Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ambushed by Taliban in Afghanistan & by unemployment in America

(Photos are of my granddaughter Mena checking out my financial situation, me all prepared to go off to Afghanistan at a moment's notice and some of my dirty dishes, just waiting for the Marines.)

David Pratt, an international correspondent for Scotland's Sunday Herald, just wrote an article entitled "Ambushed by the Taliban". His story and the video that went with it made me so jealous I was almost drooling with envy. I'm so totally bored with just staying at home, washing dishes and writing stories about Wall Street bailouts and Judge Judy. I wanna go off to Afghanistan and get ambushed by the Taliban too. How come Pratt gets to have all the fun.

"Suddenly all hell broke loose," wrote Pratt. "There was a colossal thump as a Taliban-fired rocket slammed into the ground a few yards away." I could be there, writing about that! But then Pratt wrote, "...ahead of us lay several kilometers of muddy fields and a myriad of obstacles such as walls, canals and irrigation ditches before we would reach the Taliban stronghold that was our objective." That counts me out. Who can walk several kilometers with little old lady knees? Not me.

And then the Royal Marine unit that Pratt was embedded with found a weapons cache. "Machine guns, rockets, artillery rounds, thousands of rounds of ammunition, claymore mines, bomb-making manuals and components, phone cards and mobile phone manuals, address books; the tally began to mount up as the commandos raided the targeted compounds." That got me to thinking. Where the freak do all these weapons come from? Who makes them? And who buys them for the Taliban?

"As the brief firefight subsided minutes later," continued Pratt, "one of the marines appeared with the blackened tail-fin of the rocket that had been fired at us. The weapon used had been a Soviet-era B10 recoilless rifle, a weapon that resembles an old-style bazooka." But surely all these weapons don't all come from the old Soviet Union days. And I bet that they don't come from Iran either because Iran hates the Taliban.

According to USA Today, "Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards fought alongside and advised the Afghan rebels who helped U.S. forces topple Afghanistan's Taliban regime in the months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, stated [Mohsen Rezaie,] the guards' former leader."

Maybe some of these weapons come from Pakistan and, if so, there's a pretty good chance that they are American-made.

Now my curiosity is really peaked. Who DOES make all these weapons -- and how the freak do they all end up in Afghanistan, the second-poorest country in the world and one of the most isolated nations on the planet? I may not be able to slog for two kilometers through muddy Afghanistan farmland, but I can Google with the best of them -- so I checked this stuff out. And according to Google, the five top weapons exporters in the world right now are the United States, Russia, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Britain. What? Not India, China, Saudi Arabia or Egypt or even Israel or Iran? I'm surprised.

The countries that financially benefit the most from war are basically the U.S. and the E.U.

These statistics explain a lot. Not only do they warn us not to mess with The Netherlands, but they also explain why America is always declaring war on people and why the European Union is always backing America up. Just follow the money. Just follow the jobs.

Too bad that a few million people have to get killed in the process.

Still and all, even despite all the Taliban ambushes in Afghanistan, the war-machine industry still doesn't seem to be doing too well. My friend Steve just sent me an article that said, "The official [U.S.] unemployment rate may be dramatically inaccurate.... If the government was still calculating the unemployment rate using the same criteria and methods that had last been used during the Clinton administration, the 'official' unemployment rate today would be closer to 18%."

Does this mean that, in order to keep unemployment down in the US, we should all be out there declaring more wars? I think not.

PS: Please watch this video (, shot by David Pratt's cameraman, Colin Mearns. It's fascinating. If there's one thing you can say about American and British soldiers in Afghanistan, it's that they really know what they are doing. I'd employ any of these guys in a minute! But is there any way we can re-train them to do dishes?

PPS: My friend Joyce also sent me a video ( of a speech by Paul Hawken which gives us all hope that peace may soon also be profitable. Did you know that there are currently over 80,000 grassroots organizations working for peace and economic sustainability in the world right now? Yaaayy!