Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Your Tax Dollars At Work!

Good to know that if nothing else we've gotten the capitalist work ethic across to the benighted Afghans.
"Kabul Bank's boss has been handing out far bigger prizes to his country's U.S.-backed ruling elite: multimillion-dollar loans for the purchase of luxury villas in Dubai by members of President Hamid Karzai's family, his government and his supporters."
Joshua Foust at Registan has more. If we don't get that this is what helped kill us in Vietnam, in Iran, in many places in Central and South America, we'll never figure out a way past this stuff. This is a setup for fail on an epic central Asian scale.


  1. There's an additional dimension you may not have thought of yet, Chief.

    1. Leaders take out huge loans from Afghan banks to buy estates in Dubai.

    2. Leaders must make huge monthly payments to banks for loans.

    3. Eventually leaders realize that if the banks fail the leaders don't owe money to anybody.

    4. At some point it becomes more valuable to the leaders to wreck the banks than to keep them (which were created with your tax dollars).

    5. Thus US taxpayers find themselves paying in full for Afghan leaders to own villas in Dubai. Undoubtedly our fine leadership will say something to the effect of "Who could have seen THAT one coming?"


  2. Chief,
    The best line in the articles were the linkage of-POLITICAL,SECURITY AND BUSINESS ELITES.
    As i've often written-these guys have bank accts and businesses spread around the world ,and will use these for E &E when the doodoo hits the fan.
    They won't need to fly out gold bullion like the VN leaders were reported to have done.

  3. Pluto: And, as is fairly typical in this sort of Third World kleptocracy, the local elites put the squeeze on the local poor in the form of "taxes" to make the payments on their rock-and-roll lifestyle. This, in turn, pisses off the local goatrapers, who decide that the Talibs, irritating religious nuts though they are, are less irritating than the rapacious bastards the foreign devils are foisting on them.

    Christ, this has been the story since we were shooting Hondurans for United Fruit. When the hell wil we "get it"?

  4. Jim: But the basic problem is the same with these people and the other scumbags we seem to find lying around to run our proxy wars for us. The Diems, the Thieus, the Duvaliers, the Somozas, the Marcoses...all these people had lifestyles ridiculously lush for the countries they "ran". They weren't committed to their countries, just their own wealth and power, and the minute they had to choose between doing good for one versus doing well...guess what happened?

    And the problem I've been hammering on all along is that this isn't a bug, it's a feature. The kind of people willing to do our bidding in these sorts of places are going to be this sort of person. And with this sort of person we're going to be chasing our own tail forever.

    What Afghanistan needs is a fuckin Ataturk. But you know what the second thing that Ataturk would do (after he got the foreigners to arm and train his army)? He'd kick us the hell out and lock the door.

    It's a self-eating donut. We need the Ataturk to root out the corruption, reform the army and police and defeat the internal enemies. But the Ataturk would be our own worst nightmare, taking the place where he wanted it to go, not where we wanted.


  5. Chief,
    The basic rub is that the scenaros that we have discussed have key similar points.
    -the ruling elite are foreign educated.
    -They look and talk like us.
    -They speak our lingo.
    -We don't speak theirs.
    -They are out for themselves and fuck everybody else to include the US taxpayer.


    The real driver for these wars is internal politics instead of foreign policy. We play these games to amuse or distract ourselves, the locals are just more toys to be broken or discarded as we please.

  7. Pluto,
    And a few of us get fubar along the way.
    Been there-done that. Not fun.

  8. Ah, but it is worse than you think.

    The USA pays a *lot* of money to ship fuel, bullets and food into Afghanistan. (i.e. all the stuff that is too heavy to ship by air).

    This transport money goes to many people (including the militants). The Khyber pass road is dangerous, but not so dangerous that the USA has abandoned it as their major supply route

    There is a lot of economic incentive to maximize the amount of money extracted (for all parties).

    I expect that quite a few people on the road between Kabul and Peshawar are now comfortably well off (and it is to their distinct advantage to keep their road dangerous, but not too dangerous)

  9. I had to add this in; it's from a comment over at "Armchair Generalist" on a post about "Charlie Wilson's War".

    "From a purely personal perspective, Charlie Wilson's war was beneficial to me. I made good money selling pack mules to the CIA as part of their efforts to aid the Mujahedeen battling the Soviets. They cared little about the animal’s disposition, so I managed to move some truly stubborn critters and make a fair profit, all in the name of national security."

    Sweet! So the muj got some truly mean mules, this guy got his taxpayer jack, and the caissons went rolling along.

    God love America.

  10. To all,
    What kind of WAR FIGHTERS do we have planning this fiasco when a Theater Army is supplied by MSR's that are not secure?

  11. Jim: The quip in 1SG School was that amateurs sit around thinking about tactics, professionals worry about logistics.

  12. Chief,
    I'm not sure that anybody is thinking about anything at all.The micro/macro surely overlap in this phony war.