Magazine article The American Conservative

Fool's Gold

Magazine article The American Conservative

Fool's Gold

Article excerpt

Afghanistan only seems like a wasteland. Look past the centuries of war, the inability to build an economy beyond poppies and graft, the zeal to remain a medieval museum. It is, in fact, a portal to legendary riches. Just ask the Pentagon. Along with a few buried empires, Afghanistan apparently sits atop $1 trillion in untapped mineral reserves.

"Senior American government officials" told the New York Times that this secret stash could "fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself."

If the timing seems suspicious, that's only because the spring offensive in Marjah fizzled, the summer assault on Kandahar has been postponed, and Hamid Karzai would rather deal with the Taliban than with us. Anyone who thinks the longest war in U.S. history has come to naught just hasn't counted the copper. When the warlords learn that we aren't there to build schools but to go trick-or-treating for cobalt, they'll merrily sign rights over to the American war machine. …

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