Before the story broke about the mineral deposits "found" in Afghanistan, many Americans were losing interest in the war in Afghanistan, also known
as OEF. Could the New York Times have had a sincere and honest reason to report on the story or was this a carefully orchestrated instrument to make
Americans feel as if there is something to fight for in the region.
Lets face it, the Al Qaeda threat in the country has been reduced to little more than a few fighters, if that and Americans were increasingly losing
confidence and interest in the war. After all, the Taliban wasn't our real enemy as it wasn't the Taliban that allegedly attacked us on 9/11. Many
Americans and westerners whose countries are involved in the war effort did not have a positive outlook for the country and it seemed as if not much
progress could be made, as far as bringing hope to the country... That is until this "find". This "find" actually gives us some hope that
Afghanistan just may be able to prosper, as there is something to look forward to. An actual economic goal to bring the citizens of this country into
the 21st Century. This actually crossed my mind a day or two after I heard the actual news of the minerals so I decided to research a little. My
research brought me to this article, where apparently, I'm not the only one with these same thoughts. The article titled
"Analysis: Did the 'gray lady'
, is basically postulating the same thoughts.
KABUL, Afghanistan — The New York Times' lead story Monday about “nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan” was the
kind of journalism that seemed at first glance to be a game changer.
Suddenly, there was something worth fighting for in Afghanistan beyond an ill-defined counterinsurgency campaign: the lithium batteries that power our
cell phones. The story even quoted an internal Pentagon memo that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.” And the article went
further, trumpeting United States officials' belief that Afghanistan could eventually be “transformed into one of the most important mining centers
in the world.”
It seems the Times’ reporter, James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, did what a lot of great reporters do: He picked up on a story that had been
floating around for weeks, months, years, or maybe even back to the Soviet era, depending on which geological surveys you choose to reference, and he
made it relevant in the current context.
A question that many media watchers, military analysts and pundits are now wondering is whether The New York Times gave that story shape or whether it
was somehow played by the U.S. military to see the value of the mineral deposits at a moment in time when Washington appears to be increasingly
concerned about the public losing confidence in the war in Afghanistan.
Was it part of a concerted media campaign to make certain Pentagon memos available and have CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus weigh in with quotes
for the New York Times? Risen has been defending his story, and not always in the most attractive manner.
In an interview with Yahoo’s Newsroom blog, Risen got a bit testy, saying, “Bloggers should do their own reporting instead of sitting around in
Here in Kabul, I must confess that I guess I’ve been sitting on this major story for several years now. The truth is that those of us who have been
here a while knew about Afghanistan’s untapped mineral wealth.
To find out, I did not go under cover or hack into secret Pentagon files — I just happened to bump into a very nice man in the Kabul line at the
Dubai airport, sometime in 2008. He proudly told me (in what I frankly thought was a bit too much detail) about the marble mines his organization was
helping to open in western Afghanistan.
“This is the wave of the future,” he said enthusiastically. “The U.S. Geological Survey has determined that Afghanistan has more non-fuel
mineral deposits than almost anyplace else on earth.”
I was actually motivated to look up the survey, which is readily available online.
The report did not exactly make for fascinating reading — unless section designators such as “Proterozoic Ultramafic Rock Area of Interest” or
“Deposits related to felsic phanerocrystalline intrusive rocks” spark one’s interest. Minerals, I decided, were not my thing. I filed it away at
the back of my mind as a story to follow up on some day, when Afghanistan’s political morass and security nightmare eased, giving geologists space
to explore and journalists time to report.
But The New York Times beat me to it: It “revealed” that Afghanistan was sitting on, for want of a better term, a veritable gold mine. Once the
Pentagon packaged the data by tacking on a speculative price tag — $1 trillion — and adding a snappy sound bite here and there, a three-year-old
report based partially on decades-old data collected by the Soviets became the biggest story on the planet.Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
There is actually a second page so clicking on the link and reading the actual article is recommended. What do other members think?