Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Make a drug deal with Afghanistan - Los Angeles Times

David Seaton's News Links
Warning: I am very revisionist. For example I'm probably one of the few people in the whole world that truly believe that Woodrow Wilson's bringing the USA into the First World War, which was headed for a stalemate, that probably would have been followed by the chastened Europeans signing an equitable peace treaty, something as positive as the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 which ended the Thirty Years War, led directly to an Austrian clochard becoming the dictator of Europe's most advanced and powerful country in 1933, which in turn led directly to the Holocaust. So, with that in mind you are free to take with several grains of salt my advice that the less the USA ever meddles in other people's business, the better for the other people and the better for the USA. DS

Abstract: Jamilla Niazi is a 40-year-old woman with a freckly face and high cheekbones.(...) To jihadis, Niazi has committed an intolerable offense: She is the head teacher of a school for girls. "The Taliban have come back," says the aid worker with Niazi. "They control this area now." The night before our conversation, they burned down a school in nearby Nabili, and Taliban fighters even planted a landmine in the playground of another girls' school. They may be coming for Niazi next. One main thing has brought the Taliban back to life to terrorize Afghanistan's women: drugs. Or, more accurately, George W. Bush's war on them. This summer, Emmanuel Reinert, executive director of the Senlis Council, an independent, Brussels-based think tank, commissioned more than 30 researchers to ask why so many southern Afghans were turning to the Taliban when they had cheered their defeat just five years ago. He found that "the Taliban revival is directly, intimately related to the [poppy] crop eradication program. It could not have happened if the U.S. was not aggressively destroying crops. This is the single biggest reason Afghans turned against the foreigners." The Afghan people are rebelling because the U.S. government is currently committed to destroying 60% of their economy. In the name of the "war on drugs," a U.S. corporation, Dyncorp, is being paid to barge into the fields of some of the poorest people in the world and systematically destroy their only livelihood.(...) There is an alternative to this disastrous spiral. The world is suffering from a shortage of legal opiates. The World Health Organization describes it as "an unprecedented global pain crisis." About 80% of the world's population has almost no access to these painkillers at all. Even in developed countries, for cancer care alone there is an unmet annual need for 550 metric tons more opium to make morphine. Afghan farmers continue to produce the stuff, only to be made into criminals because of it. Meanwhile, in a Kabul hospital, half the patients who need opiates are thrashing about in agony because they can't get them, while in fields only a few miles away opium crops are being hacked to pieces. The solution is simple. Instead of destroying Afghanistan's most valuable resource, Western governments should buy it outright and resell it to producers of legal opiate-based painkillers on the global market.(...) It is a strange truth that if President Bush really wants to live up to his rhetoric about saving Afghanistan, he must urgently launch the biggest drug deal in history. Niazi knows what will happen if he doesn't. In a low, sad voice, she says, "My school will be destroyed forever." She pauses. "All women love their freedom. Who wants to be a prisoner and to be illiterate? Not Afghan women…. You promised you would not let this happen to us again. You promised." READ ALL


Fred Ludd said...

Links for "Nouriel Roubini" and "European Tribune" are damaged.

Anonymous said...

Juan Cole's link got me here too. Goodie for me.

For this to ever happen, the Bush adminstration would have to care about women, which will never happen. Plus this adminstration's drug policies (like previous adminstrations') feed the military fetishism of our public safety officers which pays long-term dividends in the authoritarian tango (amongst other systems of obligation).