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April 2004
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Can our government be any more stupid?

Yes. From the Daily Telegraph:

The Bush administration took the highly unusual step of sending a senior official to Congress to chastise Britain, its closest ally in the war on terrorism, for dragging its feet in the fight against drugs.

Robert Charles, the assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement, said Britain was being too squeamish about eradicating poppy fields before Afghan farmers had found an alternative source of crops and income.

“Our point of disagreement, and I put it very directly,” said Mr Charles, “is that we believe that if there is a heroin poppy that needs to be eradicated, we shouldn’t be picking and choosing, we shouldn’t be delaying, waiting for an alternative revenue stream to become available.”

He said: “Our priority should not be some kind of misplaced sympathy for someone who will have to do a little bit more work [to grow other, less-lucrative crops, such as wheat or barley].”

First of all, the government completely fails to understand the economics of the drug trade in Afghanistan, and we’re having plenty of trouble of our own figuring out how to deal with the Afghans (see this article from LastOneSpeaks to get a picture of it.)
Then the absolute condescension by Charles in that last paragraph is downright offensive. The notion that the Afghans are only growing opium because they’re too lazy to grow a real crop is stupid. Oh, and pissing off our ally? Yeah, that’s gotta help.

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