Friday, March 25, 2005

Stepping up the war on third world farmers

No, not through agricultural subsidies (this time), but by cracking down on opium poppy farmers in Afghanistan. This side of the drug war probably makes me even more sick to my stomach than the jailing of innocent people for choosing to put a certain substance in their body. If terrorists obtaining money from the drug trade is a legitimate concern, then focus on that - don't try and take away one of the few means of making a living for many families in a poverty-stricken country. Amazingly, the U.S. military even seems to realize this as they promote this front:

Pentagon and military officials caution that support for the coalition's overall mission in Afghanistan could become unhinged if American forces are seen eradicating a crop that is the only livelihood for many Afghans, and they stress the importance of allowing Afghan forces to take the lead.

"We know the military is not the best tool for fighting drugs," said one senior Pentagon official. "We have the best troops in the world. We did in days what the Soviets could not do in a decade. But this is not about burning crops or destroying labs. Eventually it is about finding a better option for Afghans who have to feed their families."

Yes, support for the coalition's mission to keep drugs from Americans is what our primary concern should be when firebombing the crops of farmers (I apologize if they aren't doing this in Afghanistan, but evidence from South America indicates it could be part of the package). What is completely ridiculous about this whole situation is that the easiest and most effective way to keep drug money from terrorists warloads would be to LEGALIZE THEM. But no, that's not on the table.

I'd been feeling pretty uninspired about this issue lately (even while having to supply a urine sample for work a few weeks ago), but my passion against the drug war has been renewed.


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