Pubdate: Mon, 11 Dec 2006
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Page: A18
Copyright: 2006 The Washington Post Company
Author: Robert Newman


Regarding the Dec. 3 news story "Afghanistan Breaks Records for Opium 
Production": The Post reported that "after the overthrow of the 
Taliban government by U.S. forces . . . the Bush administration said 
that keeping a lid on production was among its highest priorities." 
And yet the flow of opium, nearly eliminated by the Taliban just a 
few years ago, is greater than ever. If this defines American 
effectiveness in pursuing one of the country's "highest priorities," 
one can only imagine what our record looks like with respect to other goals.

Our failure in Afghanistan has made billions of dollars available to 
terrorists while fueling opiate addiction (and the closely related 
spread of HIV-AIDS) in the United States, the nations of the former 
Soviet Union and other countries worldwide.

The only way to protect ourselves and others is to rethink the 
zero-tolerance ideology we've clung to for decades, which guarantees 
the bad guys profits with which to carry out their stated intention 
to destroy us. Nobody thinks a change in course would be easy, but it 
seems irresponsible not to discuss one.


Director Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute of 
Beth Israel Medical Center

New York
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