Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Ancient history

Posted by Charles II on June 23, 2008

As Faulkner said, the past isn’t even past. But is Brendan Nyhan paying attention?

Eric Margolis says Bob Scheer was right:

Afghanistan just signed a major deal to launch a long-planned, 1,680-km pipeline project expected to cost $8 billion. If completed, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) will export gas and later oil from the Caspian basin to Pakistan’s coast where tankers will transport it to the West….

In 1998, the Afghan anti-Communist movement Taliban and a western oil consortium led by the U.S. firm Unocal signed a major pipeline deal. Unocal lavished money and attention on the Taliban, flew a senior delegation to Texas, and hired a minor Afghan official, Hamid Karzai….

Enter Osama bin Laden. He advised the unworldly Taliban leaders to reject the U.S. deal and got them to accept a better offer from an Argentine consortium. Washington was furious and, according to some accounts, threatened the Taliban with war.

In early 2001, six or seven months before 9/11, Washington made the decision to invade Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and install a client regime that would build the energy pipelines. But Washington still kept sending money to the Taliban until four months before 9/11 in an effort to keep it “on side” for possible use in a war against China. (emphasis added)

Scheer took a lot of grief for making this assertion back in 2001, although the NYT was pretty explicit in labeling the payments as a reward/bribe. However, I have seen no independent confirmation. I find it interesting that Margolis, who comes at things from the opposite end of the political spectrum than Scheer, agrees with him on this point.

Especially since we are now seeing the confirmation that the invasion of Iraq was indeed all about the oil.


6 Responses to “Ancient history”

  1. jo6pac said

    What they have oil and why haven’t we been told that’s all it’s was about?

    I remember telling people why we are in these wars and it’s just a blank stare then and not sure any have woke up yet. Thanks I alway like to drop by to see if I missed anything today, there’s way to much miss info.
    Everything is on schedule, please move along.

  2. Charles II said

    Always glad to have you drop by, Jo.

    A lot of the most important news comes from seeing how certain stories develop over time. Since Brendan Nyhan’s glib opportunism always annoyed me, this is one I follow for recreational purposes.

  3. Nell said

    Margolis, who comes at things from the opposite end of the political spectrum than Scheer

    ??? How’s that?
    A pretty narrow political spectrum, then. Could you explain what you mean here?

  4. Charles II said

    Eric Margolis is a moderate right-winger, a veteran often in favor of military solutions. Bob Scheer was a member of the SDS and editor of Ramparts, and is generally not inclined to military solutions.

    I think there is plenty of political distance between those two backgrounds, don’t you?

  5. MEC said

    Nowadays it often seems that Eric Margolis is a liberal, according to Eric Alterman’s definition of liberal as “not nuts”.

  6. That’s essentially it.

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