An Afghan Quandary for the U.S.

An Afghan Quandary for the U.S.
Posted by CN Staff on January 02, 2005 at 14:53:16 PT
By Sonni Efron, Times Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Times
Washington -- With a bumper poppy harvest expected in Afghanistan in the new year, a debate has erupted within the Bush administration on whether the United States should push for the crop's destruction despite the objections of the Afghan government.Some U.S. officials advocate aerial spraying to reduce the opium crop, warning that if harvested, it could flood the West with heroin, fill the coffers of Taliban fighters and fund terrorist activity in Afghanistan and beyond. They estimate the haul could earn Afghan warlords up to $7 billion, up from a record $2.2 billion in 2004.
With the January planting season approaching, the State Department is asking Congress to earmark nearly $780 million in aid to Afghanistan, the world's largest opium producer, for a counter-narcotics effort that would include $152 million for aerial eradication.Although Afghan President Hamid Karzai has declared a "jihad" against the drug trade, he has vetoed aerial spraying. And his stance is supported by some U.S. officials, who warn that attempts at mass crop eradication in spring, during the campaign season for parliamentary elections scheduled for April, will alienate rural voters. Instead, they argue for a delay in crop eradication but a vigorous crackdown on drug traffickers.The dispute underscores a vexing dilemma for the United States. Having ousted the Taliban from power, the Bush administration now finds that its three main policy objectives in the strategically important country — counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and political stability — appear to be contradictory.President Bush's Cabinet has discussed the problem, sources said, and the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan met with Bush in December. But the White House has reportedly not made a final decision."We still don't have a policy," a senior Republican congressional aide said on condition of anonymity.The arguments over Afghan policy have cut across the usual administration lines, dividing policymakers within the State Department, National Security Council and Pentagon, administration and congressional sources said. Some diplomats as well as many outside experts argue that aerial spraying, in particular, would be folly."You tell them, 'You're voting for a new democratic country,' while their government is allowing foreigners to come in and destroy their livelihood?" said Barnett R. Rubin, who was an advisor to the U.N. in Afghanistan in 2001. "And if you try to destroy it and have the economy decline by 10%, 20%, 40% in one year, what will the result be? The result will be armed revolt."Snipped:Complete Article: Los Angeles Times (CA) Author: Sonni Efron, Times Staff WriterPublished: January 2, 2005Copyright: 2005 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Articles:Karzai Urges War on Opium Trade Outbreak in Afghanistan Plant Returns To Afghanistan Turn To Old Friend: Opium 
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Comment #9 posted by John Tyler on January 07, 2005 at 18:04:53 PT
dilemma for neo cons
This is a dilemma for democracy loving neo cons. They are trying to show a 3rd world country the how to be democratic. The people electing leader they want to do the things they want. Well, the people want to grow poppies. So, will the will of the people be respected or will the people have to be oppressed to further some goal of a foreign leader.  Either you believe in democracy or you don’t. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on January 03, 2005 at 09:39:10 PT
Excerpt from Article from The Union Leader
January 3, 2005My proposal is this: Make the sale and possession of marijuana legal, but only through state liquor stores. We have successfully followed this state monopoly model in our sale of alcoholic beverages — illegal during Prohibition, as you will recall — and in the sale of sweepstakes tickets — illegal until we asserted the state's natural prerogatives. Complete Article:
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on January 03, 2005 at 08:19:41 PT
Off Topic
Is Marijuana Really Harmless?Pot Use at a Young Age Can Affect DevelopmentJay and Hope Jones are like many parents who work hard to provide for their three children. They sent their kids to private schools near Los Angeles, wanting to ensure their entry into the finest universities. The Joneses also wanted to protect their kids from some of the problems associated with the teen-age years -- mainly, access to illegal and recreational drugs.About 10 years ago, when their oldest son, Eric, was a freshman in high school, Jones heard her son on the phone with a friend. She sensed something was odd about the conversation."If I didn't know better," she remembers turning to her husband and saying, "that was a drug deal going on."They confronted Eric, but he adamantly denied it.Complete Article:***Legalizing Street Drugs an Experiment Worth ConsideringNeal Peirce, Syndicated columnistMonday, January 03, 2005WASHINGTON — Can a single city do anything to change drug policies that are delivering terror to our inner-city streets, diverting police, clogging our courts, breaking up families, and making a once-proud America quite literally the incarceration capital of the world? It's tough because federal and state drug laws, passed by tragically misguided "law-and-order" politicians, are highly intrusive. But Syracuse, N.Y., with a detailed analysis of drug-law impact by outgoing City Auditor Minchin Lewis, followed up by recent City Council hearings, is courageously asking tough questions and searching for alternatives. Complete Article:
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on January 03, 2005 at 08:15:25 PT
Too Real for U(SA)
The solution is too obvious: relegalize medical cannabis and encourage the Afghanis to plant medical cannabis and to harvest their world-famous "black Afghani hash."Poppies and heroin are a poor substitute.
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on January 03, 2005 at 07:58:50 PT
The coming flood
heroin is going to flood the West? I thought we were already up to our necks. The price for a hit is $2 in my city. What's next, free baseball cards with every bag? I guess they'll have to get creative.
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on January 03, 2005 at 05:35:21 PT
New Afghan poppy crop will enrich warlords by $7 billion: what country lies between Afghanistan and Iraq? Iran.We may have another war soon...Iran. US fighters violate Iranian air space: report 
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on January 03, 2005 at 04:18:25 PT
PR Nightmare???
From the snipped portion of the article...The senior GOP aide argued that aerial spraying could become a public relations nightmare, with the United States forced to "explain to our Al Jazeera listeners that we're not literally poisoning to death" the Muslim population.Never mind the Columbians! All of a sudden they have a conscience???And we haven't forgotten Ohio...Pollsters, Media Implicated in Vote Fraud: Election Fraud: Ohio: Don't "Get Over It"! Protests in Ohio, D.C. and Nationwide:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 02, 2005 at 23:02:28 PT
Off Topic: Cannabis Hasn't Ever Killed Anyone
Scientist Raises Estimate of Vioxx Ill-Effects By Andrew Jack in London Published: January 2, 2005 The scientist at the centre of a dispute over the safety of the anti-inflammatory Vioxx has vowed to publish research that suggests up to 139,000 Americans have died or have been seriously injured as a result of taking the drug. 
The likely appearance in the Lancet of a revised version of a paper by Dr David Graham, an employee of the Food and Drugs Administration, will fuel debate over the effectiveness of the US drug regulatory system and may spur additional litigation against Merck, the manufacturer of Vioxx. Dr Graham originally estimated in August that 28,000 Americans had died or suffered debilitating heart attacks as a result of taking Vioxx since it was first approved in 1999. His research sparked a debate that has since forced regulators to call into doubt the safety of the entire cox-2 inhibitor class of drugs to which Vioxx belongs. In an interview with the FT, Dr Graham said he was determined to go ahead with publication of his updated analysis, even though he had been threatened with dismissal by the FDA if he wrote and published the paper. "The FDA has suppressed the paper and maligned me in the media but never responded. The proper place for scientific information is in a peer-reviewed scientific journal," he said. The FDA only allowed him to present the data in his personal capacity and banned him from publishing it in the Lancet. A few weeks later, Merck withdrew Vioxx, claiming it had done so voluntarily and identified health risks in its own study. Re-analysing the data, including recent information from Merck's study, Dr Graham said that between 89,000 and 139,000 people had been seriously affected by the drug. He originally provided those estimates to a congressional hearing in November. 
 Copyright: The Financial Times Ltd 2004
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 02, 2005 at 22:56:30 PT
Editorial from The Houston Chronicle
Diversion: Reducing Penalties for Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana is a Sensible IdeaJanuary 2, 2005If marijuana were water, an ounce of it would fit into 2 tablespoons. Under current state law, possession of that much marijuana, or even much less, could net a 180-day jail sentence and a $2,000 fine. That's a high price to pay, not only for the user, but also for taxpayers in Texas, where jail and prison space is at a premium.Under the terms of a bill filed by Houston Rep. Harold Dutton, a person caught with an ounce or less of marijuana would be cited with a Class C misdemeanor, the equivalent of a serious traffic ticket, punishable by a fine up to $500, but without the possibility of jail. Anyone carrying more than 1 ounce of marijuana, up to and including 2 ounces, could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by jail time up to 180 days and a fine not to exceed $2,000 — the current penalty for all marijuana possession up to 2 ounces.Reducing the penalty for tiny amounts of weed is not decriminalization. It's a sensible maneuver that could help relieve the overextended probation system and the crowded local and state jails. It would keep some first-offenders from having their prospects marred by a criminal record.Copyright: 2005 Houston ChronicleSnipped: Complete Article:
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