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Poppies Rising: Afghanistan's Drug Catastrophe
by Counterpunch (reposted)
Thursday Dec 21st, 2006 8:30 PM
By BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

"Opium production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the world's heroin, broke all records in 2006, reaching a historic high despite ongoing US-sponsored eradication efforts, the Bush administration reported yesterday . . . . White House drug policy chief John Walters called the news "disappointing"."

Washington Post, December 2, 2006

"Today we mark the fulfillment of the ambitious vision that we all set out together four years ago in Bonn, Germany: A fully functioning, sovereign Afghan government."

Condoleezza Rice, January 31, 2006
Rice is a gifted intellectual with the common sense of a traveling rabbit, and is exactly the sort of person who is invaluable in the dysfunctional bunker in which lurks the Fuhrer of the United States, fantasizing, as did Adolf in the mad chaotic days before the fall of Berlin, that some miracle will save his lunatic régime. Among so many matters of pressing importance that the Bush ménage considers a low priority is the débâcle in Afghanistan, and especially the ineffectiveness of Afghanistan's totally non-functional government concerning the heroin trade.

So far as the use of the word "sovereign" by Rice is concerned, presumably she does not know that the Afghan government has no powers over the 40,000 foreign troops in the country, or over the countless thousands of "contractors" (as swaggering gun-toting foreign mercenaries are now known in Iraq and Afghanistan). If any of them imprisons or tortures or murders an Afghan civilian he is not held accountable under Afghan law (such, of course, as exists). This imperial arrogance is directly contrary to any idea of sovereignty. But who cares? Not Rice, drifting ever skywards in her cloudy little bubble of airy optimism.

The White House considers the explosion in Afghanistan's drug production to be "disappointing", which is a far cry from the verdict of grown-up observers who say it is catastrophic. For example, Mr Doug Wankel, director of the US Anti-narcotics Task Force in Afghanistan, says the country could be "taken down by this whole drugs problem". He is obviously a man who analyses evidence and is not on message from the White House, so therefore can be listened to and trusted. He is joined in his warning by Nato's Supreme Commander, US General Jones, who has said that the drug disaster is Afghanistan's "Achilles' heel", which is an understatement.

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http://counterpunch.com/cloughley12212006.html