Andrew Stuttaford at the Corner talks about throwing the drug warriors out of Afghanistan

Check out this exchange at the National Review’s conservative group blog “The Corner”
Andrew Stuttaford

Who is losing Afghanistan?
George W. Bush, that’s who. His watch. His administration. His incompetence. His arrogance. His failure to learn from failure.
I wish I could say that I was surprised by this latest report from Aghanistan, but I’m not:

“British officials are worried about the consequences of US proposals to eradicate Afghanistan’s opium poppy harvest, which include spraying the crops from the air, a policy it adopted in Colombia. The fear is that tough anti-narcotic measures now would alienate poor farmers who have no alternative livelihood and drive more Afghans into the hands of the Taliban. Such a policy would further endanger British troops, military commanders say. ”
As I’ve said time and time before, the decision by the Bush administration to prioritize the drug war ahead of the war against the Taliban is of course, madness. It’s time for the Brits to take a stand, and announce that either Bush’s drug warriors leave Afghanistan or Britain’s troops do. Ninety days would seem to be adequate warning.

Andrew adds more here
Then another Cornerite jumps in:
Michael Ledeen

I don’t suppose there’s any room for doubt in Andrew’s categorical denunciation of the anti-narcotics campaign in Afghanistan. If there were, I would point out that the terrorists, most certainly including the Taliban, are major narcotics traffickers, derive a great part of their income from the drug traffic, and are in cahoots with various mafias in the project.
Has anybody asked if the local growers are going to be reimbursed? Or do we take the Guardian and the Times as canonical? It’s bad, and that’s that.
Life is rarely so simple as that.

Ledeen has never been the sharpest tack in the box, and Stuttaford nails him.
Andrew Stuttaford

Michael, it’s not just the Times and The Guardian. As you very well know, newspaper after newspaper after newspaper (across the ideological spectrum) has reported on this idiocy (I’ve cited plenty on this Corner in previous posts). If you prefer, check with the Senlis folks (also previously cited on the Corner). They are on the ground. If you don’t like Senlis, try the British Army. I’ve previously quoted a number of its representatives on the Corner too, and they, Michael, are also on the ground, and they are doing their best while the Bush administration does its incompetent, contemptible worse.
As for your point about the Taliban being drug traffickers, well, I hate to tell you, but it actually makes mine. The reason that the Taliban is able to make so much money out of this trade is the Western interdiction of Afghan opium. Black markets are always very profitable. In that sense, the drug warriors are the jihadis’ best friend. Thanks for nothing, guys.
And I’m sorry, Michael, this *is* simple. Basic economics usually is.
The drug warriors need to be thrown out of Afghanistan, and fast, please.

Boy, it sure is nice to see a conservative who hasn’t drunk the cool-aid, and isn’t afraid to use things like economics, and… a brain.

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