Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Afghanistan From The Left Side Of The Street.

On Saturday Afghanistan had its first ever elections. Over 40% of the women in that country voted. It was a great day for the Afghan people. They had become more advanced than Saudi Arabia in key areas of third world development at that moment. They became a new beacon for Democracy in the Middle East. President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, his staff and right minded bloggers lauded the event as a significant date in Afghan and world history. Democrats were nearly silent. The only thing I've been able to pull up on comments after Saturday was something Doug linked for me here.

It's a quote from Bob's Big Boy (Edwards):

"If you look at what's actually happened in Afghanistan since the Taliban was toppled, their opium production is back up. They're producing 75 percent of the world's opium," Edwards said. "On top of that, there are big chunks of the country still in the control of warlords and drug lords, and there are still some serious security issues in the country."

Yep, same old doom and gloom they've been pushing since day one. I wonder if they've ever heard the expression "If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all."? I guess that's considered a violation of free speech now isn't it? Other than their standard "I would have done everything he did only better" line lets see if we can extract some fact from this:

...since the Taliban was toppled, their opium production is back up. They're producing 75 percent of the world's opium...

Yes, that is true. But that's not the whole story. In 1999 Afghanistan was the world's leader in opium production with 75%. That number equated to about 4,000 tons of raw opium. The year 2000 heralded about 70% of the world market. The Taliban put strict orders against all opium growers, banning the production and burning fields and labs. It cut their countries overall revenue in half but by 2001 UN officials believed there was going to be no opium coming out of Afghanistan that year. They were mistaken, as Pakistan was flooded with opium during the war. In 2002 they regained their throne as the leading producer of opium on the world. Now they are back at it and 2003 was believed to hold 3,750 tons of opium for Afghanistan. What else do they know how to do? They've been growing and harvesting mass quantities of opium since 1978 when Mexico was prevented from making it. This is and has been their best selling product for around 26 years.

So how do we get the Afghans to try something new? Should we try and move them to South America's biggest producer of Cocaine? We could do what is currently being done and just sit around like the rest of the UN and do nothing. We could go in another direction; we could assist Hamid Karzai with his plea for international assistance in the cracking down of drugs in his country. One of the biggest problems with cutting out the opium trade is that you have to replace it with something else. One would have to make it economically feasible, nationally respectable, and physically safe (drug lords run drug farmers, they kill people) for them to produce corn, soybeans, wheat, and other food crops. Are there any international takers? Yeah, I didn't think so.

If someone wanted to be really enterprising this could be the cure for hunger in Africa. Go ahead Mr. Edwards; spend more of my tax dollars to support the rest of the world. We will be broke but Afghanistan will be saved. Oops, I almost forgot, we are currently the world's biggest producer of grain products. Would Mr. Edwards like to kill their livelihoods as well?

Here's the second piece:

...On top of that, there are big chunks of the country still in the control of warlords and drug lords, and there are still some serious security issues in the country...

Could these be the same warlords and drug lords that have been there since 1978? Again, no other nations are standing up and asking to help. Once again we have asked the international community. And once again the international community would rather debate the intricacies of wine and cheese. There is a funk in Europe that I've mentioned before that has become so complacent with things that they refuse to take any action on anything outside of their little sphere of influence. They are a bunch of internationally lazy fools. I'm sure any one of the three "conservative euros" out there will agree with me.

Or are these the warlords and drug lords that have been hiding in the hills of Pakistan that no one has been able to infiltrate without complete disaster including the Pakistani's? That's right, Pakistan's government will not even go up there because it's so backwater. Is there an Arab equivalent to Deliverance? Would they start the movie with dueling 'uds? This is seriously one international redneck part of the world. They have a different way of dealing with things but can be slowly persuaded to see the light of civilization, just like we're doing in West Virginia. Maybe Edwards can take his southern accent and talk to them like a redneck emissary?
(No insult meant to those with southern accents or living in West Virginia. I'm just trying to prove a stereotypical point.)

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