Pubdate: Wed, 08 Nov 2006
Source: Rolling Stone (US)
Copyright: 2006 Straight Arrow Publishers Company, L.P.
Author: Tim Dickinson


This Los Angeles Times op-ed about dealing with the degeneration of
Afghanistan into a terror/narco state presents one of the most
interesting arguments I've read all year:

The solution is simple. Instead of destroying Afghanistan's most
valuable resource, Western governments should buy it outright and
resell it to producers of legal opiate-based painkillers on the global
market. Instead of confronting Afghan farmers about their crop, our
representatives should be approaching them with hard cash.

This has been successfully tried before. In the early 1970s, the Nixon
administration began to demand that the opium farmers of southern
Turkey destroy their crops. Every attempt at destruction " carried out
by reluctant Turkish prime ministers coerced with threats of cuts in
U.S. military aid " failed. Eventually, Turkey was considered to be
such a crucial Cold War ally that the U.S. granted it an exception. So
Turkey joined India as a legal supplier of opiates for pain-control
purposes, and it remains so today. Isn't Afghanistan even more
important today than Turkey was in the 1970s?

It is a strange truth that if President Bush really wants to live up
to his rhetoric about saving Afghanistan, he must urgently launch the
biggest drug deal in history. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake