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April 2007
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Afghanistan continuing to force people to think

With the situation in Afghanistan continuing to fail dramatically, more players are coming to the realization that a solution may require something other than pursuing the same old drug war. What an idea!
The British MPs have been pushing for some time now for adopting the Senlis Council’s proposal to buy the opium and turn it into medicine, and now Tony Blair may even be considering it.

The Prime Minister has ordered a review of his counter-narcotics strategy – including the possibility of legalising some poppy production – after an extraordinary meeting with a Tory MP on Wednesday, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.

Other stories indicated that NATO is interested as well.
The Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which is doing some great work out there, is not supporting the sudden interest in the Senlis proposal (Why ‘legalising’ Afghan opium for medicine is a non-starter), but misses the point. While I agree that the Senlis proposal is not a silver bullet, it provides a spring board to considering alternatives to the brute force drug war approach. And that’s good.
And now today Glenn Reynolds approvingly links to radical ideas:

MICKEY KAUS ON AFGHANISTAN AND OPIUM:

“A simpler, more promising solution to the poppy harvest would seem to be Christopher Hitchens’: legalize it and tax it. And, presumably, let the Afghans sell it to whomever they want. The price of heroin would fall. There would be more addicts. But fewer American British soldiers would have to die in Afghanistan–and we might actually win the war they’re dying in.”

Prioritizing the Drug War over the actual war seems like a dreadful mistake. When we interviewed Col. David Enyeart of Task Force Phoenix in Afghanistan a few weeks ago, he dodged the question of how much harm our policies there were doing, saying basically that it wasn’t his guys who were involved in the drug-war stuff. But it seems pretty clear that it’s a problem.

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