Sunday, September 03, 2006

Afghani poppy production up - sensible solutions down

The UN is alarmed by the rise in poppy production in Afghanistan. Antonio Maria Costa, director of the Office on Drugs and Crime "called on President Karzai to make 'significant arrests and convictions' using the judiciary that the coalition had helped train and establish." Easy for him to say. He's not trying to run a country whose economy depends on the drug trade.
Doug Wankel, director of the US drugs control office, said Afghanistan could be "taken down" by drugs.

"If this thing gets out of hand, you could move from a narco-economy to a narco-state," he said.
Who does he think he's fooling? It already is a narco-state. The official numbers say drugs comprise about a third of the GDP there. I think that's way undervalued. And the coalition programs are a joke. They're supposed to be offering the peasants alternative markets for legal crops but they aren't doing it. Meanwhile, as they eradicate the fields, the poor farmers are forced to sell their daughters to pay off their debts to the drug lords who front them the supplies and seeds.

As usual, the chief prohibitionists offer nothing but the same failed remedies.
“I am pleading with the government to be much tougher,” Costa said. A new high-security prison block would be inaugurated in a few weeks, he said. “We have room for 100 people and I am asking the government to fill it within six months,” he said.
They can't stop the drug trade in the US with a million drug offenders in prison. Do they really think slapping 100 people into a new fancy jail is going to do it there?

In light of these figures, never has the Senlis Council's proposition looked more sensible. For all the money they spend on trying to eliminate the trade, what would really solve the problem is to use those funds to simply buy the crops outright from the peasants and use the opium for the legal pharmaceutical market.


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