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Asculumistan

Posted by Derrick Crowe on October 7th, 2009

Note: Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New Foundation / The Seminal. Learn how the war in Afghanistan undermines U.S. security: watch Rethink Afghanistan (Part Six), & visit http://rethinkafghanistan.com/blog.

President Obama wants you to know he can be tough like Sarah Palin:

President Barack Obama on Tuesday ruled out shrinking the Afghanistan war to a counterterrorism campaign. Yet he did not signal whether he is prepared to send any more troops to the war zone — either the 40,000 his top commander wants or a smaller buildup, according to several officials.

Obama said the war would not be reduced to a narrowly defined counterterrorism effort…[S]uch a scenario has been inaccurately characterized and linked to Vice President Joe Biden, and…Obama wanted to make clear he is considering no such plan.

So, contrary to all the propaganda, the White House Afghanistan Huddle is only considering a very narrow set of options, all apparently within the counterinsurgency domain. What’s been hyped as wide-ranging debate challenging fundamental assumptions turns out to be a chat in the minivan about whether or not to SuperSize the value meal. Go, team.

Oh, and we’re putting it on the credit card. You know, the same credit card that brought you our current economic apocalypse.

Here’s the balance sheet:

According to the National Priorities Project,

Taxpayers in the United States will pay $228 billion for total Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

  • 67,197,963 People with Health Care for One Year OR
  • 236,038,753 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
  • 4,924,406 Public Safety Officers for One year OR
  • 3,909,968 Music and Arts Teachers for One Year OR
  • 35,250,464 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
  • 42,616,822 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5350 OR
  • 1,773,590 Affordable Housing Units OR
  • 100,491,438 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
  • 31,288,596 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
  • 3,745,380 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
  • 3,294,203 Port Container Inspectors for One year

And here’s the butcher’s bill:

Here’s a graphic that provides a succinct synopsis of the above:
Engraving of the Roman armies defeating elephant troops of Pyrrhus during the Battle of Asculum in 280 BC which was a costly victory for Pyrrhus, giving rise to the phrase a Pyrrhic victory.
Engraving of the Roman armies defeating elephant troops of Pyrrhus during the Battle of Asculum in 280 BC which was a costly victory for Pyrrhus, giving rise to the phrase “a Pyrrhic victory.”

If this is the path to victory, it won’t take many more such victories to ruin us.

Eight years is enough. Sign the act.ly petition to end the war in Afghanistan.

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to “Asculumistan”

  1. [...] Asculumistan. By Derrick Crowe 2009 October 8 by kanan48 Via: Rethink Afghanistan. [...]

  2. hotaruSTAR16 says:

    Thank you for the statistics. Have you thought about writing for Asia Chronicle? The site provides in-depth news analyses and commentaries on political issues facing Asia. The war in Afghanistan is widely covered topic. Worth a read I think. http://www.asiachroniclenews.com

  3. derwin says:

    FYI a google map showing where international troiops are stationed and details of their mission.
    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=...

  4. David Small says:

    Why can't we learn from history? Afghanistan is not a place that can be reformed into something that resembles our Western type of organized governments. It has been a failed objective so many times even within our own recent years that by now we should have learned that we cannot change it–nor should we. Any effort we want to extend there should be directed toward helping the Afghan people rise up from their impoverished status. Continuing a military approach will only end where all previous such attempts have ended–in disaster!!

  5. David Small says:

    Why can't we learn from history? Afghanistan is not a place that can be reformed into something that resembles our Western type of organized governments. It has been a failed objective so many times even within our own recent years that by now we should have learned that we cannot change it–nor should we. Any effort we want to extend there should be directed toward helping the Afghan people rise up from their impoverished status. Continuing a military approach will only end where all previous such attempts have ended–in disaster!!

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