"Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it."--GWB

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Freedom to admonish drugusers while protecting druggrowers?

Dearest Freedomlovers,
I'm pulling my little beard out this morning trying to understand the war on drugs and the freedom work the American government is so nobly conducting in Afghanistan. Might some of you swinish multitudes help a fellow pig?
Thank you, FL's.
STay free,
The road to Dushanbe
President Bush has said that "It's so important for Americans to know that the traffic in drugs finances the work of terror, sustaining terrorists, that terrorists use drug profits to fund their cells to commit acts of murder." Think tanks like Canada's Mackenzie Institute suggest that as much as 30% of funding for Islamic terrorist groups is derived from narcotics sales and the State Department has concluded that as much as 72% of the world's illicit opium is produced in Afghanistan. The link between the drug trade and the financing of terrorism is clear and success in the war on drugs would seem to have a direct effect on success in the war on terror. Imposing fiscal restraint on the Taliban and al-Qaeda (who reap significant financial gain from the opium fields of Afghanistan) is obviously a worthwhile objective. But the U.S. government's admonishment to pot-smoking hippies that "individual decisions about using drugs have real-world consequences" rings hollow in light of the Administration's failure to confront the drugs / terrorists relationship in Afghanistan.My brother, a soldier with the U.S. Army's elite 10th Mountain Division, has been stationed in southern Afghanistan since August of this year. Among the several issues he has raised in his letters home (the main issue being "RPGs really suck") is that his unit is under direct orders to avoid confronting poppy farmers and traffickers. Poppy fields are not to be damaged and drug traffickers are allowed to pass through highway checkpoints unmolested and unsearched. The checkpoints are a principal means of searching for weapons and al-Qaeda fighters moving through the region, yet trucks carrying poppy are allowed to pass through without a second look. My brother's CO (commanding officer) explained that the reason for this hands-off policy is that the poppy fields provide the main source of income for the Afghan population and any effort to interdict the drug trade or destroy the poppy crops would result in an open revolt against the American-supported Karzai government. I recognize that trade-offs like this are the stuff of foreign policy real politik, but for how long can such a policy square with reality that profits from the sale of Afghan heroin fund the very al-Qaeda and Taliban soldiers we are fighting in the war on terror? Why don't the "anti-drug" television ads mention that U.S. foreign policy decisions, like individual decisions about using drugs, have "real world consequences?" Do as I say, not as I do is sometimes a defensible position. Such a position should be acknowledged and explained, though, and I have yet to see any acknowledgement or explanation from the Administration. I am not holding my breath waiting for one either.
Fitz-Hume @ 12/12/2003 02:00:05 PM
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