Americans might soon have a new reason to thank the troops for their service, at least in Afghanistan, where the troops have been killing and dying for almost 16 years. According to an article in yesterday’s New York Times, “President Trump, searching for a reason to keep the United States in Afghanistan after 16 years of war, has latched on to a prospect that tantalized previous administrations: Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth, which his advisers and Afghan officials have told him could be profitably extracted by Western countries.”
If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does. How do empire and foreign interventionism become more morally perverse than that?
Maybe Trump and the US national-security establishment are sensing that the American people are no longer buying into the “They’re protecting our rights and freedom” jargon. Maybe they feel the need to come up with a new and exciting rationale for their forever occupation of Afghanistan — minerals!
Just think, every time we see an American soldier, we can say, “Thank you for your service. The cobalt and the iron ore you are helping to bring to America are fantastic.” Imagine the eulogies at funerals of US military personnel: “She was a great soldier and gave her life in Afghanistan so that we could have more copper and aluminum here at home.” Imagine the tears that will produce among friends and family members.
I’ve got a better idea, one that is based on the notion of a limited-government republic rather than on imperialism and interventionism: Bring all the troops home now. They have been there killing and dying in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) long enough. Liberate America’s private sector to engage in economic enterprise in Afghanistan and the rest of the world. Limit the US government to defending the United States. Prohibit U.S. presidents from sacrificing US troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere for minerals, regime change, empire, power, or money.
Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.