Thursday, June 28, 2007

Medicine for poppies

"The Foreign Office stolidly insists that poppy eradication, coupled with improved law enforcement and better managed rural aid, is the only approach. This is whistling in the Afghan wind. Eradication is worse than ineffective; it dangerously alienates villagers whose first or perhaps only contact with central government is the convoy that rips up their means of survival. Without counting the gangsters who dominate the traffic, opium involves 2.9 million Afghans in cultivation and another 225,000 traders — 14 per cent of the total population. So many people cannot be treated as criminals. Nato refuses, with reason, to be directly involved in eradication; inflicting ruin on the people you are there to protect is no way to 'win hearts and minds'." —Rosemary Righter

UPDATE: Timothy Garton Ash and Anatole Kaletsky describe some of the consequences of the moronic "war on drugs."

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