creators.com opinion web
Conservative Opinion General Opinion
Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
15 Oct 2014
The Scariest Thing About Political Fearmongers Is Themselves

One thing you can say about Rick Perry is that he sticks to his guns. If one of his policy proposals turns … Read More.

8 Oct 2014
Marriott's Shameful Hotel Tipping Scam

As an old popular song from the 1970s asks, what do you get if you "work your fingers right down to the bone"?… Read More.

1 Oct 2014
GOP Nightmare Reveals Secret Corporate Donors

Some people have a myriad of recurring nightmares about being publicly embarrassed, such as rising to give a … Read More.

Going From One Bad War to a Worse One

Comment

In 2004, Stuart Bowen of Texas was asked by a friend to take on a difficult and important job, which he did.

Bowen's friend was George W. Bush, and the job was to investigate corruption and waste in Iraq, where his buddy George had launched a misguided and very costly war, as well as an effort to reconstruct that country's fractured economy. The watchdog soon learned that Air Force transport planes had been airlifting whole pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills from the U.S. to Baghdad — totaling some $14 billion!

The bales of cash were delivered to the care of L. Paul Bremer III, a laissez-faire ideologue who'd been installed by the Bush-Cheney regime to rebuild Iraq as a regulation-free corporate utopia. It was quickly obvious to Bowen that the utopia included no accounting of where the $14 billion went, though during the next decade he determined that "billions of dollars (were) taken out of Iraq illegally." But he couldn't get the Bushites to mount a full-fledge investigation and prosecution.

Finally, in 2010, he and his team got a break, learning that about $1.5 billion had been stolen and stashed in a bunker in rural Lebanon. However, the Obama administration wouldn't pursue this lead. Neither did the CIA, FBI or the Iraqi government.

Then, Bowen was stunned that the U.S. embassy in Lebanon was resisting his own attempts to visit the bunker, actually preventing him from entering that country. When two of his investigators did get into Lebanon, our embassy denied them permission to see the bunker, claiming it was too dangerous.

And here we go again — into yet another war in a wide and tumultuous swath of the world involved in centuries-old religio-ethno conflagrations that Euro-centric Americans don't comprehend and cannot resolve. For a clue about what we're stepping into in Iraq and Syria, with our high-tech fighter jets, drones and ultimately with our soldiers on the ground in this new war against ISIS, lets remember Afghanistan.

Beginning in the yesteryear of the Cheney-Bush regime, the promise was that our Afghan excursion would promptly dispatch the Taliban, train an effective Afghan military force and create a stable democratic government.

But it turned out to be both the longest war in American history and a dismal failure on all counts. After 13 years, more than 2,000 U.S. deaths, nearly 20,000 of our troops horribly maimed and over a trillion dollars spent — what have we won?

Far from defeated, the Taliban is again on the offensive, Afghanistan's elections are a farce, government corruption is rampant, the infrastructure we built is already crumbling, there is no national unity, and more than $100 billion of the money we sent for reconstruction and training was simply stolen by the elites and shipped in suitcases to their foreign bank accounts.

The good news is that our nation's Afghan debacle is scheduled to end this year. The bad news is that it won't — a contingent of U.S. troops will remain, we will keep paying $5 billion a year to sustain the Afghan army and police, and we're on the hook for billions more each year to fund that country's bankrupt government.

So hi-ho, hi-ho — off again we go to Syria, Iraq and beyond to conquer ISIS in what is already being called "a long war." Last year, Bowen's office was formally shut down, with none of the missing cash recovered or accounted for. Remember Bowen's 10 years of frustration as Washington starts shoving new billions of dollars into the morass of its newest ill-defined war. The tab just for the direct military cost of this latest ISIS, et al misadventure will be as much as $22 billion — a year. How much of our cash for this misadventure will be stolen or "missing"? And just think how much good that money would do if we invested it here in our own people?

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Jim Hightower
Oct. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 27 Oct 2014
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 25 Oct 2014
Ted Rall
Ted RallUpdated 24 Oct 2014

1 Feb 2012 Newt Gingrich: The Spawn of Citizens United

17 Jul 2013 The “Helping Hands” That Are Helping Themselves

30 Apr 2008 A Special Break for Corporate Criminals