To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Friday, September 22, 2006

At Least This War is Going Smoothly

There has been some smart commentary and news of late chronicling the correlation between the steadily declining situation in Afghanistan and our exportation of the War on Drugs to their region. This may come as a shock to some, but Afghanistan is a nation with very little natural wealth. Lots of mountains and dirt, but relatively little in the way of resources or goods that people actually want. However, one good that people do want and that Afghans can supply in massive quantities is opium. And supplying it in massive quantities is exactly what they are doing; some 6 tons expected this year. Full scale poppy cultivation resumed after the Taliban was removed from power to meet the demands of the global heroin market. This of course has drawn the ire of the US and UK and has led to a massive eradication effort, focused mainly in southern Afghanistan.

The obvious solution to the problem is to eradicate the black market for opium, rather than eradicating the crops themselves. But that would require legalization on a domestic level for nations feeding the global demand for heroin like the US and UK. Since most would rate the chances of worldwide legalization of heroin somewhere in the range of non-existent to improbable, another more realistic option would be to allow Afghans to sell their opium on the legal worldwide market to help fill a void in the global supply of opium for pharmaceutical purposes. This at least makes more sense than going around and destroying the only source of income that many of these farmers have.

Check out Andrew Studdaford over at NRO here as well as an article by Johann Hari here. And on the flip side, some examples of what we shouldn’t do in Afghanistan, here and here