General Question

Ron_C's avatar

"Afghans see change in U.S. command as a threat to safety" is the headline in the LA Times. Considering that why should we stay in Afghanistan?

Asked by Ron_C (14438points) July 4th, 2010

The majority of Afghans don’t want us there. They have no history of a central government and apparently no desire to create one. These are tribal people and the only authority they recognize is their tribal elders. The current “Central Government” is corrupt and the president’s brother is a top drug dealer. I think we should leave the country but offer a full education the Afghan women. Since their entire culture is based on subjugating women and keeping the ignorant, the most efficient way to bring the to the 21st century is to educate girls and women in Europe and the U.S.

It is much cheaper and more humane than war and will culturally shock the country into the 21st century.

We won the war punished their leaders, our job is done. We don’t belong there anymore.

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47 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

The trillion dollars worth of lithium you just found there. Obviously.

ragingloli's avatar

Afghanistan’s mineral richness was known to both americans and soviets since before the 80s.
Think about why you went there in the first place.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The USA is still bewildered about why they are still fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will continue to muddle along until they figure out their mission or until they declare ”victory” and triumphantly return home to waving flags and cheering crowds.

Ron_C's avatar

Unless all of their mineral wealth goes to pay for our war effort, there is no reason to be there.

ragingloli's avatar
In 2004 American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learnt that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989.
Now consider that the CIA probably knew about that way before the US invasion and it only corrobates the suspicion that both wars are resource wars.

Ron_C's avatar

@ragingloli I wouldn’t put it past the Bush regieme to try to make a profit out of murder. That is just another reason to get the hell out of there. I absolutely reject the idea of using our military to protect mining interests.

jaytkay's avatar

Now consider that the CIA probably knew about that way before the US invasion and it only corrobates the suspicion that both wars are resource wars.

Kicking out the Taliban and removing Al Qaeda’s safe operating base were pretty good goals, too.

ragingloli's avatar

You would not be able to safely get your hands on the ressources without rooting them out, certainly.
They just waited for an opportunity that justified an invasion and 9/11 gave them this excuse. Would not have had enough support to invade without a good excuse.

jaytkay's avatar

@ragingloli OK, but I still enjoy a good fundamentalist-kicking when I can get one.

MaryW's avatar

I think your comment to educate the women is great.:-) About the News Headline >>>I would not believe a headline without doing much investigating on my own reading many sources. I do think we need more information on the war.

john65pennington's avatar

Either get aggresuve with the Afghan war or bring the troops home. America is just spinning its wheels in that country at a cost that is bound to bankrupct the United States. i said years ago that this is a war that will never be won. the majority of the people do not want us there, so why are we?

ETpro's avatar

We went there because a terrorist organization being given safe haven there by the ruling Taliban came over here and killed nearly 3,000 Americans and visiting foreign nationals. The same al Qaeda that did that is still sitting in Pakistan thanks to the monumental stupidity of George W. Bush. He invaded Afghanistan with 20,000 troops instead of 200,000. He didn’t even commit the 20,000 to the fight, leaving most of the effort to mercenary warlords of the Northern Alliance. When we had bin Laden and Mullah Omar and the leadership to al Qaeda and the Taliban pinned down at Tora Bora, Bush refused to authorize even a few thousand special forces to get them. Instead, he deliberately let them slip away into Pakistan so he could go on to gin up his one great desire, the Invasion of Iraq.

Now, 9 years later, we are left in a terrible mess. We shouldn’t stay, and we shouldn’t leave. If we stay, we just continue to antagonize more and more of the people. We are seen, quite rightly, as a foreign invader who has no business telling them how to run their own lives.

If we leave, the Taliban will soon dispatch the weak, dysfunctional Karzai government. With the Taliban back in control, al Qaeda will simply filter back across the border exactly as the left, and set up shop again. Not only would they be fully back in business plotting new attacks on the USA, Europe, Israel and our other allies. They would chip away at the legitimate but weak government of Pakistan for having supported us.

And Pakistan has ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. The worst case scenario, and a scenario that could definitely play out, has al Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalists within Pakistan overthrowing that government and getting their hands on functional nuclear weapons. If bin Laden gets nuclear capacity, who is naive enough to believe he wouldn’t use it?

josie's avatar

I’ve answered this before. Happy to do it again. The emerging industrial nations and corresponding growing middle classes in China and India, want the oil in the middle east. Afghanistan is their route to the oil. Currently the oil is controlled by corrupt monarchies, dictatorships, theocracies and every other sort of irrational, unpredictable, weird ”-ocracies” that you can imagine. That being the case, somebody eventually is going to walk in and take the oil. It is either us, or (most likely) the Peoples Army. If it is them, we will still be able to buy the oil, but at a price that will allow their economies to grow at a rate that they are impatient for. You won’t like the price, I promise you. That is why we wound up there. Any other reason is just a talking point.

ETpro's avatar

@josie So did 9/11 just never happen, or was it a conspiracy orchestrated by… Whom?

josie's avatar

@ETpro 9/11 was, at least to the president at the time, the final bit of evidence that a diplomatic approach to the middle east was not possible. 9/11 indicated that the area had become impossibly “insane” and that the future of normal oil commerce in the middle east was in doubt. Lets face it. When people start committing suicide and murdering others in the process, believing that they will be rewarded in heaven, there is really not a lot of reason to think that reasonable trade and negotiations are possible. As I said, the rest of the emerging world saw 9/11 and began to salivate. “What if” they thought, “the US simply talks and does nothing? We will have the opportunity to squish these barbarians and own their oil.” Thus, we were drawn by fate and history into war in the middle east. If you don’t believe this, consider going there. You will see it immediately.

ETpro's avatar

@josie I have been there. I am glad to hear you confirm that 9/11 was the event that triggered our invasion of Afghanistan. My concern was that your original answer mentioned only an interest in oil. Clearly our involvement in the Middle East for decades now chasing oil was what justified, in bin Laden’s mind, attacking us, so I guess we agree.

josie's avatar

@ETpro 9/11 was the THIRD event that revealed our “oil problem” in the ME. The first was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is 1979. Since Peter the Great, the Russians have aspired to gain a warm water port. The invasion was a legitimate first step to achieving the goal. Had they been successful, they could have choked off shipping out of the Gulf. The second event was Iraq invasion of Kuwait. Sadam Hussein was a Ba athist, nothing more than a remnant of the Nazi influence in the ME. If a Hitler-esque tyrant can get to the Gulf, looks bad for the west. Third event was 9/11. The Bush administration decided that enough was enough. You can argue all you want, but at some point, enough really is enough, whether it was 9/11 or something subsequent.

ragingloli's avatar

There are causes for war and then there are triggers for war.
The assassination of Prince Ferdinand was the trigger for World War 1, but it was not the cause.
In the same way, 9/11 was not the cause of the Afghan Invasion, it was the trigger, the final drop in the bucket, so to speak.
If 9/11 had been the cause, Bush would not have let Bin Laden get away. But he did. He did, because the real causes of the Invasion was not apprehending Osama to “end terrorism”. The real causes are the US’ resource dependence on the Middle East, and entities like Al Qaida, Saddam Hussein, or a Soviet Satellite state are threats to american resource security and ‘prematurely’ apprehending Osama would have terminated his primary goal of invading Iraq. That is probably also why he only sent 20000 people there, to draw it out as much as possible to prepare for Iraq’s invasion. (And then they ‘discovered’ Afghanistan’s resource richness. How ‘lucky’ is that?)
But as the imperator of a ‘free’ country you can not openly admit that the wars you are waging are for resources and economic reasons, because it makes you and your regime look, well, ‘evil’ and you can forget reelection. (the German Federal President recently said something like this in a speech, he stepped down shortly after)
So of course they claimed that the cause of the war was terrorism, because that is better for public opinion and support. And that is also why they made up the ‘WMD’ excuse for the Iraq invasion. (And guess who is next on the ‘invasion list’)

ETpro's avatar

@josie & @ragingloli No argument with either of you on those last thoughts.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro @josie @john65pennington did any of you consider that there might be a third alternative to capitulation or all out occupation? How about letting Iran take care of the problem? Say what you will; Iran has a stable. pragmatic government and it wants the Arabs under control.

The people and government of Iran are Persian, not Semitic. They consider themselves European and the natural leaders of the region. Their quest for nuclear power was originally so that they could sell their diminishing supply of oil and work to lead OPEC.

The want nukes to protect themselves from Israel. If I was Iranian, I would certainly want them because Israel is becoming a fundamentalist Jewish state. There is not much difference between fundamentalists of any stripe. They consider themselves god’s representatives on earth. Iran, however has become less and less under the influence of the clergy. Of course the sanctions may drive them back towards a real theocracy.

I think that we could more easily deal with an OPEC run buy Iran than the thoroughly corrupt Saudi family. Iran could balance Israel, put them back to the ‘67 boundaries, and ease the Palestinian situation. Iran wants to dominate the region and join with Europe in the 21st century. I say we encourage that and forget the hostage crisis which was caused by our barbaric interference in their country’s politics.

If you want a stable middle east, you need stable leadership. None of that leadership is available in the Arab world.

josie's avatar

If you want a stable middle east, you need stable leadership. None of that leadership is available in the Arab world.
Nor currently in the Persian world.
My point exactly

mattbrowne's avatar

Why? To avoid Karzai getting replaced with Mullah Omar inviting Al-Qaeda to restablish terror camps.

Ron_C's avatar

@josie I think that with a little diplomacy we can work with Iran. Most of the leadership and virtually none of the people are against Americans, they are against the Bush form of Amreican government. Well, in my opinion, we are in agreement.

voxpop's avatar

*1. The US’s CIA intervention in Afghanistan under President Carter PRECEDED the 1979 Soviet invasion, purposely destabilizing their government by the massive funding, training and organization of the domestic and foreign mujahadeen, who later transformed into the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

*2. This decision by the U.S. Carter Administration in 1979 to destabilize Afghanistan is the root cause of Afghanistan’s destruction as a nation; the successor Ronald Reagan continued and expanded the covert role of the U.S. there.

*3. Brzezinksi wrote, “We now had the opportunity of giving the USSR its Vietnam.”

At the end of the war, 1 million Afghans were dead, another 3 million wounded, mostly killed as a result of the Russian invasion.

1998 interview with U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, advisor for President Carter, with Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15–21 January 1998:

LNO Reporter: “The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?”

Zbigniew Brzezinski: “Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979.

But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”

LNO Reporter: “Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?”

Zbigniew Brzezinski: “It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.”

LNO Reporter: “When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?”

Zbigniew Brzezinski: “Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”

LNO Reporter: “And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?”

Zbigniew Brzezinski: “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”

LNO Reporter: “Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski: “Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.”

Translated from the French by Bill Blum.

Posted at “” , October 2001.

ETpro's avatar

@voxpop You have the right cause, but attached it to the wrong president. I can only guess that was for partisan spin. The CIA destabilization of Afghanistan dated to 1985 and was ordered by Reagan. See National Security Council Directive 166

@Ron_C You may well be right. Immediately after 9/11 Iran contacted the Bush administration through intermediaries offering to help eliminate the al Qaeda operations. Naturally, Bush was completely uninterested.

voxpop's avatar

Sorry ETpro, you have some reading to do:

1. I have been studying U.S. foreign policy for over 3 decades, and I am no conspiracy theorist: we must stick to documented facts, support statements and allegations, and supply attribution, preferably from the primary participants, as was done in my post, supra.

I only contribute to add a scholarly dimension to discourses that need more historical and factual foundation, as I judged this one did, when I ran across it.

2. I carefully crafted my response, as I know that many people are unaware that President Carter, NOT Reagan, started a huge U.S. military buildup during the latter part of his administration, including support for the mujahadeen.

Like you, I was among those who thought Reagan was responsible for this operation,
until I learned more about the background of the war, and the history behind it.

3.Read my post carefully. Reagan upon coming into office, immediately beefed up the U.S. secret operation begun under President Carter, as later publicly acknowledged by CIA director Robert Gates.

“Charlie Wison’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History,” by George Criles, 2003, is a good, accessible book on the subject, but was transmogrified into a historically inaccurate and misleading comedy when made into a film.

“Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001,” by Steve Coll, 2003, managing editor of the Washington Post, is also a good source on the current conflict in Afghanistan.

“The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East,” by Robert Fisk, 2005, is a detailed, highly acclaimed history of that region, including the contestation for Afghanistan.

Peace, and Read Good Books
(and periodicals like The Nation/

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro @voxpop you both have extremely valid points. Neither Carter nor Reagen understood what they were doing. It is the old “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” cold war mantra. What both countries did was involve themselves with tribal politics in an inherently primitive state. The terrible part is Bush’s advisor didn’t see that this was was already fought and lost. Bush’s arrogance is only matched by the stupidity of his advisors. And Reagen, well even the Republicans don’t consider him one of our smartest presidents.

voxpop's avatar


Sorry, ETpro, you also made some very good and accurate points…

1. By no means was it my intention to let the Reagan Administration off the hook as far as culpability for pernicious and deadly foreign (and domestic) policy decisions and actions:

*Afghanistan and the neighboring regions

* South Africa and its neighboring “front line states” of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, as well as Angola & Namibia.

* The “charnel house” of El Salvdor, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (Central America in general)

These are especially murderous examples of foreign policy decision-making and actions during the Reagan era.

2. The military buildup near the end of the Carter period was continued and built up to colossal proportions under Reagan, and continues to this day, with some qualified respite during the Clinton years.

3. The George W. Bush Administration’s foreign policy “adventures,” were perhaps not so stupid. What were the primary intentions of these policies and actions?

If it was to project U.S. and allied power into the Middle East, and have U.S. multi-national corporations (e.g., Halliburton, BlackWater, etc.) with their concomitant elites benefit financially and strategically, one may argue that there were, and are, many assets that were obtained.

4. On the other hand, we have the U.S. as a whole nearly bankrupted and in a deep recession, or worse, and the sluggish world economy teetering as well.

However, cui bono?

5. I would like to add some dimension to our discussion and facts about Afghanistan and the Middle East.

*1. The role of the U.S. through the CIA of funding and training Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan , as well as the CIA’s role in Iraq through the original training and funding of Saddam Hussein, is often omitted from many discussions about Afghanistan.

This is the “Frankenstein’s monster” syndrome of the CIA in the Third World, or a phenomenon called “blow back” as detailed by the political analyst Chalmers Johnson,
et. al.

*2 As far as “capturing resources,” and power projection(s), the George W. Bush administration’s “shifting rationale” for invading Iraq, including Al Qaeda, “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” and materials to make nuclear weapons- none of which were in Iraq, as all credible analysts agree upon now- are important considerations in any analysis.

*3. “Pan-Arab Unity” is a more important factor in understanding the formation of the Ba’ath Party in Iraq, than the smaller German influence on native middle eastern thinkers.

There is a tenous link between the German Nazis and Saddam Hussein. This is a U.S. conservative conspiracy theory popular among neo-Republicans like Glenn Beck (along with many similar half- and partial truths).

*4. Afghanistan’s current confict has roots in the struggle during the 1800s between the two colonial powers, Czarist Russia and the colonialist Britain Empire. The British were seeking to consolidate their holdings in the areas around South Asia (India), and the pre-Soviet Russians were looking to expand into adjacent lands; this was known as “The Great Game.”

The British prevailed and held Afghanistan under a “protectorate” until 1919, after which popular rebellions inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917 began to affect other parts of the world, including Afghanistan, whose autocratic monarchy declared war on the British.
1973 the monarchy was formally overthrown, and replaced by a titular republic, which was still non-democratic.

A pro-Russian political party, the PDPA, seized power in a military coup. Varying factions of the Mujahadeen controlled different parts of Afghanistan, and the U.S. covertly began funding, training, organizing, and supplying several factions of the fundamentalist Mujahadeen, mostly through the CIA, immediately before the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan- per Zbigniew Brzezinski’s (U.S. National Security Advisor under President Carter) calculus.

*5. Brzezinski, and others in the U.S. foreign policy establishment (and elswhere), sought the ruin of the Soviet Union by these maneuvers. This seemed to be efficacious- but at what cost? Brzezinski seems to remain unapologetic (cp. his interview, and confession about motives and previously unknown chronology of events.


ETpro's avatar

@voxpop I researched some more and stumbled on an interview Zbigniew Brzezinski gave Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998. Looks like you have pulled another layer of wool from my eyes. I have some more reading to do. Of the three books, which one would you place suggest if I can only find time for one?

I knew we trained and equipped the Mujaheddin and helped Saddam Hussein come to power. Eisenhower and the British also helped in the overthrow of the popular elected Prime Minister of Iran, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, handing all power to the brutal autocratic Shah and turning the hearts of the Iranian people heavily against the US and the West.

I wish more Americans knew the ugly history of the past 60 years. They would understand far more of what goes on in the world.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro “I wish more Americans knew the ugly history of the past 60 years. They would understand far more of what goes on in the world.” I remind people of this when they start saying that we should bomb Iran.

There are much worse things than a few bombs. Yet it wasn’t Iranians that bombed the Trade Center. Mostly “our friends” from Saudi Arabia, you know the guys Bush held hands with and kisses often.

Too bad there isn’t a hell, there are a lot of people that deserve a trip there.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

The reason we are in Afghanistan is to secure the right of way for oil and gas pipelines from the countries north, east and west, through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the south on to the Indian Ocean ports. US corporations have heavily invested in these oil fields at points of origin & related piplines and piping this wealth through a southern route via Afghanistan would mean great savings. Not to mention the “recently discovered” vast mineral wealth reported by the media of late. We certainly are not there to democratize the Taliban, help the people, or destroy the opium trade that has blossomed since we arrived. We are not leaving until our companies contol it all. And we’re not leaving Iraq either. Not after building the largest embassy in the world at Bagdad, a fortress, which is the symbol of the intensity and size of our future presence in that country.

Ron_C's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus I agree with your entire statement except the lithium found in Afghanistan was discovered years ago. It is important now because it is another excuse to stay in that country.

Frankly, wouldn’t mind staying in protected zones along pipelines and surrounding mines if we just owned up that as the reason we are staying. Afghanistan does not have and has never had a united country and frankly, as long as they aren’t training bombers for jobs in the U.S., I don’t care how many of each their own they kill. I am tired of the hypocrisy of “nation building” and bringing democracy to the country. They don’t want it and we cannot afford it. The only reason I can see to stay in the country is if American companies make a profit by staying. I do not want our soldiers protecting International corporations. That makes them nothing but underpaid mercenaries.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Ron_C Right. This country is divided among tribal chieftans and the only thing that seems to unite them is foreign invasion—afterwhich they immediately go back to warring among themselves. The problem is this: Even if foreign corporations were willing to deal straight with the Afghan governent, who is in charge? Who makes the deals? The present government on a good day has control of the few blocks surrounding downtown Kabul, and they need help with that from us and Blackwater. The rest of the country makes Mad Max seem like a day at the beach with mom and dad.

Historically, they’ve been able to defeat technologically superior invaders by fatiguing them in interminable guerilla warfare. There are whole shelves of literature describing the frustration and defeat experienced by the British Empire in the 19th century. As stated in the posts above, with US assistance, it became the USSR’s Viet Nam in the late 20th century.

This country has never known a stable central government and any government we setup will be violently resisted in the provinces—like now. So, (1) how are we to protect these pipelines and mines without a stable, effective national government and (2) what is there to prevent another superpower from supporting the provincial warlords in their fight against us in a reprise of what we did to the Soviets in the 80s? Christ, we can’t even trust the Pakistanis not to support the rebel Afghans.

We need to GTFO now and let the mineral and gas suits figure out something else—I’m sure Blackwater/Xe Services LLC would kill to get the Afghan contract—but in the future the suits should pay for it themselves and leave the US government and it’s taxpayers out of it. Wow. FucknA, what a unique idea.

But that’ll never happen.

ETpro's avatar

Actually, Afghanistan did have a relatively stable government from 1747 till the communist rebellion in 1978. It was ruled by the Pashtun leaders of the Abdali tribe after they rebelled against and ejected Iranian rule. The Pashtun are the people making up the Taliban of today.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Thank you, I stand corrected. I somehow got the idea that what we know today as Afghanistan were arbitrary lines drawn on a map in the 19th century by a frustrated British Raj with no relationship to a cohesive nation of people, only independent tribes that traverse the borders into the surrounding countries with great fluidity. I have some reading to do.

I would also like to replace the words Afghan/Afghans with Afghani/Afghanis as we are not discussing crochet.

ETpro's avatar

I think that Pashtun rule often took in the Southern portion of the current country, and not the part we think of as controlled by the Northern Alliance, who are not ethnically Pashtun.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Yes, that is the way I understand it.

Ron_C's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus and @ETpro I don’t care who protects the pipeline, which tribe runs what passes as a country, or whether it is communist, democratic, or tribal. That is not our business and an especially bad reason for our soldiers to die. If Blackwater or whatever they are calling themselves want to protect the pipeline, let the pipelines owners and the tribal leaders pay them. If the “country” does not want the wealth generated by the pipeline and mining, that’s not our problem either. If opium exporting becomes a problem for us, fire bomb the fields. It is cheap and easy to do. If the natives revolt, that is not our problem either.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C I reckon the final nail in the coffin lid of American liberty is when we decide it’s fine for private armies to project the power of American and global corporations anywhere in the world there are profits to be made. We are already outsourcing prisons to private enterprise in the US. That Arizona prison break where the three murders escaped happened at a private, for-profit prison.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro I agree. You will probably notice that when prisons are made private, there is never much fanfare. To me, private prisons are the ultimate insult to democracy. There is also no place for a mercenary force based in the U.S. Federal dollars should never, never be spent on mercenaries. If our own forces cannot protect diplomats, then the diplomats do not belong in that country.

When prisons are growth industries, then the legal system becomes the fuel for profit. Hence the ridiculous prison terms for people that are more a danger to themselves than society.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Just to clarify—I’m not really advocating the use of mercenaries in the statement above. I was being sarcastic out of frustration and neglected to use the ~~. The FucknA part was the clue.

My preference would be that these corporations would just do straight business and stop using our military as their mafia-style enforcement arm and our treasury as their personal war chest when they pull off their heists. Even if one ignores the obvious moral questions involved, doing straight business is much, much cheaper for the US in the long run. But since corporations don’t foot the bill for these invasions and their future consequences, there is no incentive for them to change their “business” methods. I hold our Washington lobbying system and its river of money responsible for the the support these corporate adventures get among our elected “representatives.”

The situation, as it has been since about 1898, is yet another example how the corporation has become more powerful than our government. What is most disconcerting is that the American the people can’t see this—or they do, but they just don’t care. The latter case is very depressing to contemplate.

My frustration lies in the fact that, as in our present economic situation, I don’t feel that I helped sail this boat into these waters and I strongly resent going down with the ship.

We were warned us about this:
“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
—Thomas Jefferson, 1804

Ron_C's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus you gave me a good idea. I would write into law that no war can be declared unless the lobbyists and congressional supporters go first to the front lines.

The problem is that old men declare war, young men fight it, often times they have no reason why.

Further, do you know that there is a movement to impeach the 5 supreme court justices that gave person hood to corporations regardless of their country of origin.

There is no reason to stop Haiti, or the ( Republican hated ) French from buying the next election in the United States. Corporations are people according to the court. In that respect, Afghanistan insurgents are a real threat to our government, they could just have their Saudi or Iranian backers buy it.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Glad to hear that about the movement to impeach these house slaves. It shows that someone else besides a few pedants on the net noticed how destructive this decision will be. I doubt there will be any success, but it might keep it in the press and under wider discussion. It is important, however, to know how long this has been going on with the Supreme Court and how insidious the process. The most recent decision is but the latest of a long series that has been noticed mainly by certain legal scholars and ignored by those with the most to lose.

I’ve been able to trace Supreme Court rulings which attribute citizen rights to corporations as far back as 1886.

The reconstructionist Stalwart Senator Roscoe Conkling (R-NY), a framer of the Electoral Commission and the 14th & 15th Amendments, was a great friend of corporations. After resigning from the Senate in 1881, he became a lawyer. As one of the original drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment, he claimed in a case which reached the Supreme Court, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific R. Co., 118 U.S. 394 (1886), that the phrase “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” meant the drafters wanted corporations to be included, because they used the word “person” and cited his personal diary from the period. Howard Jay Graham, a Stanford University historian considered the pre-eminent scholar on the Fourteenth Amendment, named this case the “conspiracy theory” and concluded that Conkling perjured himself for the benefit of his railroad friends as later disclosed by Conkling’s private secretary and others. It’s an interesting case that pits the right of the citizen (the people of Santa Clara County) against that of a corporate entity (the railroad). I’m no expert, but I believe this to be the seminal case. If you know of earlier caselaw, please let me know. Judgement in this case was for the corporation based on the testimony of a perjured expert witness—namely, former New York Republican Senator Roscoe Conkling.

Taking back our democracy is a huge task. The past anti-democratic decisions of our Supreme Court is just one of many areas that need attention—areas that I have enumerate at various times on this site. The theft of our democracy is widespread and systemic in many departments.

It starts with educating 300 million people in a severely and artificially divided country obsessed with communism in the White House, an invasion of fruitpicking criminal hordes from Mexico and a terrorist fifth column masquerading as moderate middle class American Muslims bent on building a house of worship in downtown NYC while in reality plotting to carry off our virgins and force us all to eat marinated sheep eyeballs on Thanksgiving. Oh well. I’m glad I have my diversions to keep me sane.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C & @Espiritus_Corvus To put the current state of US Gerontocracy in perspective, take a look at the chart of spending on lobbying in Washington. In 2009, year it hit a staggering $3.49 billion, or $1.3 million for each hour that Congress was in session. Apparently the Fascist Corporatist wing of the US Supreme Court feels that’s not nearly enough money for corporations to be able to take their rightful place as Dictators in America.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@ETpro Thanks. This is usefull info. The legalized bribery on the hill is one of the things that has to be eliminated completely, IMO, and that leads directly to campaign reform. I would like to know how other democracies handle these guys. I was reading the other day how they would have all been jailed during Jefferson’s time, so we did get along without lobbyists at one time.

I mean, really, if countries the size of Belgium and Denmark can protect their own government, industries and agriculture from being over run by huge multinational corps and other pressures (even before they joined the EU) and continue to serve their constituencies, we should be able to as well. I especially like the way they deal with big Pharma.

Ron_C's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus & @Espiritus_Corvus isn’t it amazing that the Republicans complained that the health care bill would add half a trillion dollars to the deficit and the health care industry spent (freely) about the same amount lobbying congress? I guess they didn’t want to take a half trillion dollar pay cut. Why waste that money on sick people.

Add the trillion dollar a year cost for Afghanistan and Iraq and the deficit is cut in half.

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