Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why Do We Keep Whining About Kabul Corruption?

Yes, Afghanistan is, next to Somalia, the most corrupt nation in the world.   So, what else is new?

Now that we're coming to grips with the reality that our military adventures in Afghanistan have been for naught, we seem to have taken up Afghan corruption as a diversion.

The Christian Science Monitor points out that aid money continues to fly out of Kabul airport about as fast as it flies in.   What?  Afghan leaders are pocketing all that aid money we send in to help their people?   Well that's certainly a surprise.   When did this start?   Oh, when we started sending aid to Afghanistan.   Really?

With Afghanistan's two principal cash crops being opium and slicing chunks off the top of international aid, there were no prizes for guessing where the tens of billions of dollars transferred from Afghanistan since the US-led war began in 2002 came from, or how the luxury villas of so many Afghan officials in the United Arab Emirates had been paid for.

So, the US embassy in Kabul created a "bulk cash flow action plan" and the Karzai government said it was on board. The results since? Well, around $4.5 billion flowed out of Afghanistan in 2011, according to the Congressional Research Service, the vast majority of it unmonitored and unregistered. That's about 22 percent of gross domestic product, an astonishing amount of capital flight

That's right.  More than a fifth of Afghanistan's total gross domestic product is stolen each year by the very people we rely upon to keep the place running and safe from terrorists when we bail out in 2014.

Even more laughably, we expect Kabul to maintain a military force of 300,000 personnel that they would be hard pressed to pay even if the rulers didn't make off with all that money.

And all we can do is whine, constantly whine.

But if you want a real head shaker, be sure to check out the CSM article on the Top 3 Lessons the US Military has Learned in AfghanistanHere they are, in order.   Brace yourselves.

1.   Watch the Money
2.   Make it Last: build an army Afghanistan can sustain, and
3.   Pay Attention to the Neighbours.

Seriously, this is what American military commanders have told  Congress they have learned from their Afghan frolic.   That sounds like an admission they didn't understand this stuff when they went in.  And this is supposedly the most advanced, sophisticated fighting force in the world.   No wonder they couldn't whip an outnumbered, outgunned pack of peasant farmboys with Korean War vintage assault rifles.

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