[ExI] US Gives Up On Eradicating Afghanistan's Opium

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Sun Jun 28 04:29:57 UTC 2009

<http://therawstory.com/>US Gives Up On Eradicating Afghanistan's Opium

[My friend Stephan Schwartz comments:]

Years ago, when I was in government during the Viet Nam War, I was 
put on a committee whose focus was what to do about the drugs grown 
in the Gold Triangle. We were, at the time, spending tens of millions 
-- today it would be hundreds of millions -- on an eradication 
program that not only didn't work, but was alienating the locals. 
There was a CIA guy on the committee, and I asked him once over 
lunch, what did the locals get for their work? If memory serves he 
said the warlords, who controlled the whole thing made about $23 
million. I was stupefied, and at the next meeting I asked, why don't 
we just buy the damn stuff from the warlords, and turn it into legal 
medical morphine--of which we were then having trouble getting 
enough. An incredibly supercilious little functionary sent over by 
the White House pronounced, "We will never do such a thing. It is 
against Administration policy to buy illegally grown narcotics." I 
responded, but it would only cost a fraction of the money we are now 
spending, it would break the source linkage that was leading to the 
addiction of American servicemen, and people would stop hating us. 
Everyone looked away as if I had farted in church and the 
conversation rolled on. I was taken off the committee three days later.

I wonder what it would cost to buy all the opium in Afghanistan, and 
if we have learned anything at all in the intervening four decades.

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