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October 28, 2010 6:39 PM   Subscribe

Earlier this year, the Washington Post exposed the increasing size of the US intelligence community: 1,931 private companies, 10,000 offices, and hundreds of thousands of employees (previously). Today we have a better picture on how much it's costing taxpayers: 80 billion every year.

To put that in perspective, it's approximately the same size as the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Department of Transportation. It is believed that up 70% of the budget is paid out to private contractors, but since the details of the budget remain classified, no one knows what we are buying or who we are paying. What is known is that the budget has more than doubled from $36 billion (AFI) in 1998.
posted by notion (73 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I guess watching the watchmen is expensive.
posted by ghharr at 6:42 PM on October 28, 2010


How much should it cost?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:44 PM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I feel safer already.
posted by Max Power at 6:45 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't even be bothered to dig out my surprised face.
posted by unSane at 6:54 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


>How much should it cost?
This is a good question. $80 billion is 8 times the size of the entire GDP of Afghanistan, or roughly equivalent to the entire military budget of China, and $30 billion more than the entire military budget of Russia.

So, it's probably more than it should be.
posted by notion at 6:54 PM on October 28, 2010 [21 favorites]


Couldn't we just buy off the people trying to bomb us with only a fraction of that annual budget?
posted by indubitable at 6:56 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


$80 billion is 8 times the size of the entire GDP of Afghanistan

You could make any US government spending sound excessive by talking about it relative to the GDP of Afghanistan.
posted by John Cohen at 6:57 PM on October 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


i saw that PBS special about NSA (a sub-sector of The Intelligence Community)
and if i recall, NSA was enough data storage equal to 14 file cabinets a month for each American.

it tells me more thing for certain.

that is alot file cabinets.
posted by clavdivs at 6:58 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't it be cheaper to crowdsource our surveillance?
posted by mittens at 6:59 PM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


shit
posted by clavdivs at 6:59 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


You could make any US government spending sound excessive by talking about it relative to the GDP of Afghanistan.

And it never makes you question why the US is throwing away so much blood and treasure on some place so utterly worthless?
posted by indubitable at 6:59 PM on October 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


For that much I hope we can do awesome science fiction stuff and aren't just blowing it on listening to phone calls.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:00 PM on October 28, 2010


Threeway Handshak: How much should it cost?

How much do you think it should cost? Are you in favor of more or not?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 7:01 PM on October 28, 2010


"no one knows what we are buying or who we are paying."

Actually, quite a lot of people know. There's a big difference between "we're not telling everyone what we know," and "we're not paying attention at all."
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:02 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Couldn't we just buy off the people trying to bomb us with only a fraction of that annual budget?"

Thing is, you're already buying off a lot of dangerous people with that money. And a lot of them wouldn't be so dangerous if the same funds hadn't been used to train and equip them.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:06 PM on October 28, 2010


How much should it cost?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:44 PM on October 28 [+] [!]


How big of an Empire do you want?
posted by Avenger at 7:11 PM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


The ethical and socio-political arguments against the American intelligence establishment are much sexier than the argument of economy.

If this figure is right the US spends one-half of one percent of GDP to spy on all humanity. That doesn't exactly make me want to storm CIA headquarters bare-chested with red flag in paw.

Any unaccountable hierarchy will always seek to maximize its own power. Thus the American intelligence community benefits from keeping the public in a general state of fear, and no events could ever occur in which the intelligence community could find justification for its disestablishment. That, to me, is a much better argument against the intelligence as it shows the bastards are just in it for the power, not for the utility of what they do.
posted by banal evil at 7:16 PM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


"spy on all humanity" sounds about right. It's about 5 times the budget of NASA.
posted by lukemeister at 7:18 PM on October 28, 2010


"spy on all humanity" sounds about right. It's about 5 times the budget of NASA.

But only $13 bucks a person.

(Wait, now it hardly seems like enough.)
posted by mittens at 7:25 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Give me the $13 and I'll tell you everything I know.
posted by briank at 7:26 PM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


80 billion is a LOT of boxcutters.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:26 PM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Stocks of Alcoa and New Era jumped upon news of this report.
posted by wcfields at 7:27 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing this means everybody is spying on someone else. This reminded me of the Dylan song "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues:"

When I run outa things to investigate
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!

posted by marxchivist at 7:28 PM on October 28, 2010


We could just privatize spying. In 5 years Facebook will be a defense contractor.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:36 PM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


"hundreds of thousands of employees"

Lets say 300,000.

If you have more than a 1000 Facebook friends, at least one of them is spying on you!
posted by vidur at 7:36 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Wouldn't it be cheaper to crowdsource our surveillance?"

Nyet.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:39 PM on October 28, 2010


I don't really trust any numbers from 1998. Back then most of the stuff in the budget was buried in so many places I seriously doubt the President could have given you a good number for what was being spent. However, it is quite clear that in the aftermath of 9/11 spending went through the roof. Equipment based programs like sigint stuff, is really expensive. But it could well have doubled. My company's earn in the intel space has probably more than tripled and we are one of the big boys who earned plenty of loot back in 1998.

To be honest, my reaction to your comparison was "how in the hell does Veteran's Affairs spend that much?"
posted by Lame_username at 7:40 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


posit that this money could be spent elsewhere for a better purpose.
posit if intelligence capacity is needed what would it cost.
posit what is the role of an intelligence capacity in need of said funds
posit that would be telling.

The amount designated for military battlefield intelligence had remained classified. Last year, however then-Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair revealed to reporters the total cost for all intelligence gathering was $75 billion, and indicated the amount spent on strictly military intelligence was approximately $25 billion.

the interesting question is why the 16 sisters used 25$ billion for "military battlefield intelligence" something tells me this an accounting matter.

The NRO is so sexy.
posted by clavdivs at 7:48 PM on October 28, 2010


To be honest, my reaction to your comparison was "how in the hell does Veteran's Affairs spend that much?"

Hey, good question!

Among the highlights of the VA budget:
$799 million to eliminate veteran homelessness.
$5.2 billion to expand inpatient, residential, and outpatient mental health programs
$6.8 billion to expand institutional and non-institutional long term care services. Of this amount, $163 million is for home tele-health to improve access to care.
$64.7 billion for mandatory benefits including compensation for new Agent Orange presumptive conditions and Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits.
posted by mittens at 7:51 PM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Back in the good old days, you'd read James Bond and the rest against the "bad guys"... who are the bad guys nowadays? Nobody ever hears of thrilling counter agents and beautiful foreign women in fur coats anymore, just budgets, wires and the internets. They've robbed the romance of the whole thing, Ashenden would weep.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 7:53 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm glad our sarcasm is still strong. It is apparently the only thing we have left.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:05 PM on October 28, 2010


People you don't understand. Facebook, Wikipedia and Google cost a fortune. You didn't really think they could have zillions of computers running 24x7 storing gigabytes of all your personal photos, emails and indexing everything and having articles on any topic form a non-biased point of view for nothing did you? Advertising? Seriously we all saw how that ended in 2000. Look even MeFi costs $5 and its just some links on a blue background.

The whole concept of Wikipedia is an enormous commie honey pot. Ooh lets all be socialists and share knowledge online for free. Pay no attention to the fact that at any moment they can look at the log files and know exactly what you are interested in. If only you'd gone to the library you would have had the helpful staff at the reference desk to guide you to useful materials and of course librarians like Jessemyn would protect you from the spying eyes of the government.
posted by humanfont at 8:24 PM on October 28, 2010


Possibly related: A helpful Venn Diagram
posted by kuatto at 8:29 PM on October 28, 2010


I tell ya' when this house of cards comes tumbling down, all those fat-cats in the defense establishment making 100k every year will be howling. Our federal budget cannot not sustain us indefinitely.

Have you seen obama lately? He looks tired...
posted by kuatto at 8:33 PM on October 28, 2010


... who are the bad guys nowadays?

We are
posted by crayz at 8:38 PM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


But only $13 bucks a person.

(Wait, now it hardly seems like enough.)


Where did you get this figure?

80 billion divided by 100 million taxpayers is $800 per person per year.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:43 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Baby_Balrog why would we only spy on the taxpayers that makes no sense.
posted by humanfont at 8:52 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


fat-cats in the defense establishment making 100k every year will be howling

I do not think "fat-cats" means what you think it means.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:53 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would love to spend $800 a year to increase mankind's intelligence.
posted by kozad at 9:15 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Where did you get this figure?
80 billion divided by 100 million taxpayers is $800 per person per year.


The denominator is about 6.7 billion ("spy on all humanity"), not 100 million.
posted by vidur at 9:50 PM on October 28, 2010


To tell the truth, this is smaller than what I would have guessed (maybe closer to $300 billion), and only doubled since 1998 (read 9/11) seems like a poor investment versus all the military hardware and such we shipped to the other side of the planet. I wonder how complete the disclosure is, given the rat's nest of dotted lines out there.
posted by dhartung at 10:00 PM on October 28, 2010


I would much rather invest in intelligence networks than military hardware. Though they have been backwards, politically-motivated things in the past, NSA and DIA actually do some good stuff as far as threat assessment and mitigation. If we make them better, more accountable, and more efficient, I have no problem spending that amount of money on them.

Oh, and bribing bad guys doesn't always work. You'll run out of money before they run out of ways to use it. Not to say that it doesn't sometimes work.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:04 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be cheaper to crowdsource our surveillance?

It worked for securing East Germany. And the Tea Party will make it work for securing the United States.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 PM on October 28, 2010


Anyway, getting Verizon and AT&T to do illegal wiretaps for the NSA doesn't come cheap. We've all seen our cell phone bills.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:28 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm curious how much is for counterintelligence vs. intelligence, domestic vs. foreign. It would have quite different implications for the average citizen for one of these to be hugely emphasized over another.
posted by Ouisch at 10:30 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Who, at this point, believes the primary purpose of secrecy is not to conceal unethical and criminal behavior by officials?

Or to put it another way. who would claim that, given no transparency or accountability, any organization can be trusted to behave in an ethical way?
posted by 7-7 at 10:34 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and bribing bad guys doesn't always work. You'll run out of money before they run out of ways to use it. Not to say that it doesn't sometimes work.

true
but you always know were to find them even if the money runs out.

"We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win."

-Syriana
posted by clavdivs at 10:38 PM on October 28, 2010


They've robbed the romance of the whole thing, Ashenden would weep.

Fictional accounts of espionage are somewhat different than the reality. Always have been.
posted by Ouisch at 10:42 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm curious how much is for counterintelligence vs. intelligence, domestic vs. foreign. It would have quite different implications for the average citizen for one of these to be hugely emphasized over another.

that would be telling.

this is why the people have a 'Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.'
posted by clavdivs at 10:45 PM on October 28, 2010


To break it down a bit more and take a more serious tack:

Consider that there are lots of agencies competing for the stuff. Overall the staff is said to be over 100K employees. Each branch of the military and some centralized stuff in DoD, the NRO the NGA and the DIA and plus the NSA. Then we have the FBI and DEA. The Department of Energy has a department of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence looking for nuclear weapons and things. Homeland security has the Office of Intelligence and Analysis monitoring hate groups and domestic threats, also in DHS the Coast Guard intelligence is there as well. State Department has their own spies. Also the US Treasury (following the money). Finally the CIA. 70% of the money goes to the contractors for things like software, satellites and expensive things, and 30% is spend on doing and managing things.

So what's probably the good thing is that you have 5 cabinet level agencies competing to out spy each other and keep each other inline and then in the military you have like 10 groups. So hopefully this means that everyone is too busy trying to show how much better they are, that they don't get together and do a coup or something.
posted by humanfont at 10:48 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fictional accounts of espionage are somewhat different than the reality. Always have been.

i could never tell myself.

"When it comes to motivation, Hitz finds le Carré's works most impressive. Those are followed by Philby's autobiography, My Silent War, and Graham Greene's Human Factor. In the non-fiction arena, David Wise's treatment of Robert Hanssen and Miranda Carter's recent biography of Anthony Blunt, are both good examples."

i concur having read all of them.

(prays the lady will forgive such a brutish intrusion)
posted by clavdivs at 10:52 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Finally the CIA. 70% of the money goes to the contractors for things like software, satellites and expensive things, and 30% is spend on doing and managing things.

come now you think all that loot is going to pens, pickles and new pointy daggers?
shells are expensive, human treachery ain't cheap, hell no.
PALLETS of cash...woof up the warlords shopping list...and i have WAY to much time on my hands.
posted by clavdivs at 10:59 PM on October 28, 2010


I guess the thing about the romance of fictional accounts, to me, is they seem to mostly favour HUMINT, which is only one of many kinds of intelligence gathering, and probably not quite as prominent as it used to be, especially compared to the developments in SIGINT over the past century.
posted by Ouisch at 11:00 PM on October 28, 2010


60% of the worlds trained assassins are female.

i mean, who could colate such a number, who could make it up, more over why. I'm not biased, i have 6 sisters of which 4 have the criteria for the job... it makes sense, who would suspect, except another woman? does this account for the extra 10%?

I always found that interesting.
posted by clavdivs at 11:06 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, I can't even kill ants without feeling guilty.

Then again, ants are less annoying than many people. Maybe I should join up.
posted by Ouisch at 11:08 PM on October 28, 2010


they seem to mostly favour HUMINT,

true, to the extent humanity makes the better story and the better source. pickonepickonepickone...'The Russia House', Le' Carre. It is all about the source, in fact the source, in the form of GOETHE (very apt that), has data to weaken the need for SIGNIT. The source in this story is so good that really no one wants it because it concerns the truth which SIGNIT cannot find. The truth in this case is the russian strategic capability to wage nuclear war. The real mystery is weither the information was a plant or was GOETHE telling the truth because why would he lie, why would the Sovs risk dangling GOETHE if only to spread disinformation about information you do not want known... and while the mices spin themselves in and out of the arms race, someone stands up says i will not betray what i love even for a large secret no one wants to know and if they want to know, it wont change a thing.
posted by clavdivs at 11:27 PM on October 28, 2010


The thing about spending money on the military is there is at least an argument that doing so will reduce the need for war. Not saying I believe it a hundred percent, but it's a defensible proposition that having the most expensive, enormous military machine in the world keeps the US and its allies safe from attack, because no sane nation wants to take on that kind of power. Not in a world war, anyway.

By contrast, there is no similar argument that having the world's largest and most expensive intelligence apparatus reduces the need to have such an apparatus in the first place. In fact, the reverse seems to be the case, since those intelligence agencies always need to know more and more just to keep America safe from today's enemies which were yesterday's allies. This need to absorb information just seems to be an ever expanding cycle, which will continue until something external to the system stops it.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:36 PM on October 28, 2010


But only $13 bucks a person.

i would'nt underbid
remember, satellites don't need to go get coffee and a pack of smokes.
posted by clavdivs at 11:44 PM on October 28, 2010


You could make any US government spending sound excessive by talking about it relative to the GDP of Afghanistan.

And it never makes you question why the US is throwing away so much blood and treasure on some place so utterly worthless?


Do you always ask questions with misleading implications?
posted by John Cohen at 11:52 PM on October 28, 2010


This need to absorb information just seems to be an ever expanding cycle, which will continue until something external to the system stops it.

BINGO!
what that external something is is the most interesting riddle about data collection and what humans do with it or rather what they will stop doing with it.
posted by clavdivs at 11:55 PM on October 28, 2010


The thing about spending money on the military is there is at least an argument that doing so will reduce the need for war. Not saying I believe it a hundred percent, but it's a defensible proposition that having the most expensive, enormous military machine in the world keeps the US and its allies safe from attack, because no sane nation wants to take on that kind of power. Not in a world war, anyway.

I think that only works if you're talking about a military that functions for defense. Obviously, our military spending has not reduced our need for war.

Who, at this point, believes the primary purpose of secrecy is not to conceal unethical and criminal behavior by officials?

It's certainly convenient for that, but couldn't you make the argument that the primary purpose of secrecy is territorial? That even if there weren't something horrible going on, there would still be this need to keep information from you?

Anyway, getting Verizon and AT&T to do illegal wiretaps for the NSA doesn't come cheap. We've all seen our cell phone bills.

Yeah, but you make the money back transcribing other people's conversations on Amazon's Mechanical Turk!
posted by mittens at 4:21 AM on October 29, 2010


"Wouldn't it be cheaper to crowdsource our surveillance?"

*cough*
posted by markkraft at 5:57 AM on October 29, 2010


And it never makes you question why the US is throwing away so much blood and treasure on some place so utterly worthless?
posted by indubitable at 9:59 PM on October 28


Okay, Metafilter, time for a refresher course.

All conflicts are over scarce resources. Iraq is about oil. The conflict in Georgia and the Balkans is and was about natural gas (specifically pipelines). The conflict in Israel is to a large extent about access to fresh water. The conflict in Iraq is about oil.

The conflict in Afghanistan is about minerals. It always was. How do I know this? Here's a hint--this fact was something the US wanted to investigate right away.

Conflicts are not about religion, democracy, ideology, centuries of history or any of the rest of that utter bullshit. That stuff is the political equivalent of "More cleaning power than the leading brand" or "Just Do It." It's advertising.

Afghanistan is absolutely no different. It is absolutely NOT worthless. It has mineral reserves of nearly $1 trillion. And given that China seeks to monopolize the market in rare earth metals, and that Afghanistan has $80 billion worth of rare earth metals.

Are these metals really that important? Depends. Are you willing to spend $50,000 for an ipad?

And it isn't that we want to colonize Afghanistan and make their resources our resources. We don't need to do that. We just want them in the system. We want an country that will be part of global capitalism that will be willing to unlock the value of its resources and put them on the market at a market price. We don't want China to monopolize the market (which is a market failure) , we don't want Russia encouraging them to keep the stuff underground, etc.

All conflicts in the modern era are about scarce resources. repeat it until it sinks in. All conflicts are over scarce resources, all conflicts are over scarce resources, all conflicts are over scarce resources. To understand nearly everything about these conflicts requires only understanding this economic dimension. The moment you learn that a war is being fought in X, the first thing you should do is google "Natural resources in X." Did that first result surprise you? You didn't actually think that war was about religion, did you?

The reason they don't want you thinking about this is because it implicates our entire social order. We don't need Afghanistan's indium in the US to make bread, clothes, or shelter. We need it to be sold on the global commodities market so South Korean electronics companies manufacturers can make LCD displays out of it that get integrated in China with other components to make phones that Apple can sell to you with the label "Design in California". I'm not being glib. That's what we use that stuff for.

We need increasingly esoteric and scarce materials to satisfy our consumer hunger for better, faster, more. If everybody realizes this, they might become uncomfortable waiting in line at midnight to buy a product whose price and availability is a direct consequence of a war, and I'm going to guess that's bad for business.

So we will become embroiled in conflicts in strange previously-unheard of faraway places because that's where this stuff is and those places have been ignored for so long that the people in charge there cannot be trusted to unlock that value on their own.

That is the world you live in. So a $400M war in Afghanistan to secure a flow of $1 trillion in natural resources to the market that is outside of China's monopolistic control is a veritable bargain.

All conflicts are over scarce resources. Including the next one.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:22 AM on October 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


So what resource was the US fighting for in Vietnam? In Korea? In Grenada?

Hell, I don't think we even had a resource interest in WW2.
posted by NortonDC at 11:10 AM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Territory, political power, autonomy and strategic beachheads are also scarce commodities in one sense. But I think Pastabagel is oversimplifying. Wars are about the self-interest of the aggressors, but different aggressors define self-interest differently.

WWII was initially about territory -- Mr H wishing to give the German race lebensraum by expanding to the east. But it really wasn't about territory for the allies until after war was declared. It's not like England saw the Sudetenland as a key strategic asset or anything.
posted by unSane at 11:21 AM on October 29, 2010


So a $400M war in Afghanistan to secure a flow of $1 trillion in natural resources to the market that is outside of China's monopolistic control is a veritable bargain.

It's a $400 billion war, not $400 million. And that Afghan mineral wealth is useless without a functioning economy and the infrastructure to deliver it (i.e. freight rail lines). Further, the rare earth metals in Afghanistan are only worth $80 billion. Much of the rest of the stuff, like lithium, is widely available, including in the US.

China isn't about to let the price of an iPad shoot up to $50,000. No one would buy it and Chinese companies like Foxconn would suffer. China wants stuff to be affordable by the rest of the world, as domestic demand is insufficient, and it wants Chinese companies to see more of the profits from the sales of electronics.

Of course, that $400 billion figure is just going to go up, up, up. And as we're financing it with debt, it'll end up costing us vastly more in the long run. If this is a war over natural resources, it's a monumentally stupid one.

By the way, the US has huge amounts of rare earth metals [pdf], and other friendly countries have large reserves as well. Our own reserves are equal to over 100 years of China's current production levels. The only reason we use Chinese rare earth metals is because it's cheaper to mine there than here. If China actually started raising the price of rare earths, the US would ramp up production.
posted by jedicus at 11:24 AM on October 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


So now you're telling us we invaded Afghanistan for the iPads?

Jesus fucking christ, you war hawks are such horrible liars. Go on, tell me another one!
posted by ryanrs at 12:46 PM on October 29, 2010


The only reason we use Chinese rare earth metals is because it's cheaper to mine there than here.

And more environmentally friendly. For us.

Since China borders Afghanistan and we're borrowing from the Chinese to fight the war anyway, why not just eliminate us as the useless middleman and have them go in and do whatever it is that is being done? We can tell them it will be a sign of their being a true world class superpower.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:55 PM on October 29, 2010


I anxiously await the Post's report on the size of the US stupidity community.
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 5:18 PM on October 29, 2010


So what resource was the US fighting for in Vietnam
rubber

In Korea?
humans

In Grenada?

pride

Hell, I don't think we even had a resource interest in WW2.
oil
posted by clavdivs at 6:33 PM on October 29, 2010


Hell, I don't think we even had a resource interest in WW2.

oil


Not really. Texas was still the big player at that time.

Unless you mean keeping others away from oil.

As to Grenada, it was Med School Students as I recall.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:56 AM on October 30, 2010


Using up equipment also keeps the economy going
posted by The Lady is a designer at 8:20 AM on October 30, 2010


The Japanese entered WWII against the United States in order to secure access to natural resources in response to a US trade embargo imposed as a result of their war with China. In advance of the war the US created strategic stockpiles of rubber and developed synthetic rubber in the event that we lost access to the southeast Asian rubber plantations in the philipines and Indonesia.

The little strip of Afghanistan that reaches over to the Chinese border is pretty impassible being mostly montains and few roads or even trails. I think there are something like 2000 people in the whole region in a couple of small villages.

In other news Russia is back in Afghanistan having started to work with ISAF to counter drug trafficking. See we will hand t over to the Russians soon. Problem solved.

In other news the Russians returned to affhansit
posted by humanfont at 9:46 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


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