Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Drug War" sabotages Afghanistan war

By the way, our failing "War on Drugs" contributes to our failing war in Afghanistan. Here's a British article explaining how poppy eradication incites violence against British troops and turns the local population against the West:
"We`re pouring gas on the flames of the violence with this eradication campaign. By alienating the locals we`re playing into a sophisticated political plan on the part of al-Qaida and the Taliban to destabilise southern Afghanistan. The political naivety of the international community in doing this is mind-boggling," the worker said.
A similar article about Canada can be found here. Robert D. Kaplan writes about the effect America's domestic drug policies in this article:
While government officials from Kabul show up in rural areas for regular visits, the Taliban are setting up permanent presences in them. They are also importing radical, Pakistan-trained clerics to preach against the Kabul authorities. While officials from the capital too often speak in platitudes, the Taliban make concrete offers to protect poppy fields from eradication.

The drug trade is a particular problem because the United States, given its domestic policies, must take a stand against it and the government in Kabul, needing to maintain an upright image with international donors, must follow suit. Thus, the Taliban is free to use our morality against both.

The Bush administration doesn't need any help failing in the Middle East. But our stupid "War on Drugs" is lending a hand anyway. Our drug criminalization policies are long overdue for a major overhaul. The people who benefit most from them are the prison industry and the drug dealers. The rest of us just have to pay taxes for the prisons and deal with violence and criminality that our policies encourage. To say nothing of the millions incarcerated for non-violent drug offences, and the damage that does to lives, families, the economy, etc. The "War on Drugs" is the modern equivalent of prohibition, and we've got to find a better way of dealing with the addiction, abuse, and harms that drugs can casue.

(Once again, I refer my readers to the Drug Policy Alliance.)

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