Times 'Scoop' on Afghan Minerals Less Than Meets the Eye

Administration using carrot of mineral wealth to drum up war support
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Disillusioned
Posted Jun 14, 2010 5:00 PM CDT
In a June 9, 2010 file photo US General David H. Petraeus commander of United States central Command, CENTCOM, speaks at the Royal United Service Institute, Land Warfare conference in London, England.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant/file)
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(Newser) – The New York Times reports today that the government has discovered billions in mineral reserves in Afghanistan—"far beyond any previously known reserves." But is it true? In fact, Afghanistan's mineral wealth seems to be well known—Paul Jay, writing for the Huffington Post, points to a 2007 US government memo that came to many of the same conclusions. Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic goes further back, to Soviet surveys from the '80s.

So why would the Times print something that isn't exactly news? Ambinder notes that the story, with on-the-record quotes from the commander of CENTCOM, smacks of a push by the Obama administration to drum up good news on the longest war in American history. "What better way to remind people about the country's potential bright future," Ambinder asks, "than by publicizing or re-publicizing valid—but already public—information about the region's potential wealth?"

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