“Shovels, Tractors, Teaching Degrees In Afghanistan”

General Petraeus summed up the real issues confronting American and NATO forces in Afghanistan by saying what is most important for success is “shovels, tractors and teaching degrees.” He emphasized in fighting the Taliban it entailed “more than just killing or capturing terrorists and extremists.” A major problem in Afghanistan is focusing on the Taliban and not focusing enough on economic development, and providing jobs for Afghans. Of course, jobs in themselves are also not the “solution” because what is lacking in Afghanistan is any semblance of either a short or long term plan.

Unfortunately, General Petraeus can not discuss the major problem confronting the war in Afghanistan. From President Karzai down, the government is led by corrupt, incompetent individuals who line their pockets with money rather than ensure money flows into economic development. Unfortunately, General Petraeus as a military leader is unable to confront the major issue of –drugs. We focus energy on destroying drugs. How about purchasing the entire drug crop of farmers and depriving the Taliban of that source of revenue?