CNN writes today about the difficulty caused by Afghanistan’s reliance on opium as a cash crop.
Afghani opium production isn’t a problem for the United States, it’s an opportunity. Here’s how.
The Taliban runs on opium profits, extorted from local farmers in a protection racket. The farmers grow poppies because they’re just about the only thing the crappy soil can support that’s worth a damn. Without killing them all, we are not going to stop either the farmers from growing poppies or the Taliban from extorting the farmers. Take that as a given.
We should purchase each farmer’s entire output of opium poppies each year for a price double the going market rate. We should pay Xe (nee Blackwater) to provide protection for the farmers and their fields. We should take delivery of the poppies and process them into opium, morphine or whatever. What we don’t need, we burn.
We pull our troops out of Afghanistan, leaving it to fend for itself. If Afghanistan can’t get its crap together in ten years, it’s not our problem any more. The imminent departure of American troops and money will likely have a clarifying effect far greater than another ten years of our presence.
Heck, get all libertarian, legalize government-purchased Afghani heroin in the United States and tax the snot out of it. Sell it at government run drug stores. That alone would probably pay for the Afghanistan operations, plus throw off taxes to cut into our national debt.
‘Puter’s half-serious proposal has several advantages. It’s cheaper than military operations. It takes heroin off the market, or offers a new revenue source, depending on approach. It permits Afghan locals to live as they have for ages, growing poppies. And it bankrupts the Taliban. Oh, and we get to bring our troops home. Or move them to Pakistan, where the real problem resides.
It makes so much sense, it will never happen.