Saturday, December 02, 2006

Afghan poppies hit peak production

No surprise here
. Afghan poppy production reached record breaking levels this year. What a catch-22. The Afghan economy depends on the drug trade for fully one third of its GDP. The peasant farmers depend on the flowers as the only crop that provides enough income to barely support their families. The Taliban and other insurgent groups are also being funded by the trade and the poppy resurgence has contributed to their resurgence.

Eradicating the poppies will only foment more instability and could very well topple Karzai's tentative hold on the government. Leaving the poppies alone will do the same. The only sensible solution is the one proposed by the Senlis Council but it's being ignored.

The US should simply buy the crop from the farmers and sell it to the pharma corps for use in legally prescribed drugs. There is after all a worldwide shortage at the moment. Of course, lowering the shortage would bring down the price and cut into the pharmas profits, which in turn would diminish the pharmas political donations.

Once again, politics trumps common sense and the common good.

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