Just how powerful is the U.S. military today?
Why is the largest military machine on the planet unable to defeat the resistance in Afghanistan, in a war that has lasted longer than World War II or Vietnam ?
Afghanistan ranks among the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world today. It has one of the shortest life expectancy rates, highest infant mortality rates and lowest rates of literacy.
The total U.S. military budget has more than doubled from the beginning of this war in 2001 to the $680 billion budget signed by President Barack Obama Oct. 28. The U.S. military budget today is larger than the military budgets of the rest of the world combined. The U.S. arsenal has the most advanced high-tech weapons.
The funds and troop commitment to Afghanistan have grown with every year of occupation. Last January another 20,000 troops were sent; now there is intense pressure on President Obama to add an additional 40,000 troops. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. More than three times as many forces are currently in Afghanistan when NATO forces and military contractors are counted.
Eight years ago, after an initial massive air bombardment and a quick, brutal invasion, every voice in the media was effusive with assurances that Afghanistan would be quickly transformed and modernized, and the women of Afghanistan liberated. There were assurances of schools, roads, potable water, health care, thriving industry and Western-style “democracy.” A new Marshall Plan was in store.
Was it only due to racist and callous disregard that none of this happened?