Wednesday, 29 July 2009

How to end the Afghan war

OK, here's a idea: we currently spend billions on a (trust me on this) entirely unwinnable war in Afghanistan. We will never win this war, the very best we can hope for is an honourable draw and graceful disengagement, and how fucking likely do you think that's going to be?

So here's the plan, endorsed by those fuck-off important and smart guys at B&D: stop spending the money on war and spend the same amount of money (or probably less) buying the poppy crop. Then bring the drugs home, burn them or turn them into BP-grade drugs and sell them on the world market.

The Afghan people would get a massive boost to their economy, the Taliban would be marginalised, greed would lead to a semblance of order and development.

Ideally, we could decriminalise drugs as well, but even if that's politically unacceptable, there is apparently a huge shortage of raw material for medical morphine, etc.

So where's the problem?


Sue said...

I have a better idea. Pull the troops out and napalm the poppy fields from the air. Warn the farmers first of course with a promise of compensation equal to the sums paid by the Taleban, which if we're honest, won't be alot.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Er, what? The Taleban aren't paying for the poppy crops, the local warlords are. The Taleban don't like the poppy crops and force them to be destroyed.

You can't napalm them, there are too many little crops hidden in too many valleys to make their destruction viable.

We need poppies for medical reasons. Why not stop a pointless war and replace it with a bit of win-win trade instead?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Yes, excellent idea, I've been saying it for ages.

But another problem you'll have to overcome is The Australians who have a real vested interest in 'the war on Afghan poppy farmers'.

Peter Risdon said...

I'm not really sure what you'd consider winning a war. The Taleban were the government of Afghanistan, have been defeated and replaced by one that has some elements of democratic legitimacy and doesn't harbour Al Qaeda training camps.

What we have now is a cross border problem, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some parts of both countries are in the hands of people who have every intention of bringing a war to us, did so before these actions started, and will do so again if they get the breathing space.

We can beat them there, in a slow difficult process, or we can be attacked by them here. Obviously, I make that choice differently to you.

But yes, we should buy their poppies.

Trixy said...

I have a feeling that there's an issue with the CAP and buying up the poppy crop because it was a British strategy.

I'm going to check on that.

Bob said...

In practice, the black market will always pay more than legitimate traders to get what it wants. IIRC, the current street price of heroin is about 30% more than the cost of medical diamorphine.

Junkies will simply steal more to fund their habit if the price of heroin goes up. Instead of shoplifting and prostitution they'll turn to street robbery and burglary of plasma tellys.

Bear in mind that the Afghan poppy farmers don't have a choice of who to sell to. If the farmer snubs the local warlord to sell his crop to Gordon, the farmer and/or his family are likely to find themselves at the wrong end of an AK47.

I fear napalm is the only answer.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

@Bob So maybe we need to decriminalise it. The problem is that there is demand for non-medical heroin because of the legalities of taking recreational drugs.

If there is no criminal consequence and it can be provided cheaply (or in certain cases for free) then the black market will disappear. Any black market comes about when regulations force the price to be lower than it should be in a free market or restrict availability. If you increase availability and decrease the regulation, then supply and demand should match up better and remove the black market.

Let me put it this way: would you rather pay someone in a car boot sale a tenner for a dodgy copy of a widely-available DVD or pay HMV a fiver for the same DVD and know that it's good?

Angry Exile said...

@ Mark Wadsworth

But another problem you'll have to overcome is The Australians who have a real vested interest in 'the war on Afghan poppy farmers'.

Fuck it, it's only Tasmania.

Seriously though, I've been wondering the same thing as Obo. How much does Tassie morphine cost? Wouldn't a little more competition be good for the drugs industry? And I'm sold on the legalization argument too because of the ridiculousness of governments talking about "controlling" drugs when they've fucking abdicated and handed control to criminals. The worst bit is that they presumably weren't all off their fucking dials when they came up with the idea. I realize it's going to be a tough sell to most of the general public though, but the war on drugs is even more unwinnable than the one in Afghanistan. Historically it's probably cost more money too.

Call me Infidel said...

I would prefer a modification of Sue's idea. RAF transports converted into crop sprayers and filled up with Roundup. I wouldn't pay the twats compo though. People need to know when they are beaten. Save the napalm for the Pakistan border.

INCOMING!!!!!!! said...


I like they way your mind works.


Give yourself a guiness.

MrAngryman said...

I work in a hospital and can confirm that there is a genuine shortage of morphine (especially diamorphine. So this would seem to be a genuine solution.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Obo "If there is no criminal consequence and it can be provided cheaply (or in certain cases for free) then the black market will disappear."

You pretend to be a swearblogger but actually you are just downright sensible and pragmatic.

John Demetriou said...

I think Obo's suggestion is actually rather sound and convincing.

So long as, once imported here, the whole supply side was handled properly, it is actually a win-win situation.

Trade, if properly free and not defiled by bullshit government interference, is an amazing way of allowing peoples to thrive and get on with one another.

Mitch said...

How about we make the kids of all the MPs who voted for the damn war join up and go fight.
Result.....troops out by the weekend.
then we drop gordon&Mandelsons mutilated bodies into an active volcano.
(the last bit is just a bit of fun really any cesspit will suffice)

Anonymous said...

What do illicit drugs and Islamic terrorists have in common? Yes, some of both originate in Afghanistan but more importantly they are a 'menace' to society that threaten its very fabric and they have to be 'fought' even if it means trampling all over our ancient freedoms, which it will.

There are some things which are just too precious to a government intent on control. No amount of logic or rationality will be allowed to enter the 'debate'.

Sue said...

The practical considerations alone of protecting the poppy farmers and their families 24/7, 365 days a year would far outweigh the benefits gained.

Destruction of the fields (so that it no longer becomes a viable crop), is the only way to keep the drugs off the worlds streets and stop funding for arms.

Drug addiction is costly too..

Kevin Boatang said...

It is I, La Boatang (raises glasses).

To those who are saying 'burn it all down'. We've tried that, in fact we've been bombing the shit out of poppy fields for years and every time new ground is taken we burn the crops. Then we lose it and they replant it all.

The 'ban are only sanctioning the growing of opium in order to finance their war. They hate the stuff and if they win it will be gone in a blink (unless they adopt the classic 'let's drug the shit out of the west' policy).

There is a massive shortage of medical grade morphine. We are sitting on the biggest supply of morphine in the world. It's pretty logical isn't it.

Like Obo said, burning and a bombing won't do/hasn't done anything

Antipholus Papps said...

napalm is the only answer

Napalm is never the answer, unless of course you like the smell of victory in the morning.