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January 2011
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Hearts and minds

If I wanted to win the hearts and minds of farmers in Latin America and Afghanistan, I probably wouldn’t start by destroying their fields and removing their only hope of feeding their families. – Guitherisms

Afghan campaign caused $100 million damage: inquiry

(Reuters) – Afghan and foreign forces have caused more than $100 million damage to fruit crops and homes during security operations in southern Kandahar province, a government delegation said on Tuesday.

Just as the harvest was about to begin.

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24 comments to Hearts and minds

  • kaptinemo

    An’ whatcha wanna bet that those non-drug agriculture products were planted as part of the (perennially fruitless) ‘crop substitution’ schema that the prohibs are always trying? That, in spite of the fact that anyone with an above-room-temperature IQ can see that opium and hashish are so much more profitable?

    ‘Hearts and minds’, huh? Same old lesson, the one never learned…

  • claygooding

    I still say that the ONDCP could buy the opium crop directly from the farmers for less than they will spend trying to stop it after it leaves Afg.
    They could buy it and napalm it right there,thus removing 90% of the worlds opium production.
    They could even sell tickets to the yearly burning if they did it right.

  • malcolm kyle

    There’ll be no easy solutions as long as we still have a line to draw.

  • Ben Mann

    Malcolm, that article is breathtaking. The author effectively outlines strong arguments for legalization, and offers not a single argument for prohibition. He simply says “…But we still have a line to draw.”

    Good god, this is what it has come to. The day when members of congress actually debate this issue is drawing nigh.

  • cunning stunts

    Too bad whining in comments won’t ever change anything. There will always be enough money for the drug war they will just print some more. Maybe the one® will legalize everything and the drug war will end? Switch hands and smoke another one. P.S. cry in the echo chamber all you want the drug war will last for a thousand years if need be.

  • kaptinemo

    As anyone with brains can surmise, the destructive effects of prohibition recognize no national boundaries.

    Bit by Bit, a Mexican Police Force Is Eradicated

    Well worth the read. Particularly the bits of how the remaining police forces have sought to make themselves LESS threatening to the cartels.

    Yes, you read that right.

    “Some towns consider themselves so vulnerable that they have gone out of their way not to antagonize criminals. Believing that those involved in organized crime would be less inclined to harm women — and because fewer men are willing to take the job — local officials have appointed a handful of women in the past year to senior police ranks in small cities and towns here in Chihuahua, the country’s most violent state.”

  • darkcycle

    Ah. You’re new here. The legalizers here on this site are the ones you need to fear. We’re the ones filing initiatives, writing to Congress, and otherwise driving the new conversation in this country. This isn’t whining, this is a strategy session. Relax, there’s nothing you can do about it. Least of all trolling us. Why don’t you try a little constructive conversation. If legalization of drugs bothers you, we’d like to know why, and maybe we can find some common ground. Wanna add something?

  • kaptinemo

    DarkCycle, we’ve had trolls here before, several times. No need to engage them, as they offer nothing but semantic nulls and incoherency. You know, like what Shakespeare said about ‘tales told by an idiot’ being ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’?

    They got bored and left after the regulars ignored them. This one will, too.

  • Shap

    So few drug warriors drop by here and when they do, not a single substantive argument is put forth. How disappointing.

  • kaptinemo

    Shap, the way I see it, their communication prowess is about on the same level as this.

    Actually, “Gumby” does a better job. Simple messages from simple minds rendered in simple language. Drugwarriors are just too verbose…

  • vicky vampire

    Malcolm article LINK stop the drive to legalize drugs is wow excellent. They say all these subtances are causing heart palpitations and paranoia pleases Lately even without being high or on painkillers,cannabis or vitamins,amino acids etc I take there is plenty to be paranoid about in this country everyday cause are leaders on both sides are so crazy and damn confusing and calculating about f**king up every ones life one way or another I’m not surprised more of us are not more paranoid with this Monstrous Nanny state breathing down everyone’s neck every fricking hour and in Afghanistan yeah let’s just keep destroying crops while we got crazy flooding going on everywhere,higher and higher food prices,and Russia had has some droughts and lots of birds and doves falling out of sky just a thought yeah not trying to be to paranoid! ha ha

  • Sick........!

    Paranoid no, angery yes. Lots of people out there angery. Just look around the world…hard to miss. Theres a reason for it ….greed, power. Prohibition is just a small part of it, just a taste of the whole problem facing us all. Look closely, its coming to Amreica soon. The greed is getting close to critical mass.

    Prohibition will be one of many that will fall.

  • Duncan20903

    Drugs are bad, mm-kay? So we made them illegal. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that being against the law proves that drugs are bad. How could anyone think otherwise?

  • Servetus

    Pamela Constable has a piece in the WaPo about the resiliency and elasticity of the opium trade in Afghanistan, among other things.

    Seems that when anti-drug efforts make a small dent in opiate availability, the price goes up, thereby making the business all the more lucrative and attractive to Afghan farmers.

  • A great title Pete and draws on a WWVN parallel. The movie Hearts and Minds was an Academy Award winning film against the war – Hearts and Minds and was perhaps the final (and fatal) stroke against the war.

    Our media is so remiss in not covering Prohibition as a topic unto itself. Forget the discussion about drugs and their harms (comparatively the “drugs harms” are way down the list of the ways we hurt ourselves) we need to ATTACK Prohibition. We need to beat that beast until it bleeds and is rendered null and void. Winning hearts and minds means showing the public what Prohibition II has done to us. Just as the shooting deaths in Arizona shocked the public so too would a well produced, graphic and accurate representation of how the WO(s)D is attacking us under the guise of law and at the hands of corrupt policies, carpetbagging bureaucrats and war profiteers.

    Clay, what you say about buying the crop is almost right. Familiarize yourself with the Senlis Council proposals for Afghanistan (broadly covered in Europe and Canada but hardly ever mentioned in the US press). Their proposal calls for legalizing Afghanistan’s opium crop and using it to produce opioid meds ( there is a shortage in 2nd and 3rd world nations) just like happened in Turkey (think of the Gene Hackman film “French Connection” as it was about the heroin coming out of Turkey thru Europe).

  • malcolm kyle

    You’re right Nicole Brochu, you’re so smart. It’s been a big mistake comparing cannabis to alcohol

    The comments here make me proud to be bipedal.

    • pfroehlich2004

      I am extremely disappointed by Ms. Brochu’s rather misleading column as we recently had the following email exchange in response to a previous article:

      Hi Nicole,

      I would like to point out several factual errors made by Dr. Joel Kaufman:

      1) “We see that marijuana far outranks other substances as the drug of choice among Broward County teenagers.”

      According to the Monitoring the Future study, alcohol is approximately twice as popular as marijuana with American teens. Unless Broward County teens are substantially different from teens in the rest of the county, this statement must be false. (Data available here: http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/10data/pr10t3.pdf).

      2) “Marijuana as well as other drugs are becoming more and more accessible in schools and in the community for youth.”

      According to the Monitoring the Future study, the percentage of 12th-graders reporting marijuana as “fairly easy or very easy to get” has actually declined somewhat, from 88.7% in 1996 to 82.1% in 2010. Moreover, since 1975 this figure has remained between 80% and 90%. (Data available here: http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/10data/pr10t13.pdf)

      3) “Parents of teens…grew up in a different generation with a “different marijuana,” one that was considerably less potent with much lower THC levels.”

      Aside from the absurdity of suggesting that hippies smoking pot at Woodstock were somehow getting less high than their kids do today, data from the federal government’s Marijuana Potency Monitoring Project show these claims to be highly exaggerated. THC levels are higher, but not remarkably so (http://briancbennett.com/charts/fed-data/thc-content/index.htm).

      4) “Data shows that in almost every state that has passed a medical marijuana law, youth have increased the frequency of marijuana use in the past 30 days while their perceptions of the harmfulness of marijuana have decreased.”

      Trends in teen use show no difference between medical marijuana and non-medical marijuana states. Since 1996, teen use has risen, fallen, and risen again in all states, regardless of medical marijuana laws. (http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=001557)

      I would also like to point out that Dr. Kaufman is a psychologist, not a medical doctor or a scientist. For a science-based perspective, I would encourage you to contact the International Center for Science in Drug Policy (www.icsdp.org).

      Best regards,
      Anders Froehlich

      (Her response)
      I appreciate your correcting the record. I plan to follow up with a column of my own within the next week, so these facts will come in handy. If I need any other statistics, I’ll make sure to look up these reports and follow up with you with any questions.

      Thanks, Anders.

      Obviously, she has no interest in providing a balanced view of the facts at hand. Her talking points on the Netherlands are straight from the Drug Czar’s playbook.

      Has anybody on here ever successfully persuaded a journalist to provide more evidence-based coverage of drug policy issues?

  • Dante

    Vicky:

    One word for you: Punctuation.

  • Bruce

    Just reading of the Three Body Gravitational Assist principal used in spaceflight. Wooohooo our actions DO have far reaching consequences. Just the act of using a moon to boost 13 ton spacecraft speed by 800 ms (Cassini) relative to the 3rd (primary) body affects the equilibrium of the solar system bodies involved nudging them by centimeters over hundreds of thousands of years. Not much,,, but wow, indeed.

    http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/basics/index.php

  • vicky vampire

    Pardon me, Dante Punctuation not one of my Fortes.
    Oh and yes I did go to College you’d think I would do better.
    My daughter gets after me about it, Oh well I quess I’ll appear a bit moronic in this matter grammar what’s that HA HA.

  • vicky vampire

    Reading over at NORML HEADLINES
    Oakland County Raids Medical Marijauna seizes $20,ooo
    from Medical Marijuana entrepreneur,greed and intimidation will be the constant playbook for these authorities no matter how every couple of months slowly but surely more dispensaries
    are opened
    Also I;m sure in the next couple of years cannabis will be decriminalized and added has Medical Marijuana states no matter,
    they the prohib authorities will still be Grabbing funds and using intimidation. has long has they can get away with it.

  • darkcycle

    Duncan, check yer facebook.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    .
    Medical cannabis is allegedly distributed to high school children inside the schoolby cafeteria worker:

    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_17097981

    I don’t know about you guys, but when I was in high school the only way you could eat the dreck that they served in the cafeteria was to take advantage of the appetite increasing properties of cannabis. I think the accused was simply showing the childrens mercy. School children need to eat a balanced diet and shouln’t be skipping lunch.

  • vicky vampire

    Here’s link to article I’M sure Pete might post has main story another same shit different day.
    http://reason.com/blog/2011/01/14/iowa-legislator-seeks-to-crimi#comments
    Maybe of course I doubt it unless,we all go through a major paradigm shift ,I’m seriously folks will we ever legalize adulthood ever. At least Portugal is attempting it a bit

    Surprised this legislation from a democrat,its usually a
    Repulican like those friendly Tea totaling Mormons conservatives in Utah where I’m at that come up with this non-sense,
    Oh forgive me they don’t even drink tea either.