The perpetually postponed U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan tracks a little too closely with timelines for another fubar project, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
TAPI, as the pipeline is known, ought to be called TBD. It’s been a Big Oil dream since the mid-1990s, and a decade’s-long American military presence in the region has brought it no closer to reality. The Afghan news outfit Killid Media reported yesterday that “Little has happened on the TAPI natural gas project involving four countries a year after [an] agreement was signed by the governments.”
Planners are promising the project could be in operation by 2016. … Work which was delayed by security concerns will start from early 2012 and finish in two years…
Are the pipeline planners scheduling based on the projected 2014 timeline for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, or vice-versa? Does it matter? Either way, there are signs that the U.S. government is doubling down on the project as Pakistani leaders have indicated they might prefer a competing pipeline proposed to connect Pakistan and a U.S. adversary, Iran.
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I just posted on this over at Willamette Week. Geoffrey B. Roose, a self-described three-tour U.S. Army veteran from Oregon, was arrested last week following a sting by Homeland Security agents who stumbled across his eBay store, where he was selling restricted (and apparently stolen) Trijicon military rifle scopes.
Roose’s eBay username: “mr.f.u.up.”
Investigators got a hold of Roose’s emails. In one, he reacted defensively to a prospective customer on eBay who pointed out that he appeared to be dealing in stolen government property.
“You know what man,” Roose began,
I spent three tours overseas and it isn’t my responsibility to police the world. … Take a load off and try worrying about your life, not stupid federal ITAR rules or stolen property. There is more government property wasted in a dumpster overseas then [sic] you will ever see on ebay. Sorry to be rude, but it’s the god honest truth. … Check feedback before you accuse someone of potentially having stolen property. Deal with it, it happens. It’s your tax dollars.
I have a new cover story over at Willamette Week about a corruption case involving a former civilian official at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command now sitting in federal prison on 35 counts of bribery, extortion and receiving illegal gratuities. Read it there.
And keep checking back for updates—I expect WIB to resume a more regular posting schedule by the end of the year.