The Wars on Drugs and Terrorism Meet in Afghanistan
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Future of Freedom Foundation
The U.S. government’s wars on drugs and terrorism are now coming together in Afghanistan, a nation famous for the production of opium. Prior to the Taliban regime, Afghanistan had been the world’s largest producer of poppies. But under the Taliban regime, the Afghan government waged a war on drugs as fiercely as the U.S. government does, and opium production in Afghanistan plummeted.
Since the newly installed Afghan government took over, however, poppy production has once again soared, much to the chagrin of U.S. officials. Of course, one primary reason production has soared is because of the enormous black-market price of opium arising from the U.S. government’s war on drugs.
So, what are U.S. officials doing to solve the problem? No, they’re not installing Taliban officials in the Afghan Drug Enforcement Administration. You guessed it—they’re throwing U.S. tax money at it! (Isn’t that the way the feds handle all problems?)
Under this newest drug-war plan, the U.S. government will funnel American taxpayer monies to Afghan government officials (who of course will not pocket any of it), who in turn will pay Afghan farmers $500 per acre to destroy their crops. What happens if the farmers refuse? The farmers get their crops destroyed anyway. (Talk about an offer they can’t refuse!) Ashraf Ghani, a senior advisor in the Afghan government, was quite direct: " State power is based on the legitimate use of force. We hope it doesn’t reach that point. " Yes, but isn’t the problem that government officials of all stripes think that ALL use of force by the state is legitimate as a matter of definition?
Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va.