This is a call out on Charlie Stross
. I really like the guy. We've interacted online since around 1995. The largest part of that was on usenet in rec.arts.sf.written and soc.history.what-if. These days it has largely been through James Nicoll's livejournal that we bump into one another. That he has gone on to be a successful SF writer is pretty damned kewl.
Charlie has some quirky beliefs. Impending Peak Oil and his 'faith' in the Singularity. We rabidly disagree on those. That's fine. We also frequently disagree on politics. However, occassionally, he goes off and writes something that is pure wtf-ism
Today's example is why we are in Afghanistan. o.O The NY Times wrote up an article boasting that the US military had just found a treasure trove of mineral deposits in Afghanistan. Something on the order of $1 trillion worth. The majority of it is supposed to be iron and copper, but there are substantial deposits of rare earth elements and lithium.
The problem is...this isn't a new discovery. It's based on the Soviet work done during the 1970s/80s when they were in the boxing ring there. Furthermore, the recent work on Afghanistan's mineral wealth is three years old!
It's not the military that found it. Civvies did the work, geological survey and whatnot. This wasn't based on some grand sat survey like he implies. See above. It was the Soviets, not Landsat or whatever.
One of the biggest sources in the NYT article happens to be a ministry in Afghanistan that is notoriously corrupt. In fact, one of the worst.
It took about 30 seconds of digging to find that info out.
The CF in Afghanistan isn't based on resource grabbing. Sorry, Charlie.