I am a veteran of a war that we still fight although we lost it as soon as we began. It has been a fools errand that has cost us trillions of dollars and put us on the wrong side of a simple equation, supply v. demand. Junkies demand drugs and we decided that rather than deal with that fact, we would destroy all the drugs on the planet. There is some solid thinking for you. Well just like Paraquat spraying wiped out weed in the 70s and 80s, and the devils brew of chemicals we have sprayed all over a number of Andean nations wiped out cocaine, now the same collection of strategerists are going to pacify Afghanistan by, you guessed it aerial spraying the poppies.
KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 7 — After the biggest opium harvest in
Afghanistan’s history, American officials have renewed efforts to
persuade the government here to begin spraying herbicide on opium
poppies, and they have found some supporters within President Hamid
Karzai’s administration, officials of both countries said.
Just for the record, we lost the War on Drugs and now in an eerily similar naming problem we fight a War on Terror. In the first case the drugs aren't the problem it's the damn junkies, they really, really want the drugs. My best friend died after a long love/hate relationship with pain pills and I saw just how far humans will go to feed an addiction. But instead of facing the difficult reality that our friends and family are the real problem we declare war on the substances themselves. as if somehow we could rid the planet of any substances people would choose to abuse. We can't, and our efforts have done huge and lasting damage to our relations with far too many countries and the millions of poor people who always catch the brunt. We would buy the cooperation of the local government with satchels full of drug war money and then we could salve our consciences by spraying and burning the nasty stuff that was corrupting our kids. My saddest realization was that if we had simply taken the billions we have wasted with our global interdiction efforts, we could have bought each junkie 24/7 bodyguard coverage. Whenever they would reach for the pipe, or the needle they would catch a crack to the skull. Simple yet brilliant.
This same logic leads us to hold a war on terror rather than the radical Islamists themselves. But now these two semantically-challenged endeavors collide as we take failed tactics from a war we lost badly and use them to try and lose the current one. The reasons to stop this insane policy are many, but can't we just start out with the fact that it doesn't even work for the bad idea it is supposed to enact. We never stop the growing of drug crops, we simply make large numbers of poor farmers poorer and the bad guys richer. The reason given to justify this is that some of the proceeds from the drug trade support the Taliban. No kidding. Are we incapable of sublimating our Puritanical revulsion to drugs long enough to maybe buy the crop and make as much medicine as we need? We can burn the rest if that makes it any better, but the second we spray their lifeblood, they will donate their actual blood to the Taliban and AQ.
We have plenty enough challenges in Afghanistan without turning a large chunk of the populace against us. Our long and storied record of failing to make wise choices about drug policy cannot be allowed to wreck our efforts in the actual fight of our times. Maybe there is a perverse logic in this and when we lose and the Caliphate is restored, the Islamists will certainly stop opium production and we will have won, right? Let's not rest our hopes on that and we should start by not alienating potential allies in the forlorn quest to rid the planet of drugs.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.