A few weeks ago I was in Saratoga, NY. I had landed in Albany and took a cab to the wonderful inn in which I staid. My cab driver was a young man from Afghanistan, of all places. We had an interesting conversation about the whole Afghanistan mess.
He echoed what I had heard in the news: that suitcases literally filled with millions of US dollars (in cash) are flown out of the Kabul airport every day. This, he says is common knowledge. It’s business as usual. No one asks any questions.
Juxtapose this against the lavish inequities of poverty and extreme wealth in the city. It’s insanity. Then, add to this mix the fact that 96% of the $9.1 billion dollars designated for reconstruction in Iraq is unaccounted for. That’s &8.7 billion with a “b” dollars that has vaporized into thin air. (Read this Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction pdf report.)
Now I realize we are talking about two different countries, but how much has been designated for Afghanistan? How much is accounted for?
This should be a scandal of the highest order! This should be bleeding from every headlines in this country. Why do we so rarely hear about this in our media?! I’m a fiscal conservative. The Republican party is wailing about the deficit. Wail about $8.7 billion in missing government funds!!!! Those are deficit bucks, baby!
But that’s not the only interesting part of our conversation. I expressed to the young cab driver that I didn’t know why we were really in their country. He asked me politely if I wanted to hear his ideas on the matter. Certainly!
1. The drug trade coming out of Afghanistan is powerful and lucrative. He was unsure of the US roll in the drug trade but thought it indeed was involved.
2. The country is sitting on a fortune in rare minerals the world wants, even needs. The oil is pretty meaningless. He thinks this is why Russia was there for a decade and now the US. Interesting that this has been common knowledge among the people of Afghanistan but only recently has surfaced in the western media.
Our government is out of control and a direct part of the problem!