Afghanistan and Heroin: Edward Follis and The Dark Art

Without having read the book, but only scanned a couple articles in the New Yorker, it seems clear that there is room for improvement in the way our eradication policies work upon hitting the ground. Ninty-two percent of the Heroin sold in the world now comes from Afghanistan. The obvious irony is that we happen to have troops on the ground there, in the longest war in American history, and this has coincided with a heroin epidemic on the streets of America. From the reviews, we gather that the heroine goes from Afghanistan to Iran and Pakistan when it leaves the country. We think it rather obvious that U. S. military personnel have been corrupted, or even that soldiers, who are not searched at the border, carry duffle bags back home.

In The Dark Art, which I want to read, Edward Follis describes some U. S. attempts at eradication. With all the U. S. cash flowing through the CIA and such, it seems obvious that in the areas controlled by the Karzai government, we might pay the farmers the pittance of their wholesale price plus their labor in cutting down their poppies, then seeing to it that they have something else to grow. The Americans, of course, think of spraying the fields with chemical flower-killers, without regard for the consequences. Only one tenth of the poppies could be eradicated by the current methods, barely slowing the flow into the U. S. It would be relatively inexpensive to assure that the U. S. army is the best thing the farmers have ever seen for many kinds of assistance including security and the rule of law. Usable goods, rather than cash, might assure that aid money for the farmers did not get seized by a system of corrupt government officials. An honest U. S. military might end the system of payoffs for protection from eradication. This may even be the crux where our efforts in Afghanistan have been failing.

Hey, what if, in addition to wheat, they grew fruits and weed instead! My sister just went to a march on Washington regarding Heroin and prescription drugs in America. Opiods are Out!

Thanks to NPR for interviewing Mr Follis, I think in “On the Media.”

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