Pubdate: Mon, 12 May 2008
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Sacramento Bee
Note: Does not publish letters from outside its circulation area.
Author: Ron Dale


Re "Why's opium rife in Afghanistan?" letter, May 5: What the author 
does not understand is that the poppies in Afghanistan are grown by 
poor farmers and not by drug lords. These farmers are mostly simple 
people who are just trying to make enough money to feed their families.

Yes, they do sell their poppies to drug lords and I agree this is big 
problem. But the long-term solution is not to go in and simply 
destroy their crops. Imagine how you would feel if a foreign power 
destroyed your livelihood and left your family destitute.

Destroying their crops will either convert them to terrorism or make 
them allies of the terrorist. We want to make them our allies. We 
need to explain that using poppies is very bad in our culture, like 
using alcohol is in their culture. We need to work with them to 
change their poppy-based economy into some other profitable crop 
system where poppies are outlawed, even if we have to provide price supports.

Developing mutual respect will help us win the war on terror. Making 
new enemies to get rid of existing enemies will not make us safer, 
and it won't be cheaper.

- - Ron Dale, Folsom
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