Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer - Mon., 7/12/10
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Never buy shares in a gold mine from a guy operating out of a house trailer.

Likewise, never buy a story from the Pentagon about an incredible discovery of gold in Afghanistan. Last month, the mainstream media trumpeted a story that a Pentagon task force has discovered an astonishing trillion dollars worth of untapped mineral deposits in that war-ravaged, im-poverished country. Gold! Copper! Iron! "There is stunning potential here," exclaimed General David Petraeus, the top commander of America's war effort.

Hmmm... Not so fast, slick. Isn't it at least curious that this "discovery" comes when the war is going badly and both the public and Congress are questioning why we're there? Suddenly, the pentagon gives us a trillion reasons to keep spending American lives and tax dollars. There's money in them thar hills!

Unmentioned in the Pentagon's economic assessment is the fact that Afghans have known about these mineral deposits for centuries, the Soviets mapped them in the 1980s during their occupation of Afghanistan, and our own geologists documented the area's mining potential in 2004.

Still, even if the Pentagon has hyped up this story to prolong America's commitment to the war, it actually could have the opposite effect. We've been told again and again how poor that nation is--with a total GDP of only $12 billion and opium its chief product-- so our commitment of 90,000 troops is essential to help impoverished Afghans build a modern economy and a stable government. But if they're now a fabulously wealthy nation, they don't need us. So... let's leave.

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Filed Under: Afghanistan, Money, War, Wealth