Comments on: The virtues of doing nothing: Why focusing on Afghanistan’s opium makes the opium problem worse http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/ Perspectives on Pakistan Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:31:05 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: Nithin.A.G http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20470 Sun, 26 Jul 2009 17:07:02 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20470 Opium has been one of the main income for the families of war hit Afghanistan. The people will definitely Find out an alternative way to smuggle out the opium, even though the borders might have been virtually sealed off. And i don’t think there’s any solution stopping the families in Afghanistan from growing them, being the only prime revenue. Instead the gov from other countries could actually import opium from Afghanistan and use it for useful purposes.
Opium has good uses not just the cliche one. The below link provides just a peek into the uses of opium.
http://library.thinkquest.org/C005038/op ium.htm

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By: Anon http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20462 Sun, 26 Jul 2009 07:52:15 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20462 A farmer is forced at gunpoint to grow poppies, instead of food for his family. If he refuses to do so, he is beaten or killed.

When he does grow the poppies, he is paid almost nothing for the crop. And he needs to use that money to buy food. And the food is supplied by the same gunmen who buy his poppies.

The farmer is a slave. He does not want to grow poppies. He earns no profit. He makes no living. He has no say in what he does or does not do.

The gunmen are criminals. They force others to work for them. They support crime. They kill, murder and kidnap those who resist them.

And the people who don’t believe we should do something about it are apologists. The words “its not my business” doesn’t cut it in international politics anymore.

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By: Danny http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20458 Sun, 26 Jul 2009 02:32:46 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20458 Every day a new drug is being invented and another way to get high is becoming popular. Many of the current ways of getting high involve normal products like cleaning supplies or cooking supplies. A simple plastic bag can be used to cause a high by asfixiation, for God’s Sake.

Addicts will get their fix any way and at any time they want from anything. They don’t fear being laboratory rats.
If the mentality that creates a large number of addicts isn’t dealt with to begin with, the fight is in vain. Why is it that so many in our western world feel disenfranchised enough to want to evade reality at any cost? The issue with addiction is first and foremost a psychological one. The physical merely follows.

In the meantime, wars on foreign countries do more to create and disseminate more addicts and more substances. Look at the example from the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Look at the number of s***heads that came home already soaked in pharmaceutical and recreational drugs that perhaps they wouldn’t even dream they existed had they NOT been uprooted to fight something nobody understood, and many of those young soldiers already knew a thing or two about drugs.

The problem with heroin is that it’s highly addictive and enjoyed by a bunch of people with money, either theirs or someone else’s. And the farmers in Afghanistan need to make a living. The moral considerations take second place when you have a family to feed or a machine-gun pointed at you if you don’t.
When there is no more money to be made by growing they’ll quit, forced by the lack of demand. Pure and simple. There is nothing complicated about that because it’s in Afhganistan. No religious, tribal or cultural issues. It’s all about the profit.

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By: Peter H http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20411 Fri, 24 Jul 2009 20:13:59 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20411 To VultureTX, one reason to expect our governments to do better is because they are sending our young troops to fight there and paying for it with our tax money which could be used to fix problems at home. Another reason is that they are supposed to be leaders.

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By: VultureTX http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20406 Fri, 24 Jul 2009 16:07:10 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20406 Judging by these comments, there is no way in hell of getting a crowd sourced solution to the opium problem.

/so why do we expect our governments to do better?

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By: rhoops http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20392 Fri, 24 Jul 2009 10:00:59 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20392 The ‘counterintuitive’ argument is interesting, although I’d prefer to use the term ‘educated’ which though less ‘buzzy’ is more accurate!

What exactly is the opium problem?
-Drugs are baaaaad?
-Cash crop for the Taliban and allies?
-Depresses local subsistence agriculture?
-Poor indicator of US progress in controlling the ground?
-A propaganda issue?
-A non problem?

Doesn’t it depend on what your perspective is?

From the larger western perspective Afganistan is a domino state. It has been necessary to engage there to counter the process of rogue states self replicating. Whether you personally agree with the policy is irrelevant, it is the policy, and all governments have to have a policy, and this one has a remarkably international consensus. Hardly suprising because governments don’t like rogue states, just as no politicians encourage political assassins.

It appears that re-integrating Afganistan into the international political scene is the ultimate goal here, again irrespective of one’s personal cynicism. Hence the gradual (very gradual thanks to conventional US military thinking) application of a 21st Century version of the Briggs Plan by the US and allies(aka the Malayan Emergency in the 1950’s). This is basically a civil/military combination of powers to re-assert the authority of the state in a contested area.

How does opium fit in to this? Primarily in the re-engagement with the civil population. Does eradicating opium farming enhance the link between the civilian population and the authority structure we are blessing?

That’s where the counter intuitive argument comes in. Personally I don’t know, I’m not sure there’s a precedent. Ultimately the whole process is about Control, that’s what government does, but practically now is not the time to assert this type of control in Afganistan irrespective.

In counter revolutionary warfare the principle is to re-engage the populace with your desired form of government by offering them more than the opposition. Give them schools, hospitals, etc etc, hopefully where the other side offers only propaganda and ideology. What precisely do the Afghans in the rural provinces want? Do they want opium farming, or is it enforced or just a means to an end where options are limited?
Find this out, apply the principles of the Briggs Plan (consistently, my dear ‘Vietnamisation’ friends) and the ‘problem’ will disappear.

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By: frank hayes http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20385 Fri, 24 Jul 2009 08:12:08 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20385 I think that the problem is that there is no problem.Things are going according to plan.
If we wished to stop this traffic we would intercept,confiscate,and distribute the drugs to the users free of charge.
And have programs for the growers and addicts who wished to free themselves from the drug dependency.
Of course ;this will never happen without a change in the present ruling structure.

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By: jb http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20358 Thu, 23 Jul 2009 18:52:12 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20358 Hmmm–
Your solution has been tried with little success in other theaters; historically, such shortsightedness has done nothing more than catalyze those determined to do what they feel necessary for their own survival. Further, would such draconian measures encourage your resignation to abject poverty? Or would you fight back? Check your history before embracing such extremities.

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By: viktor http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20356 Thu, 23 Jul 2009 18:30:08 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20356 Another club remix of western hypocrieses. Fighting the drugs in South America, using but all the resources possible, yet shrugging pathetically in Afghanistan, where all the kings men are already in place. Why coca farmers do not get that much hearty compassion and understanding from DEA? Should they simply change their confession?
The untold explanations are floating in the air. First, due to sheer geography the drugs are getting to ‘bad’ countres first. Second, now wait a minute, have you forgotten the Iran-contras deal? Does that ring a bell. Should we go on really.

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By: Hmmm http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/07/21/the-virtues-of-doing-nothing-why-focusing-on-afghanistans-opium-makes-the-opium-problem-worse/comment-page-1/#comment-20350 Thu, 23 Jul 2009 15:33:19 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/?p=3230#comment-20350 Perhaps a new solution is required.

We should use aircraft to spray the poppies with toxins or poison chemicals. Not enough to kill the poppies, but to leech into the poppies and the soil.

The intention will be to render the products of those poppies so that they are poisonous or lethal when used.

This way, the farmers can grow their poppies if they wish. But the people who supply and purchase those drugs, now know that there is a good chance they will end up with a lethal batch.

Hopefully this will result in a fear factor at the end market, which will cut down the number of people who begin or continue to use opiates. And hopefully effect dealers, because they now have the potential to be on a murder/manslaughter charge.

And of course, any drug users who actually use a poisoned batch would be guaranteed to stop using it in the future.

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