I just read a comment on another thread that said that we’ve struck gold in Afghanistan. So, I thought to myself, finally, some good news out of these endless wars. I found the story in the NY Times. It turns out that we found nearly $1 trillion in resources there. These resources include a number of different minerals, including iron, copper, cobalt, lithium, and gold. WooHoo, we’re the Beverly Hillbillies.

Currently, Afghan’s GDP is only $12 billion, so these discoveries could provide an exponential increase in the nation’s wealth, and make employment prospects much brighter. But it turns out that there may be some downsides to this discovery. Who could guess this? One problem arises from the location of the minerals. Much of the new wealth lies along the Pakistani border, where the Taliban maintains strength. Analysts predict that now that the pile of rocks that we’ve been fighting over for nearly a decade has some extrinsic value, that they will struggle even more bitterly.

Another problem, according to General Petraeus, is that Afghans don’t really know or care much about the environment, so there is some likelihood that the land will be ravaged. I’m not really sure, given the Gulf oil spill, if we’re actually the nation to be giving lessons in this though.

A bigger problem corresponds to the location. Most large American mining firms are unwilling to imperil there employees lives unduly by working in a place where they may be killed 24/7. So, it is difficult to get American firms to bid on the mining. It turns out, though, that some nations may not be as concerned with their employees’ safety. For example, China recently won the bid to develop all of the copper mines in Afghanistan. But I don’t like to cast a harsh light upon China. After all, we sold ourselves to them, so they’re sort of our landlords. China, in fact, doesn’t want their miners to be killed all of the time either. So, they asked the US military to protect them, which the Pentagon agreed to do.

The final difficulty lies in the entire bidding process to get contracts. It turns out that for China to get the copper rights, they had to pay the Afghan minister of mines $30 million in bribes. But we got even with that guy, we made him resign. But still, he’s gotta be the wealthiest non-opium dealer in the country.

So, Elly Mae, looks like we’re stuck in West Virginnie for a while longer. Well, we’ve still got John Denver.