“We are out of the eradication business”

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Will

Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Mopey Duns
    Ignored
    says:

    Given that the street value is so much higher than the outlay to purchase the poppies, would a move by the US to buy up the poppy crop simply be met by a higher offer to the farmers from the drug suppliers? Or is the hope that, given a legal avenue through which to sell their poppy crops, the farmers would forgo the potentially greater illegal revenue stream?Report

  2. Avatar ThatPirateGuy
    Ignored
    says:

    Stop making sense.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    What disturbs me is the following assumption:

    Other country is growing poppies for opium and associateds production and we have the right to burn these poppies to the ground.

    It’s like *NOBODY* even questions this.

    What gives us the right to burn these flowers in this other country?

    How freakin’ different is this from crazy Muslim police in charge of preserving virtue and preventing vice from smashing pictures of one’s family?Report

  4. Avatar Mark Thompson
    Ignored
    says:

    I can think of one pretty obvious reason why this proposal has no chance of going anywhere. The campaign commercial writes itself.

    “President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are taking hundreds of millions of dollars from our military in Afghanistan and handing it over to heroin manufacturers. On November 2, send President Obama and his allies in Congress a message that Americans will not tolerate an administration that takes from our troops to give to terrorist-supporting Islamic drug lords.”

    Actually, that’s not remotely senstationalistic enough, but you get the idea.Report

    • Avatar Roque Nuevo in reply to Mark Thompson
      Ignored
      says:

      @Mark Thompson, How about, “President Obama has found a way to guarantee the nation’s supply of painkillers for hospitals and hospices, and to hit the Taliban’s funding where it hurts. He has ordered the US military to buy up Afghanistan’s opium production for domestic use, thereby taking the drug off the illegal market. Drug companies will bid on the new opium supply and the narcotics will be in hospitals by next fall. Afghan farmers will now have a business relationship with the US, instead of with the Taliban.” You get the idea.

      We don’t have to spend the money, but we can sell the opium to drug companies. I’m sure there’s a way to make it cost-effective, especially when there’s a war on.

      Will the Republicans be able to criticize Obama for getting hospitals and hospices a cheaper supply of opiates, using smartough policy to fight the drug war, while hitting the economics of the Taliban insurgency? I really don’t think so.Report

  5. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    Well it’s hopeful. I’ll believe in sensibility from our policy makers on this front when I see it and not before but at least they’re making some intelligent noises which is a damn sight better than things were.Report

  6. Avatar Chris Dierkes
    Ignored
    says:

    While I agree (in principle) with the policy, it’s important to remember the various insurgencies in Af-Pak (including but not limited to Taliban) have multiple sources of funding. Kidnapping, local taxation, charities mostly from The Gulf, weapons smuggling. Drugs is only a slice of their income stream.Report

    • Avatar Jim in reply to Chris Dierkes
      Ignored
      says:

      @Chris Dierkes,
      Drugs are the major souorce of taliban income in the southern provinces.

      Other sources vary:

      Kidnapping, local taxation – these work only until the growers, newly wealthy with money form thier American customer, buys more guns and gunmen than the taliban can afford.

      Gulf charities – these are small vulnerable states, and not known for caring about civil rights, so a little pressure would go a long away to stopping the flow of love to the Taliban.Report

  7. Avatar Katherine
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m very glad to see the US is finally adopting a relatively same policy on poppy-growing in Afghanistan and stopping eradication. I wish they would do the same in Latin America with regards to coca, but I suppose that’s too much to hope for.Report

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