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To provide a new and spurious economic looting argument for making the US occupation of Afghanistan virtually endless, and to advance the candidacy of General David Petraeus as the principal neocon warmonger candidate for president on the Republican ticket in 2012 – these are the purposes of the story planted in the June 13, 2010 New York Times under the byline of James Risen, who is acting as stenographer for the neocons in the great tradition of his predecessor Judith Miller. In retrospect, this article may well be seen as the opening gun of an overt push to place General Petraeus in the White House in 2012 as the new Field Marshal von Hindenburg.
According to this story, a Pentagon survey has determined that Afghanistan possesses at least $1 trillion worth of valuable minerals, including iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and lithium – with lithium being especially valuable because it is used in batteries for computers and for the new designs of electric automobiles. Of course, none of this is news, as the article itself concedes. The surveys done by the US occupation authorities over the last several years are explicitly based on careful studies done by the Soviets during their own occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s. The basic outlines of what is being presented by Risen as front-page news were already published in a May 2004 World Bank report . . .
Candidate Petraeus Touts “Stunning Potential”
This planted puff piece is based on anonymous “senior US government officials.” The only exception is General David Petraeus, the warlord of the US Central Command, the theater of operations in which Afghanistan is located. Petraeus is directly cited as saying that the Afghan mineral riches whose presence the US has confirmed represent a “stunning potential” for the future development of the country. The implied message from Petraeus to the Washington elite is, to paraphrase, support me and cash in on the riches of Afghanistan, or else wimpy Obama’s self-serving pullout timetable will allow the Chinese to move in. . . .