• The Drug Dilemma in Afghanistan

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    As
    you probably know, when the Taliban was in power opium production
    in
    Afghanistan was
    virtually non-existent. However, since the U.S. military overran
    the country, ousted the Taliban, and oversaw the election of a pro-American
    president (shades of the Soviet satellites!), the drug trade has
    been flourishing.

    Now
    the Bush administration, facing the consequences of its own acts,
    is caught in a dilemma. Does it spray poison from airplanes to wipe
    out the opium crop (estimated to be worth $7–10 billion this
    year), or does it stay out of the picture, allow the drugs to sneak
    into America, and keep the Afghan warlords (who profit from the
    opium) happy so that they support the pro-American Afghan president?
    The dilemma is made even worse by the fact that parliamentary elections
    are coming up in April. Wiping out the opium crops will likely hurt
    the pro-American candidates.

    The
    Los Angeles Times provided
    an excellent summary
    of the "Afghan Quandary" last
    Sunday. A former UN advisor uttered the unmentionable truth about
    the new satellite countries the U.S. is creating: "You tell
    them, ‘You’re voting for a new democratic country,’ while their
    government is allowing foreigners to come in and destroy their livelihood?"

    The
    U.S. administration’s world-reformers are facing a negative choice:
    one in which either option is bad, the only question being which
    is the least bad.

    This
    dilemma is also symbolic of what happens when you charge into a
    foreign country with no knowledge of its history, its culture, or
    its aspirations. Sooner or later, it’s obvious that you’ve made
    a tragic mistake – but the mistake goes relatively unnoticed
    by the public, because meanwhile you’ve charged into another country.

    Most
    likely the Bush folks will decide to solve the Afghan problem in
    the classic American political way – postpone the crop eradication
    until after the April elections.

    January
    13, 2005

    Harry Browne [send
    him mail
    ], the author of Why
    Government Doesn’t Work

    and many other books, was the Libertarian presidential candidate
    in 1996 and 2000. See his website.

    Harry
    Browne Archives

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