Kyrgyzstan, it turns out, has been quite the money sink for the United States in the “war on terror.” A quick recap of our recent history there…
- 2001: The United States sets up the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan to support troops in Afghanistan. In an unusual move, the military agrees to pay international civil aviation rates for the rights to the airspace. Much of the money goes straight into the pocket of the president, a Soviet-era apparatchik still loyal to Moscow
- 2005: The “Tulip Revolution” overthrows the government. Like other revolutions on Russia’s periphery at the time, this was likely funded in part by quasi-government U.S. foundations like the National Endowment for Democracy
- 2006: The new government, biting the hand that fed it, demands higher payments for the rights to Manas, now the only U.S. base in the region after Uzbekistan kicked Gen. Petraeus and his buddies out. Negotiations continue on and off until…
- 2009: The government tells Washington it plans to close Manas, days after agreeing to a foreign aid package from Russia. After Washington agrees to triple what it pays for access to Manas, to $60 million annually (plus its own foreign aid package worth $109 million), the Kyrgyz government relents.
The leader of the new government promises Manas will remain open for now, but said something lame like: “We still have some questions on it. Give us time and we will listen to all the sides and solve everything.” In other words, after the new sheriff extracts another round of bribes from your pocket by way of D.C.
You can’t make this stuff up.
And this is just one base out of the 716 that we maintain in 38 countries, according to the Pentagon’s latest “Base Structure Report.” Lord grant us the strength to maintain our empire.
The Pentagon has confirmed it’s giving some $50 million in aid to Georgia, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. This will keep all six countries committed to sending troops to Afghanistan. Of course, they make up barely 1% of all the troops there, but when you’re in Washington, money is no object. “Pay all that you want, we’ll just print more,” seems to be the order of the day.
Years ago, Osama bin Laden made it clear his ultimate goal was to bankrupt the United States. Executing Sept. 11 cost him the wicked sum of $500,000. The Iraq war alone will cost the U.S. $3 trillion, if Joseph Stiglitz’s estimate is correct. The Afghan war currently costs $1 million per year per soldier on the ground.
Somewhere in a cave on the Afghan-Pakistan border, Osama’s laughing his ass off. And just wait until we invade Iran. That’s going to be fun, too. Check out Byron’s report on $220 oil, here.
Related: Afghan Supply Flights Suspended from Kyrgyz base - NATO (expect to pay more kickbacks for the new boss)