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Narcotics Trade Fuels Afghanistan Insurgency, Mullen Says
American Forces Press Service ^ | Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden, USA

Posted on 09/19/2008 4:32:49 PM PDT by SandRat

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19, 2008 – The poppy trade that fuels terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan is a problem that must be addressed but doesn’t have a military solution, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here last night.

Speaking at a dinner hosted by the Pacific Council on International Policy, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said the narcotics trade serves as the baseline for Afghanistan’s economy.

Farmers in a country that ranks among the poorest in the world, Mullen said, have little choice but to cultivate poppy to sell to insurgents, who turn profits from opium trade on the black market despite Afghan drug laws and national drug controls.

“[Narcotics trade] is the engine that’s running Afghanistan’s insurgency,” the admiral said. “And the extent of that is killing its people.”

Part of the solution has to be to replace the poppy crop with another means of revenue immediately, Mullen said. Otherwise, farmers most likely will continue to work for terrorists to support their families. He said the issue is not within the responsibility or capacity of the military, but rather is a matter for the entire group of nations working there to figure out.

“We just can’t keep looking the other way,” he added.

Another problem, the chairman said, is that as al-Qaida loosens its footprint in Iraq, officials have noticed more foreign fighters moving into Afghanistan from safe havens across the country’s border with Pakistan.

“Al-Qaida in Iraq is on the run,” Mullen said, and U.S. officals are concerned about new groups of foreign fighters infiltrating from Pakistan’s border regions.

Security improvements in Iraq are allowing the United States to commit more troops to Afghanistan, Mullen told the group. An additional Army brigade combat team and two Marine battalions have been added to the rotation in Afghanistan, an increase of more than 5,000 troops.

Militarily, the Afghan army has become a credible force, Mullen said, and a good connection has developed between Afghan and American troops. But the Afghan police have a long way to go and need some improvements, he acknowledged. Still, he said, better security in the country is in the foreseeable future, and the Afghan government is taking steps in the right direction.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; drugs; frwn; islam; mohammedanism; narcoterrorism; taliban; wod

1 posted on 09/19/2008 4:32:50 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: Clive; girlangler; fanfan; 91B; HiJinx; Spiff; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; TEXOKIE; ...
If you would like to be added to / removed from FRWN,
please FReepmail Sandrat.


2 posted on 09/19/2008 4:33:22 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat


3 posted on 09/19/2008 6:21:04 PM PDT by uncbob
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To: uncbob

Yes. The War on Drugs funds our enemies.

4 posted on 09/19/2008 6:49:15 PM PDT by marktwain
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To: SandRat

As long as opium (and by extension heroin and other derivatives of it) are in high demand, someone will supply it. So if you believe that keeping opium and its derivatives illegal is worth the Tailban and their friends to have a very easy way to get a massive amount of profit, well, you’ll have to live with it.

5 posted on 09/19/2008 7:59:56 PM PDT by Nate505
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To: uncbob

We need a surge in Afghanistan and a surge in the War on Drugs as well.

6 posted on 09/19/2008 11:34:24 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Nate505

Making opium legal would only increase demand and increase the size of the terrorists’ wallets.

7 posted on 09/19/2008 11:35:48 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

If it were legal the price would plummet. It’s not like opium is something that’s very hard to grow.

You’d have to increase demand an absolute ton to make the same profit that they make now. Opium is sold for a ridiculous amount per pound, for no reason other than it’s illegal.

8 posted on 09/19/2008 11:54:39 PM PDT by Nate505
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To: SandRat
The Opium trade in China was the first War With Drugs. The cultural cost and financial destruction caused by the spread of Opium in China won the war for the English.

Illicit drug use is a war on people no matter which way politics goes.

Before and After photos of a Meth User.

I hardly think increasing the supply of drugs to our society to lower prices is a cost effective way to win a war in Afganistan.

This cut from a History article shows the result of surrender in the war on drugs.

the legalization of opium in China quickly transformed the country into the world's leading producer. After the Second Opium War ended in 1858, Chinese officials encouraged local production, and poppy cultivation spread beyond the southwest to nearly every province. As addiction rose throughout China, imports of Indian opium increased from 4,800 tons in 1859 to an historic high of 6,700 tons in 1879...

By the 1880s, China was in the midst of a major opium boom, particularly in the rugged southwestern provinces of Szechwan and Yunnan...

By 1906, China had 13.5 million addicts consuming some 39,000 tons of opium. With bountiful supplies and legal retail sales, China had 27 percent of its adult males addicted to opium--a level of mass addiction never equaled by any nation before or since.

Over one out of four people were addicted to Opium within 50 years! Can you imagine the destruction that would cause to our economy? The other 3/4 of the people have to support the non-productive addicted part of society. China declared war on Opium at that point, imagine what would happen if Opium would have continued to be legal for another 50 years.

This is something that would cost more than just money, the human suffering costs would be beyond measure. Like most wars, surrender or loss is much costlier than courage.

9 posted on 09/20/2008 2:24:14 AM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: American in Israel

I have no idea why everyone would become an opium addict if it were legal.

Would you use it if it were legal? I wouldn’t, but maybe I have more self control than you do.

Alcohol use also turns people into wrecks. Why do we tolerate it?

10 posted on 09/21/2008 12:14:56 PM PDT by Nate505
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