Pubdate: Tue, 17 Oct 2006
Source: Hindustan Times (India)
Copyright: 2006, Hindustan Times Ltd.


Before George W Bush's War on Terror, there was Richard Nixon's War 
on Drugs ("America's public enemy No. 1," he had said). But then, 
Canada, America's 'higher' neighbour, always had a confused attitude 
towards drugs. If in 1977, Rolling Stone Keith Richards was famously 
arrested by the Mounties for heroin and cocaine possession, only two 
years later Canada's First Lady Margaret Trudeau was caught smoking 
cannabis with the same Richards and his band mates. With this legacy, 
Canadian Nato troops in Afghanistan must be forgiven for being 
overwhelmed on stumbling across what has been reported as 
"impenetrable forests of 10-feet high marijuana plants".

While America is trying to grow potted democracy all over the world, 
Canada realises that uprooting age-old systems and habits is not the 
way to go about things. So when General Rick Hiller, Chief of the 
Canadian Defence Staff, stated in Ottawa last week that the Taliban 
were using forests of cannabis sativa as cover, we understand why his 
troops refrained from conducting a 'scorched earth' policy. Well, 
they did try burning them. But apparently too much moisture in the 
plants made them impervious to flames.

One suspects that because burning marijuana usually leads to the 
inhalation of its smoke, which in turn leads to the chemical compound 
tetrahydrocannabinol reacting with the brain, Gen. Hiller did not 
quite tell us the whole story. But then, one just wonders whether the 
Taliban, hiding in the bushes, smoke their own camouflage
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