“bullet” Misha Glenny: A dangerous fiction
The time has come to shout from every rooftop that the war on drugs hands billions of pounds on a plate to criminal syndicates and terrorist organisations every year. Senior policymakers, police commanders and politicians have all told me in private that the war on drugs does nothing to halt the flow of product to market. But they are all too frightened to speak out against the prevailing orthodoxy.
“bullet” Thanks to Daksya for the link to this 7 page whine by Thomas Schweich (former State Department coordinator of counternarcotics) in the New York Times: Is Afghanistan a Narco-State?. The thing is, I don’t doubt the accuracy of much of what he says, but the only reality he can see is drug war. His five-point plan at the end of the article is quite frankly, absurd.
- Inform President Karzai that he must stop protecting drug lords and narco-farmers or he will lose U.S. support. Karzai should issue a new decree of zero tolerance for poppy cultivation during the coming growing season. He should order farmers to plant wheat, and guarantee today‰s high wheat prices. Karzai must simultaneously authorize aggressive force-protected manual and aerial eradication of poppies in Helmand and Kandahar Provinces for those farmers who do not plant legal crops.
- Order the Pentagon to support this strategy. Position allied and Afghan troops in places that create security pockets so that Afghan counternarcotics police can arrest powerful drug lords. Enable force-protected eradication with the Afghan-set goal of eradicating 50,000 hectares as the benchmark.
- Increase the number of D.E.A. agents in Kabul and assist the Afghan attorney general in prosecuting key traffickers and corrupt government officials from all ethnic groups, including southern Pashtuns.
- Get new development projects quickly to the provinces that become poppy-free or stay poppy free. The north should see significant rewards for its successful anticultivation efforts. Do not, however, provide cash to farmers for eradication.
- Ask the allies either to help in this effort or stand down and let us do the job.
Update: See Barnett Rubin at Informed Comment: Global Affairs for a good critique: Assume the Existence of a State in Afghanistan
“bullet” Tousawlaw catches Margaret Wente answering questions about her propaganda series in the Globe and Mail. At one point she says”
Marijuana legalization seems so easy! But it‰s very vexed.Here‰s one part of the problem. If we legalize it, someone is going to make a huge amount of money from promoting and selling it. Who do you want that to be? Private enterprise, like Big Tobacco? Or your government? Do you want your government shilling weed the way it does the lottery?
Ummm, someone already is making a huge profit promoting and selling it. Is that who Ms. Wente thinks should be doing so?
“bullet” In Athens, Greece, Anna Korakaki was arrested for ordering hemp protein from a United States health food company and charged with four counts of criminal drug possession.
The day of Anna Korakaki’s arrest, her friends went to a local health food store in Athens to purchase a loaf of sprouted hemp bread (meaning that whole hemp seeds had been imported to Greece, then sprouted and ground for baking). The bread was brought before the judge to demonstrate that hemp foods are available in Greece, which seemed to shock the judge, but made no difference to his thinking towards Anna’s parole.
“bullet” Marijuana Polic Project has a blog.