• War in Afghanistan Won (by Cherry Berry Yogurt and Ace Hardware)

    October 15, 2013

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Embassy/State

    While naysayers belittle a U.S. government unable to even pay itself to not work, other dedicated federal employees are out there winning the war in Afghanistan. Now thirteen years after the conflict began, a way forward has emerged: franchises.

    We all know about these things, right? McDonald’s, Burger King and others sell you the right to open one of their stores. You can buy a franchise for a UPS Store, a Jiffy Lube and just about anything else you can think of. You pay a fee and get the name, all the branded stuff, benefits of national advertising, whatever. A business in a box.

    And so to Afghanistan

    Your U.S. Commerce Department, after clearly having resolved all unemployment and economic issues in America, has “taken over” Afghanistan. The group held a franchise trade event for seven major international franchise brands and more than 100 Afghan businessmen. Now, the event was held in Dubai of course, because what American businessperson would dare travel into Kabul, but OK, they had those Afghans flown over and the Commerce people got some R&R time in Dubai at the same time. Despite the irony of not holding the event in the actual country it concerned, The It’s Always Sunny in Kabul U.S. Embassy press office bleated that the trade show demonstrated a “belief in the prosperous future of Afghanistan.” The embassy folks also believe that there is a “high demand for American franchise brands in Afghanistan.” Good for them, good for them. Optimism is important thirteen years into a war.

    Now, who will buy all the American stuff remains in question. Afghanistan has a $20 billion economy, but a whopping 90 percent of that comes from international assistance.

    Talk is cheap. Afghanistan is a place for action, and so it goes with franchising. In fact, two signature American franchises are already in Afghanistan sort of.

    Ace is the Place

    Ace Hardware is the first. Afghanistan’s Safi Group (see their used car sales page where you can pick up a clean Ford for only US$4000) handed over $1 million dollars for the franchise. They even now have a Facebook page for their ace investment, though the page reeks of State Department social media handlers. Unfortunately, the last posting on the page is a press conference from May, with no clear sign that the Ace Hardware store is actually open. The store as it stands is pictured above, and does look nice. Smart move, not spending too much money on photography. It’s almost as if they built a big shed, painted the Ace Hardware logo on the roof, and called it a day.

    The other franchise touted, Cherry Berry yogurt, opened just a convenient few days before the Dubai trade event. It too has a Facebook page in English, with the faint smell of USG social media on it as well. From the Facebook page, the shop looks to be crammed into a small basement of a nondescript building that is so exclusive it doesn’t even feature a Cherry Berry sign out front. Actually, it is probably safer that way, given the Taliban’s predilection for bombing western targets. One happy yogurt patron on the page seemed remarkably not Afghani. A little internet spelunking revealed she works for a social media promotion company run by Americans. One does wonder if that company has any financial or other connection to the U.S. government. Maybe just a coincidence she dropped by for a frozen treat.

    Smoke Screen

    So of course this is all a sham, smoke and mirrors so transparent and thin that for the most part this “news” of the American franchise beachhead in Afghanistan exists only in self-serving press releases. I mean, how lame can you be so that even the sad mainstream media thinks you’re too cheesy to report on?

    None of this is new, by the way. As a former State Department officer, I remember sitting in meetings during the Iraq Reconstruction hearing how there would be hundreds of Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises opening all over the country, and how tourism would soon outpace oil as a source of foreign revenues in Iraq. The U.S. Embassy arranged and then paid for what was then the Bank of Iraq’s only international ATM, conveniently installed on embassy grounds deep inside the Green Zone (FYI: As an experiment I tried to withdraw money from that ATM only to have my credit card shut down as possible fraud by my U.S. bank.) This too was primped and posted as a sure sign of progress in that tortured nation.

    Well, we’ve had our fun here today. The youngest U.S. soldiers were ten years old when we invaded Afghanistan right after 9/11 and most likely only have the vaguest idea what all has preceded their arrival in-country. Meanwhile, the real war in Afghanistan drags on. Americans and Afghans die every day. Enjoy your yogurt social media people.



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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      “As a former State Department officer, I remember sitting in meetings during the Iraq Reconstruction hearing how there would be hundreds of Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises opening all over the country, and how tourism would soon outpace oil as a source of foreign revenues in Iraq. ”

      Tell me again why shutting down the “government” permanently is a bad idea if these idiots run the place.

      10/15/13 11:17 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      10/15/13 11:24 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      3

      “Well, Mr. Speaker, democracy’s been suspended.”

      Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), blocking the Democrats’ ability to bring up a Senate amendment to fund the government back to work. On October 1, resolution, H. Res. 368, was passed by House Republicans altering the rules specifically to thwart re-openning the government

      When politicians take measures to bring down our own government and rejoice in stopping its operations, succeeding where Al Qaeda and company of morons failed, its time for some introspective and responsibility. Maybe democracy is more than dying for Cherry Berry and making sure friends and constituents receive a piece of the lucrative contract pie in Afghanistan and Iraq

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/10/14/as-democrats-seethe-over-gop-tactics-video-over-rules-change-goes-viral/?tid=pm_politics_pop

      10/15/13 12:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      4

      … and another recipient for either a democracy promotion award or the coveted “When one foot is in the mouth how easily the second one fits” award:

      “Ex-NSA chief jokes about putting Edward Snowden on kill list”

      1. http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/326315-former-nsa-chief-jokes-about-putting-snowden-on-kill-list#ixzz2hnEaCeNC
      Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

      2. http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/10/07/and_what_the_hell_is_gen_hayden_doing_joking_about_killing_edward_snowden

      http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/326315-former-nsa-chief-jokes-about-putting-snowden-on-kill-list

      10/15/13 12:30 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      5

      quote:”The It’s Always Sunny in Kabul U.S. Embassy press office bleated that the trade show demonstrated a “belief in the prosperous future of Afghanistan.” unquote

      They also believe the planet is flat.

      sheeezus. More press releases from the parallel universe of Embassy de Clueless.
      Prosperous future. right.
      question:
      We’re actually PAYING these goddamned idiots???
      Speaking of idiots…Ace Hardware. right. So all those Afghans can fix their sinks, their lights, their doors, their windows, their air conditioners, their..umm er…wait..wait..
      Something is amiss here…and
      you know what it is..right?.(sighing/shaking head in utter fucking amazement)

      Someone’s been eating too many Cherryberries.

      yeah yeah..I know it’s early, but bartender..set em up and let’s toast to Capitalism. May all these Afghan entrepreneurs get a taste of their prosperous future…that is..as soon as someone provides electricity and water across the fucking desert.

      10/15/13 12:45 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      6

      Pitch, I hate to call you out, but you’re thinking too small here.

      The Afghans are not going to Ace for their home repair needs. Opium and heroin refining are the country’s only viable industries, and the Ace store will be well-stocked with the tools and equipment needed. In addition, the CIA no doubt has plans to introduce meth to the country. Meth cooking involves plumbing and heating needs. Ace is the place. It’s all about marketing.

      10/15/13 1:10 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      7

      PVB said
      quote:”Pitch, I hate to call you out, but you’re thinking too small here.
      The Afghans are not going to Ace for their home repair needs. Opium and heroin refining are the country’s only viable industries, and the Ace store will be well-stocked with the tools and equipment needed.”unquote

      Indeed I was. Connecting the dots suffers when old far syndrome takes over.:) Ya know Peter, I did mention this stuff at one time, but with everything else happening, I can’t keep the dots connected anymore. However, thanks for bringing that up. If ANY ONE knows..you do. When ever I bring that subject up, I usually get the “conspiracy theory” crap thrown at me but after researching this stuff from the early 80’s(Daddy Bush/CIA/Central America etc), especially the link you provided to crypto where I found a link to AeroServices under the CIA “fronts”. Unbelievable. They modded the B-26s for CIA. Found their whole history online.
      This whole drug/CIA history is so blatant, yet so buried I’m now convinced part of the NSA thing is connected too. Anyway, thanks.
      quote:”In addition, the CIA no doubt has plans to introduce meth to the country. Meth cooking involves plumbing and heating needs. Ace is the place. It’s all about marketing.” unquote

      Indeed. It wouldn’t surprise me if ACE weren’t just another CIA front..hahahahaha. Wouldn’t surprise me if Hayden was on the ACE board of directors too. youbetcha 🙂

      10/15/13 4:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Meanwhile, the war back home goes badly for the Tea Party as Johnny Boehner is caught between The Rock and a hard head:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrjo9LbeyTQ

      10/16/13 11:01 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      9

      @Rich..

      These fucking clowns redefine dimwit. Laughingstock of the entire planet aside, if this shutdown doesn’t cause the voters to kick out every last schmuck in Congress…nothing will. However, I for one am hoping they allow the USG to collapse. The upside is..it would prevent the inevitable bloodbath civil war that is looming on the horizon.
      Speaking of threats..as I mentioned in the previous post about that other schmuck..Mr. ATF Toady Jones, look what the ATF just released…

      http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2013/10/john-dodson-your-bosses-would-like-to.html

      Another Great Moment in Monumental ATF Stupidity.
      At this rate, ole Toad won’t have to worry about impeachment..he’ll cause the entire ATF to be disbanded. Can’t wait till Issa get’s a load of this one too. I can see it now when Mr Toady tells them…”it was just a joke”. right. Maybe in his ATF parallel universe. I don’t think the committee will be laughing though.

      10/16/13 12:39 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      10

      For those who enjoyed a State Department career in Consular Affairs, I am pleased to report that Maura Harty’s Linked In profile states: “Results-oriented leader. Broad international experience. Outstanding reputation for integrity.”

      10/16/13 5:32 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      11

      quote“Results-oriented leader. Broad international experience. Outstanding reputation for integrity.”unquote
      Since I’ve never worked for the DoS before, I’m wondering why I’m expecting to hear a round of gut splitting laughter from the peanut gallery?

      10/16/13 7:01 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      12

      Peter writes of the (supposed) Ace Hardware in Afghanistan:

      The store as it stands is pictured above, and does look nice. … It’s almost as if they built a big shed, painted the Ace Hardware logo on the roof, and called it a day.

      I am reminded of Fernando on SNL, “It is better to LOOK good, than to be good.” As well, passing by all the defunct barns in WV last week with cute “Mail Pouch Tobacco” signs on it”, tho’ that brand has long passed into oblivion.

      In addition, you write,

      “The youngest U.S. soldiers were ten years old when we invaded Afghanistan right after 9/11 and most likely only have the vaguest idea what all has preceded their arrival in-country.

      That may be, but rest assured the then 10-year-old Afghani boys’ memories are not so short.

      10/16/13 10:11 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      13

      Hey, NSA, are you listening? Alexander the Grand Dumbbell is hanging it up.

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/16/nsa-director-keith-alexander-depart

      10/16/13 10:20 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      14

      Per wikipedia, Maura Harty also worked for S/S George Schultz. Is there someone in A Bureau who also did the same because there seems to be alot of favours done for those former officials, especially when they need their bacon pulled from any fires? Is it A Bureau who comes to their rescue?

      I also saw in the UK Guardian a link to Pierre Omidywar’s website (below) and he mentioned that he explored buying the Washington Post. Has anyone heard why he didnt buy the Post in the end? Will the Guardian and Greenwald both continue covering the Snowden Affair/NSA Controversy? The Guardian is going to be investigated?

      http://omidyargroup.com/pov/2013/10/16/my-next-adventure-in-journalism/#.Ul8jxBDBPh3

      10/17/13 12:09 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      15

      Maura was a special assistant to Schultz. Many of those folks are considered anointed FSOs who inherit some of their boss’ status. If the big shot liked you, s/he will often shepard you throughout your career.

      10/17/13 12:44 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      16

      Can someone please explain something to me.

      What part of State is..ahem..”governance”?
      Thanks

      10/17/13 7:25 AM | Comment Link

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