Monday, September 13, 2004

Dude, where's my facts?

An interesting tidbit related to two failed "wars" on abstract nouns: drugs and terra. It seems that the DEA has created a nifty museum exhibition tying the international drug market and terra together, perhaps a piggyback on those Super Bowl ads a few years ago. Ok, fine, let's acknowledge that Columbia is infested with both narcotrafficking and terra, and that opium/heroin currently (and formerly) pours out of impoverished areas of the "Stans" (Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.) However, the disingenuous argument the government makes shows up as follows:
But it also makes a more controversial link between terrorism and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The exhibit includes a large display of debris collected from both sites. The exhibit does not specifically tie the attacks to drug trafficking, but it uses the events to explain how terrorists use the drug trade as one of several methods to fund attacks. It cites U.S. intelligence linking the Taliban in Afghanistan, and by extension its thriving heroin economy, to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

The last highlighted sentence is simply incorrect and false. There WAS no "thriving heroin economy" under the Taliban. For all of their nasty, repressive attitudes (uhh...towards women, Buddah statutes and everyone else who didn't share their 12th Century world view), the Taliban also did not tolerate drug use and production. They irradicated the poppy production throughout the country in a simple way: they burned down the crops and killed the farmers. Effective drug control policy, if not necessarily respective of due process. During the period that the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan, their portion of the world's heroin production was effectively nil.

However: today is a different story. Since we deposed the Taliban (officially, at least), they no longer have the ability to wage their own effective war on poppies, while the puppet Karzai admininistration turns a blind eye to the resumption of poppy production on a massive scale. The heroin pipeline running out of Afghanistan is resurrected and kickin', thanks in extremely large part to the putative war on terra.

So it's true: one CAN get by with a little help from one's friends...
It's a dishonest, and yet completely intentional, mistatement that the government makes, but then again, that's par for the course with the BFEE.



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