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Common Sense: Bankrupting the Taliban (Oliver North)
Townhall.com ^ | September 4, 2009 | Oliver North

Posted on 09/03/2009 9:08:07 PM PDT by jazusamo

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Last month, our Fox News' "War Stories" team was in Colombia, covering the tough fight against a narco-insurgency, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. This month, we're in Afghanistan, covering another narco-insurgency, the Taliban. In Colombia, cocaine fuels and funds the terror. Here in Afghanistan, it's opium. Despite extraordinary differences in culture, climate and terrain, there are dramatic parallels in the two campaigns. More importantly, lessons learned in the Andean basin are being applied here in the shadows of the Hindu Kush. Both countries have isolated agricultural populations vulnerable to coercion by insurgents financed by narcotics trafficking. In Colombia, the world's largest producer of cocaine, the FARC turned to drug funding when support from fellow communists dried up with the collapse of the Soviet empire. Here in Afghanistan, the global leader in opium production, the radical-Islamist Taliban became drug-dependant after being driven from power in 2001 during the opening days of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Despite international efforts to cut foreign financial support for the Taliban and a crackdown on the movement's activities in Pakistan, the Taliban have derived newfound wealth from the heroin trade. A new U.N. report estimates that the Taliban reap as much as $70 million a year from the sale of precursor chemicals, taxes levied on opium farmers, "protection fees" for heroin processing laboratories and "product deliveries." Some U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials here believe Taliban drug revenues are more than twice that amount. They point out that the lucrative drug trade also has resulted in corruption on a massive scale within Afghanistan's national and provincial governments. This nexus of narcotics, crime and terror has prompted a dramatic change in allied strategy that provides new opportunities for success in Afghanistan.

Coalition commanders, cognizant of growing public discontent about the course of the war, are focusing on how opium is funding the Taliban and adversely affecting prospects for a successful counterinsurgency campaign. Gen. Stanley McChrystal has all but abandoned efforts to eradicate opium poppy cultivation because it was raising resentment against his troops and the Afghan government. Now coalition efforts have shifted to targeting drug kingpins -- and their connections to the Taliban.

In the year since we were last here, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has more than quadrupled its presence in Afghanistan. Nearly 100 DEA special agents, intelligence specialists and trainers are deployed, not only in Kabul but also throughout the country. Small, well-armed and highly mobile DEA foreign-deployed advisory and support teams, or FAST, are working closely with U.S. and NATO special operations units, Afghan commandos and specially trained counter-narcotics police.

DEA intelligence experts and a growing network of informants -- something other U.S. agencies have been unable to duplicate -- are providing detailed "actionable" information -- "target sets" -- that can be exploited rapidly in "capture-kill" missions. Precisely targeted raids by highly trained specialists are creating havoc within the hierarchy of the opium-trafficking networks that help to fund the Taliban. As one FAST member put it to me shortly after a night operation that took down a heroin-hashish "bazaar" and bagged more than a dozen narco-terrorists, "We're already hurting them, and we're just getting started."

Because these operations are quick, low-profile and self-contained, they serve as a "force multiplier" for Gen. McChrystal's conventional forces. Perhaps equally important, nearly every mission undertaken by these units results not only in drug seizures but also in captured weapons, recovered IEDs and new intelligence about Taliban activities.

Interdiction operations such as these are not being conducted in a U.S.-NATO vacuum. U.S. trainers are deployed to train, mentor and advise Afghanistan's fledgling counter-narcotics police. The Afghan Sensitive Investigation Unit and National Interdiction Unit now number more than 275 law officers -- many of whom accompany DEA agents and special operations forces on raids.

Gen. McChrystal's assessment of the situation in Afghanistan -- presented this week to the White House -- acknowledges how difficult the campaign here has become as U.S., allied and Afghan casualties mount. There are calls from the left and the right -- just as there were in 2006 during dark days in Iraq -- to throw in the towel, to "get out and get out now." That's not what we're seeing and hearing from the soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines we have encountered here. And that's not what we're told by the DEA and special operations personnel with whom we are embedded.

Cutting the flow of narco-funding for this insurgency won't, in and of itself, win the war in Afghanistan. The country still has only one paved highway, and the near total collapse of basic infrastructure is indicative of how badly the U.N. and the "international donor community" have squandered billions here. But if we are to see the "light at the end of the tunnel" in Afghanistan, bankrupting the Taliban is a good place to start.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; drugs; narcoterrorists; olivernorth; taliban

1 posted on 09/03/2009 9:08:08 PM PDT by jazusamo
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To: 2rightsleftcoast; abner; ACAC; advertising guy; Arkinsaw; athelass; aumrl; basil; bboop; BAW; ...
OLIVER NORTH PING!

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Please Freepmail me to be added to the Ollie North ping list.

2 posted on 09/03/2009 9:11:14 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Once Reagan bankrupted the Soviets, the Democrats said, “Never again!”


3 posted on 09/03/2009 9:19:39 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: buccaneer81

Good one and you’re right, they’d rather pull out with their tails between their legs.


4 posted on 09/03/2009 9:27:33 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: buccaneer81
Once Reagan bankrupted the Soviets,

I believe he did it by out-spending them on SDI. The parallel here would be for us to make our own heroin, put it on the market and run Afgan producers into the ditch: "Abul, tear down that poppy plantation."

You think the DEA could get on board?

5 posted on 09/03/2009 9:42:53 PM PDT by budwiesest (All Sarah has to do is go out and be Sarah. The people will do the rest.)
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To: budwiesest
Why don't we just buy it?

Don't they use it to make morphine?

6 posted on 09/03/2009 9:44:14 PM PDT by Trailerpark Badass (Happiness is a choice!)
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To: budwiesest
You think the DEA could get on board?

It would be the most useful thing they did in their existence.

7 posted on 09/03/2009 9:46:38 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: Trailerpark Badass

We’d have to cut out the Taliban middleman. You know, like gettint around an Obama bureaucrat to get a visit with a doctor- near impossible.


8 posted on 09/03/2009 9:47:45 PM PDT by budwiesest (All Sarah has to do is go out and be Sarah. The people will do the rest.)
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To: budwiesest
We’d have to cut out the Taliban middleman. You know, like gettint around an Obama bureaucrat to get a visit with a doctor- near impossible.

OK, I'm down with that. Cut em out, with prejudice.

9 posted on 09/03/2009 9:51:29 PM PDT by Trailerpark Badass (Happiness is a choice!)
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To: budwiesest
did it by out-spending them on SDI.

Outspending them and convincing them that we were accomplishing things we were not even working on. That and providing them with "smuggled" preloaded computers that sent them off billions of rubles in wrong directions etc. et al and lots more. Years later when the extent of the Reagan snow job was revealed the NYT waxed indignant that we had LIED to the USSR and had cheated them into economic early collapse. It wasn't fair and somehow we should give it all back or something.

10 posted on 09/03/2009 9:51:48 PM PDT by arthurus ("If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, don't shoot an abortionist." -Ann C.)
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To: jazusamo

“Precisely targeted raids by highly trained specialists are creating havoc within the hierarchy of the opium-trafficking networks that help to fund the Taliban. As one FAST member put it to me shortly after a night operation that took down a heroin-hashish “bazaar” and bagged more than a dozen narco-terrorists..”


Eric (the buck stops with me) Holder will make sure that the big baddies of the U.S. are severely punished and the Afghans and Talibani are rewarded for the problems they’ve suffered.


11 posted on 09/03/2009 9:52:17 PM PDT by Rembrandt
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To: jazusamo

After bashing our troops and Flag, Obama may have to eat a little humble pie, or surrender us ...


12 posted on 09/03/2009 9:54:49 PM PDT by Freddd (Government run health care=paying more and being denied what we already have.)
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To: buccaneer81

Once Reagan bankrupted the Soviets, the Democrats said, “Never again!”
////////////////////////
Well said!

But we WILL have National Health Care. And THAT will WITHOUT A DOUBT beat the ISLAMIST, the Communist, and ALLL OF OUR ENEMIES NOW AND FOREVER.....well at least that is what our obambi believes.


13 posted on 09/03/2009 9:54:51 PM PDT by TomasUSMC ( FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM)
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To: Rembrandt

Yep, Holder hasn’t done a thing to help us as yet and he’ll get worse.


14 posted on 09/03/2009 9:58:36 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: arthurus

Suppose we use the same method to fight other threats. Let’s say, cancer. We invent a cancer we can control, put it in the body to rob the indigent form, and once it’s withered and gone, introduce the chemical ‘key’ to shut ‘our’ malignancy down. Fight fire with fire.


15 posted on 09/03/2009 10:03:22 PM PDT by budwiesest (All Sarah has to do is go out and be Sarah. The people will do the rest.)
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To: arthurus
when the extent of the Reagan snow job was revealed the NYT waxed indignant that we had LIED to the USSR

Thanks for the post, had no idea Reagan went that far and, that the NYT hasn't changed a bit over the years.

16 posted on 09/03/2009 10:32:00 PM PDT by budwiesest (All Sarah has to do is go out and be Sarah. The people will do the rest.)
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To: arthurus
convincing them that we were accomplishing things we were not even working on. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The Valkriye Bomber ....we built Boeing Aircraft Corporation's MX-2145 Project with Rand Corporation that started in January 1954.............................By March 1957, engine development and wind tunnel testing had progressed so that supersonic speed for an entire flight appeared possible. The project decided that the aircraft would fly at speeds up to Mach 3 for the entire mission...................................The name "Valkyrie" was the winning submission in spring 1958, selected from 20,000 entries in a USAF "Name the B-70" contest..............................................................A central plank of John F. Kennedy's campaign was that Eisenhower and the Republicans were weak on defense, and pointed to the B-70 as an example. He told a San Diego audience near NAA facilities that "I endorse wholeheartedly the B-70 manned aircraft.".....................................................................after becoming the new Air Force Chief of Staff in July 1961, Curtis LeMay increased his B-70 advocacy, including interviews for August Reader's Digest and November Aviation Week articles..................................................................One report claimed "nothing like it existed anywhere".[57][58] The planned third prototype was canceled in July 1964 while being built.[58] The first XB-70 had its maiden flight in September 1964 and flight testing followed ......................................................................Maximum speed: Mach 3.1 (2,056 mph, 3,309 km/h) Even today we do not have a heavy bomber that can go Mach 3, half a century after 1959. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>WE BUILT 4. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The Russian Reaction was the MIG25 FOXBAT Overflights by American U-2s in the late 1950s revealed a need for higher altitude interceptor aircraft.[2] In 1960, Soviet intelligence learned of the US's development of the high altitude, Mach 3 A-12 reconnaissance aircraft.[3] A high altitude interceptor with high speed would also be needed to defend against the Mach 3 B-70 bomber then under development.[4][5] .......... the main objective was a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and heavy interceptor. The Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB accepted the assignment effective 10 March 1961, carrying the bureau designation "Ye-155" (or "Е-155"). Approximately 1,186 MiG-25s were produced by the time production ended in 1984 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>THEY BUILT 1,186
17 posted on 09/03/2009 10:36:40 PM PDT by TomasUSMC ( FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM)
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To: budwiesest
the NYT hasn't changed a bit over the years.

I remember being totally jaw dropping incredulous when I saw the headline and read the article. I at first didn't believe I was really reading it. There are a couple of books about the Reagan takedown of the USSR and how he and JPII and Thatcher accomplished it. Alas I don't remember the titles. I have one somewhere. Now I have to go hunt it up again. It made me laugh more than any other book except maybe Bored of the Rings.

18 posted on 09/03/2009 10:47:51 PM PDT by arthurus ("If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, don't shoot an abortionist." -Ann C.)
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To: arthurus

wHEN you find that book will you please send me the title?


19 posted on 09/03/2009 10:50:44 PM PDT by TomasUSMC ( FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM)
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To: TomasUSMC
One of them is Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union by Peter Schweizer
20 posted on 09/03/2009 11:54:56 PM PDT by arthurus ("If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, don't shoot an abortionist." -Ann C.)
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To: jazusamo

Yeah, we’ll bankrupt the Taliban by making the profit margin on heroin and opium even higher than it already is! That’s the ticket!

If we’re going to be staging a Columbia-style Drug War in Afghanistan, then get ready to have US troops in Afghanistan for the next few decades. They can’t even keep drugs out of prisons (and in some states they used to hand out free cigarettes), and yet they think they can “eradicate” them in an entire nation. Ridiculous.


21 posted on 09/04/2009 1:43:31 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: jazusamo

Thanks for the ping Jaz.


22 posted on 09/04/2009 3:39:01 AM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists...Call 'em What you Will, They ALL have Fairies Living In Their Trees.)
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