which year, and they were fretting over the MI6 treasury losing 10 mio. Pounds if Bond loses at poker. I was thinking, wow, this must be pre-Madoff. That kinda money just doesn’t make an impression on me anymore.

nostril said...

I sez:
We need to deploy more betterer catch phrases.



Maybe those neocon talking heads should head off to Afghanistan and sit in the back of a Humvee with a loudspeaker preaching to them Pashtuns all the crap they like to fill our ears with. At least that way they can do something practical for Israel instead of bloviating over the airwaves and filling endless web-realty.

Anonymous said...

$108 million chicken feed. It will, however, be enough to buy you a Sierra Club.

Anonymous said...

$108 million chicken feed. It will, however, be enough to buy you a Sierra Club.

outlaw josey wales said...

Very true. Our military budget is larger than all of the other world's nations combined, yet we cannot defeat an enemy who essentially has no budget!

I bet the Pentagon loses more money each week than the total annual budget of the Taliban. Hell, didn't we just lose about $10B cash in Iraq?

Anonymous said...

The U.S. should get out of Afghanistan.

Mr. Anon said...

"L said...

In other words, commit to a new strategy, the one that should have been used all along, or else get the heck out."

But that isn't the right strategy. Counter insurgency only makes sense if you give a damn about a place enough to want it for yourself or your allies. We don't - or at least, we shouldn't. I know I don't.

All we should have done in Afghanistan after 9/11 was to have launched a short, sharp punitive expedition - wipe out the Taleban, Al Quaeda - and then leave. That campaign needed to be brutal, ruthless......and short.

We are not "building" a nation in Afghanistan. We are only breaking our own.

SF said...

http://costofwar.com/

How much are we spending in Afghanistan--About $228 billion so far.

Victoria said...

The truth is that the human race is going soft. Fewer and fewer people want to engage in combat, so the enormous U.S. military tax dollar sinkhole has to be all the way over in Afghanistan just to find somebody so backward and barbaric, the Pathans, as to want to fight.

Steve, that is one of your greatest lines! I only hope you're right, though, that fewer are willing to go to battle. If James Sheehan, who wrote "Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?," is correct, European men, especially, are no longer as eager to be fodder, as they used to be. So, if the USA decides to make war on Europe again, we might find this region as the easiest pushover.

Watson said...

OFF TOPIC:

Is it a coincidence that Ralph Nader has a new book that appears designed to enlist billionaires in the fight for "progressive" causes?

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1925576,00.html

Wouldn't surprise me if he poached the idea from Steve, who's long pointed out that the super-rich could get massive return on investment by founding think tanks.

All this is just conjecture - I haven't read the book.

Concerned Netizen said...

You say the human race has gone soft and then you say that the Pathans love to fight. Are the Pathans human?

No, the human race hasn't gone soft. Americans haven't gone soft. They just don't have any real enemies.

The second that an armed enemy lands on US soil you'll find the savage fighting protective instinct rear its head quickly.

Anonymous said...

Concerned Netizen,

no, the moment an enemy lands in America half the population will demand handover of national sovereignty to the UN in return for a promise of a faithful arbitration based on principles of international justice, environmental protection and yadda yadda. Frankly, it wouldn't be that hard to maneuver them to do so even without any invasions. Think of it as "change we can believe in" round 2.0

Anonymous said...

You know, after the 20th century, maybe getting a little soft isn't such a bad thing.

silly girl said...

"European men, especially, are no longer as eager to be fodder, as they used to be. So, if the USA decides to make war on Europe again, we might find this region as the easiest pushover."

European men, or European mothers. European men are more likely to be the only son in the family. In the US, 55% of children have at least two siblings, courtesy of those 20% of women who have zero children.

Dutch Boy said...

$100 million will buy a lot of AK-47s and Composition 4 or Semtex.

Anonymous said...

The human race has not gone soft, just the small proportion of the human race that lives in sophisticated, wealthy liberal democracies. The rest of the human race remains perfectly willing to rape, disembowel, and bathe in the blood of their enemies, not necessarily in that order, so the trick for maintaining peace will be making sure those folks don't acquire any weapons much more destructive than rifles.

Merely declining to intervene in their countries will not prevent them from wanting to wage war against you. Contrary to left-wing blame-America-firstism, Third Worlders don't want to kill Americans because because of the awful things we've done to make them hate us, they want to kill us because we have more wealth and power than they do. This has been the reason for war ever since the first caveman bashed in some other caveman's head with a rock to swipe his buffalo hide. Of course, there is also the whole slay-the-infidels thing.

Anonymous said...

I just wonder how much taliban cash originates from Britain's huge Pakistani population?

Anonymous said...

Is it a coincidence that Ralph Nader has a new book that appears designed to enlist billionaires in the fight for "progressive" causes?



Billionaires are already funding the far left, and have been doing so for some time.

Fred said...

The cost-effective, though politically incorrect, solution in Afghanistan is simply to turn the country over to a coalition of non-Pashtun warlords, and back them with money and air support. Forget about promoting democracy, women's rights, etc. For probably a tenth the current cost in dollars, and little if any cost in American lives, a reconstituted Northern Alliance could drive the Taliban into the mountains. Bottled up there, they'd be no threat to anyone.

"European men, especially, are no longer as eager to be fodder, as they used to be."

This probably correlates closely with birth rates. When families have fewer than two children, on average, they are warier of losing them to war. Conversely, suicide bombers often come from large families.

Richard Hoste said...

A hundred million goes a lot further in a country where the average GDP per capita is $1,000.

Ronduck said...

Maybe a lot of those foreign countries have decided that they don't want to fight, basically gone soft, because of the size of the US military.

Anonymous said...

"Forget about promoting democracy, women's rights, etc."

Haven't you noticed how effective "women's rights" is at destroying nations. If there is one social policy necessary to bring a country to its knees it's "women's rights". Give women the vote and kiss your ass goodbye.

Anonymous said...

"Is it a coincidence that Ralph Nader has a new book that appears designed to enlist billionaires in the fight for "progressive" causes?"

Nader is positively babe-like given his audience and its ancestry has been at it for generations.

AllanF said...

5,000 square feet is 1/8th of an acre

1/8th of an acre? Hmm, how about slightly larger than the size of an NFL end zone? Or, my preference, a middle of the road McMansion.

BTW, the Pentagon is 33 acres in footprint. Gross floor area is 6.5 million square feet. I'd not be surprised if the Pentagon has auditoriums larger than 5000 square feet.

J said...

No, humanity has not gone soft, America has. For about 500 million dollars a year you can have a savage mercenary army happily pacifying Afganistan. South Africans (Boer+Zulu in wonderful harmony, British+Indian+Gurkha, North Koreans, Tungusians, Colombians, even Americans). TAlibans are heretics for other Muslims, you can tap them.

MQ said...

The human race has not gone soft, just the small proportion of the human race that lives in sophisticated, wealthy liberal democracies. The rest of the human race remains perfectly willing to rape, disembowel, and bathe in the blood of their enemies, not necessarily in that order,

Ummm, evil neocon? Try checking out the real world. The U.S. has been perfectly willing to kill its so-called enemies over the last couple of decades -- since 1960, our kill toll probably runs into the millions, far greater than any one of the primitive nations who terrify you. However, individual Americans are less willing to die to do it, since they quite correctly realize that this killing is not necessary to defend their families or their property.

Victoria said...

Haven't you noticed how effective "women's rights" is at destroying nations. If there is one social policy necessary to bring a country to its knees it's "women's rights".

Before the rightwing went totally crazy for GWBush, and made it clear that they would follow him and his policies to the ends of the earth, the point you raise was openly discussed. But then, when it seemed necessary to use the "women's" issue as a weapon against the enemy Muslims, it suddenly disappeared as a talking point.

In fact, in Limbaugh's early days, he used to make this point quite sharply about the damage done to a culture when women's role is drastically altered, as in our society. He joked about bringing such "liberation" to the enemy, in order to destroy them. This was pre-9/11. Then, when his Prez started talking about "bringing Democracy to the backward," which, of course, included liberating the enemy's women ("Oh, my God, they CAN'T drive!?") Limbaugh, too, shut his mouth -- along with Schlafly and Dobson.

The constrained role of Muslim women is now described by these rightwing worthies as something that is bad, something that should be "fixed," because it is so unlike our way of life.

Steve in Greensboro said...

"...Fewer and fewer people want to engage in combat..."

Despite the decay of Western society, there will always be a large subset of young men who will want to fight. The reasons probably include testosterone, the need to prove themselves and others.

Some young men will sublimate this via sports, but some will always want the real thing. Boys will be boys. Beating others up, blowing things up, etc. will always be fun.

Proofreader said...

5000 sq. ft. has got to be a misprint. 5000 sq. meters, maybe, but still far from impressive.

PRCalDude said...

Since 9/11, the Indian govt has offered to send in one hundred thousand troops to keep out the taliban

Fighting taliban in Kashmir is no different than fighting taliban in Afghanistan. The kashmir taliban has been defeated after a twenty year campaign, only a few hundred taliban are left in Kashmir

Already Indian troops under the guise of Road building have over ten thousand troops in the non-pashtun areaas, aiding the non-pushtuns against the taliban


This is distressing. The first rule of war is, "Let you and him fight." If our Indian friends were willing to handle the problem in a much more effective fashion, it's obvious Bush and his Neocon minions were just looking to stay in AfPak to look better in the history books. Now, having made the situation there worse with our financial aid to the Taliban through the Pakistani government and our idiotic "hearts and minds" campaign, we've left more territory in the hands of the hostile Pashtuns against the Indians.

Of course, we also facilitated the destruction of the million or so Christian community in Iraq during our 6 years there, all the while Bush repeating his imbecilic "Religion of Peace (TM)" mantra.

America: "No worse friend, no better enemy."

none of the above said...

Just think: If we spend another half trillion dollars on this godforsaken shithole of a country, and ten more years pacifying it, and maybe a couple thousand US soldiers' lives, we can own the place. What a bargain! It's like buying a two million dollar McMansion someplace nobody wants to live, but for countries. (Whether China understands the nature of the liar's loan they're extending us for the purchase is, however, unclear.)

Anonymous said...

a "fortified, 5,000-square-foot Hezbollah military base with a radio tower, secure satellite communications and a unit of more than a dozen guards."

5,000 square feet is 1/8th of an acre, but who's counting? Not many, that's for sure.


That's about the size of two suburban houses in America! Huge, I tell you, huge! And a dozen guards? Heck, plenty of those American suburban houses have 20+ Hispanic immigrants living in a lot less than 5,000 sq ft....