Just maybe the
international narco squad should hire experienced Taliban veterans,
since they have the drill down . . . President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai says the
opium based drug trade is damaging the country's economy, reputation
and national security. He says: "his government has tried
unsuccessfully to deal with the problem, and he made repeated pleas
in his speech for greater international help." How about explaining
when all that foreign help is administered, the volume of drug
shipments hit record levels?
What are the
economics of a poppy crop? Ask a local for the answer. Ali managed to harvest
seven kilograms of raw opium this year. At a price of about $300 a
kilo, he earned almost $2100. In Europe 0.700 grams of pure heroin
is worth €70,000 after it is refined from his seven kilograms of raw
opium. What is the saying, value added, from your innovative middle
the trade reveals that the central prison in Kunduz has but one
prisoner arrested for drug-dealing, while brand new jeeps with
tinted glass windows speed by without any of the policemen so much
as raising a hand to flag them down.
Drug agencies in
Britain and other western European countries are alarmed at the
quantities of heroin from Afghanistan. So what is the response from
authorities? Initiatives include a program by Customs and Excise to set
up mobile detection units to trap heroin shipments into Kabul and
efforts to encourage the Afghan army to play a greater role in
destroying crops. DFID has also allocated £20m to schemes to
encourage the growth of kitchen gardening and poultry farming to
replace poppy fields.
According to the
Russians, they blame NATO. Sergei Ivanov said
Afghanistan was now producing nine times the quantity of drugs it
did under the Taliban. "It is understandable that by allowing drug
peddling in Afghanistan, the [Nato] alliance ensures loyalty of
warlords on the ground and of some Afghan leaders". At the Bonn
Conference shortly after the fall of the Taliban regime, the British
were given the task of stopping the supply. Their approach favors
the burning of poppy fields and destroying the drug labs. The U.S.
supports "slash and burn" tactics, but Berlin has a different
approach. The German Society for Technical
Cooperation (GTZ), proposes that the cultivation of
wheat, wine, fruit or spices could well replace the production of
heroin as a source of making a living for Afghans. "We have spoken
with farmers. Many would stop growing opium if they could survive by
producing other products".
WOW what a deal!
Common sense would conclude that simply giving a replacement income
to the entire population would be cheaper than the counterfeit war
to stop opium. Despite, the savings from importing poison, Western
Europe would recoup the costs of the social destruction from the
drug culture. Nevertheless, that graceful solution would displace
the profit and leverage that the unholy alliance for fine tuning
dependent addicts and keeping the masses docile and helpless. The
elementary truth is that governments have no desire to eliminate
drug usage. Anyone remember the lessons of the Opium War? Another
fine example of British global benevolence, that the Chinese are not
inclined to forgive easily.
This time the
targets are the domestic depressed. With the rewards of the welfare
state, existence is an obligatory queue in the dole line. The
ancillary joy of life means you need to serve the pusher or the
ecstasy is withheld. Once again the essential question: Where is the
benefit for native citizens from an interventionist international
foreign policy? The farmer Ali says: "We’re forced to plant opium",
in order for his wife and eleven children to survive the long bitter
winter of Afghanistan.
Well, a wintry
season has civilized societies in its grip. The bitter cold will
become a glacier that freezes any hope for a spring rebirth. The
fleeting rush of warmth from ingestion carries permanent scars of
injection. Not only does the body die a slow death, but the essence
of the society is ripped from the souls of the productive.
Governments could stop the trade in drugs if they wished. Ask who
benefits most from the trade? The permanent hoax and public show to
stop the importation of drugs has provided cover for a more
insidious dependency. When you cash that government check, ask what
price did you really pay for the joy from that
SARTRE is the pen name of a reformed, former political
operative. This pundit's formal instruction in History, Philosophy
and Political Science served as training for activism, on the staff
of several politicians and in many campaigns. He is the content
liaison for Ether Zone.
SARTRE can be
reached at: mailto:%20BATR@sartre.info