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October 2004
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Good News in Afghanistan?

Vin Suprynowicz Las Vegas Review-Journal properly ridicules the government’s drug war, focusing on the problems (or interpretation thereof), in Afghanistan:

A huge problem for — and with — the gang in charge in Washington these days is that they define many of their successes as problems, requiring ever more onerous applications of force and looted tax dollars to “solve” what’s already going fine.

In addition, they describe many of their real problems as “insoluble,” when the solutions are right in front of their eyes.

No, we’re not succeeding in creating a modern nation-state. But there is good news in Afghanistan: The State Department reports the country is on pace to produce a record opium poppy crop this year.

Yep. Good news. A thriving industry able to support the common worker.

Opium, of course, is one of God’s major gifts to man. The first book of the Bible tells us that God gave man every flower- and seed-bearing plant for his use, and few have proved more useful that the poppy, whose sap can be made into codeine and morphine, which ( along with that other Godsend, cocaine ) have relieved the pain and suffering of millions.

So how do the folks in Washington respond to the fact that happy Afghan farmers are once again making an honest living producing a crop which is a Godsend to mankind? …

Needless to say, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was first into the breach, announcing last month that “coalition forces” in Afghanistan will soon have another task to distract them from tracking down Osama bin Laden — burning poppy fields. Imagine how Americans would respond if helicopters full of Afghan warriors descended on Virginia and Kentucky, burning our tobacco crops. ( Tobacco is more toxic and slightly more addictive than the opiates, according to Dr. Andrew Weil of the University of Arizona, who studies such stuff. )

But of course, we have determined that certain drugs are arbitrarily termed “evil” and must be eradicated regardless of whether that’s possible or economically viable, or whether the eradication causes more problems.

Legalize all opium products, allow the Afghans to ship through normal channels at reasonable profits, and the criminals will lose their control over the trade and the farmers, both.

It would then make no more sense for terrorists and underworld figures to try and finance their truly evil enterprises through the opium trade than it would for them to go into the business of manufacturing and smuggling aspirin — a product which our fine German friends at Farben-Fabriken Bayer delayed introducing until 1899, the year after they introduced heroin, since their chemists at the time considered aspirin the more dangerous of the two formulations.

Legalize the poppy. Problem solved.

Excellent article. Common sense. Impossible for politicians to accept.

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