An Afghanistan Fail:

When the US coalition invaded Afghanistan, along with the War On Terror, we brought along our totally failed War On Drugs. We did everything we thought possible to eradicate the poppy fields of Afghanistan…totally ignoring the fact that opium has a long history of cultivation in the area. We tried destroying it, bribing farmers to grow other crops, etc. But in no way did we do much to reduce opium production.

To make matters worse, the Taliban infiltrated the opium networks and made themselves the middlemen to export and distribute opium to the outside world. They essentially were financing their resistance to the NATO invasion via drug sales…so they were beating us at the War on Drugs as well as being terrorists.

And now, as we prepare to pull out our remaining troops, the UN announces that Afghanistan is harvesting a record crop.

I haven’t had a chance to go back and find the articles from 2008, but during that Presidential Campaign, the World Health Organization stated that they were suffering a shortage of opiate painkillers in Latin America and Africa. If my memory saves me right, they only had 80% of the opiates they needed for those areas.

So instead of trying to eradicate opium production, the better method would have been certifying opium poppy production and diverting it into the WHO’s opiate pain killer pipeline. The whole program would have reduced our costs in the war, removed a source of revenue from the Taliban, maintained the livelihoods of Afghan poppy farmers, provided much needed drugs to other third world countries and developed a rapport between the invading westerners and the local Afghan people.

But our ideologues don’t allow such world pragmatism…


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1 thought on “An Afghanistan Fail:

  1. Really thought-provoking post. Progressives and small “c” conservatives should work together on reforming drug policy as both understand prohibition to be a failure, more expensive than treatment, and worth the regulations that would lead to increased tax revenues. Britain’s Spectator (which is a must-read if you’re interested in real conservatism versus the co-opted-by-oligarchs version that dominates the American right-wing) and the Economist both regularly attack Prohibition. Wisconsin’s state Democrats could create buzz, differentiation and carve out a meaningful stance that would address the tragedy of the inner city by taking this on. But doubtless the state DPW needs a poll telling them it won’t offend too many independents first.

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