The only references past the original notice of lithium as a resource to be found in Afghanistan were a couple of comments on the Sunday talk shows in the vein of "Well, we don't want to go to war for oil so we certainly don't want to go to war for lithium." That is perhaps one of the most short-sighted thoughts I have ever heard. Granted that I am not going to quote chapter and verse on a business model and potential extensions, at least you'll see where I'm going with this.
Go back to the basics: What has happened in the more recent actions of war by the United States? Whether we like it or not it is obvious that we do not leave an area without indulging in a certain amount of nation building. Can we then take the quick trip from Point A to Point B? How many times have we heard it said that the Afghans are hard pressed to go against the Taliban and/or Al Quaida because they will ultimately be punished for that association when we leave? How do we fix it?
We have been looking for and studying ways to substitute for the poppies and resulting drug trade as a means of livelihood for the Afghans. Here it is! Lithium. Take it all the way. Lithium, due to the need for more and more dependence on batteries, is a precious and rare mineral and is not readily found in quantities necessary for this need.
Here's the deal: mine the ore, refine it, package it, market it, sell it, the government needs to be set up to capture enough of the profits to be able to plan for a stable economy which would entail building schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure. What does it take to make these facilities viable? Teachers, doctors, nurses, construction workers plus electricians, plumbers --- you have it. That is what it takes to build a country where voting and education for both boys and girls, men and women becomes a way of life and there will be no allegiance to the kind of underworld now in place.
Of course this blog doesn't have the room to describe all the details of this kind of activity, but you get the idea. We are the only country in the world who can fight for and hand on this kind of vision. When I was a lot younger, there was a popular saying "let George do it" which was a euphemism for anyone admitting to little or no interest or just saying that it might be others' turn. Now, however, there are no other George's. If not us, it won't get done. We've awakened the Tea Party, maybe we can set an alarm for the rest of the nation now.