Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More Drug War Idiocy

To add to the post below, McCain, in direct contradiction to his carefully cultivated image as the Mavericky Straight Talker, refuses to admit, address, or probably even contemplate the proven fact that our War on Drugs is -- from a purely practical, pragmatic perspective -- a complete failure by any and all objective measures.

You might expect a Mavericky Straight Talker to occasionally go beyond party and political orthodoxy and at least consider whether there might be other ways to look at a given issue, especially considering that, as noted, the War On Drugs is indisputably a failure. Such thinking would appear to be a hallmark and in fact the very definition of a political Maverick. But so it goes.

On the other hand, Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, appears to at least have his eyes open to the obvious (Bucking U.S., Afghanistan won't spray heroin). Astonishingly, despite the heaviest of U.S. pressure, Karzai, unlike our puppet government in Colombia, is refusing to saturate the countryside of his nation with poison in a futile attempt to destroy the single thing of value that his nation currently produces.

Apparently Mr. Karzai feels that spraying his country with poison, thereby destroying the plants which represent his country's only significant thing of economic value, might result in some sort of anti-government sentiment among the peasants and farmers who rely on these crops to feed their families (literally: to survive).

Of course the U.S. government, paragon of moral virtue, feels that the inherent evilness of these plants justifies their destruction even if such destruction results in the starvation of thousands of Afghani farmers.

But that's not all. According to the U.S. government, a portion of the profits derived from the sale of poppy crops is raked off by rogue elements and ends up in the coffers of corrupt government officials and The Taliban or similarly minded radical groups. I think reasonable people are probably willing to admit that this is a bad thing. But -- contrary to the claims of the government -- it is not the end of the story. If one looks just slightly beyond this bare fact, one will quickly discover that the reason for this circumstance is not because the plants are evil, or the farmers are despicable terrorist sympathizers, but rather because the official position of the Afghani government and its law enforcement arm (such as it is) continues to be that the farming of poppies is an illegal activity. If it were legal, no poison would need to be sprayed, government officials would not need to engage in corruption, The Taliban would not have a near-monopoly on wholesaling and exporting, and a large new revenue stream would be available for taxation by the near-destitute Afghani government. Unfortunately, such a simple solution is impossible when the idea (not subject to debate or questioning of any kind, ever) prevails that these plants are themselves Evil and must be Destroyed.

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