Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Poppies Will Make Them Sleep"

Indeed, that seems to have been the effect upon the Bush (Mis)Administration, as it slowly yet inevitably continues to lose ground on the first frontline in the War on Terra®.

Afghanistan will produce another record poppy harvest this year that cements its status as the world's near-sole supplier of the heroin source, yet a furious debate over how to reverse the trend is stalling proposals to cut the crop, U.S. officials say.

U.N. figures to be released in September are expected to show that Afghanistan's poppy production has risen up to 15 percent since 2006 and that the country now accounts for 95 percent of the world's crop, 3 percentage points more than last year, officials familiar with preliminary statistics told The Associated Press.

But counterdrug proposals by some U.S. officials have met fierce resistance, including boosting the amount of forcible poppy field destruction in provinces that grow the most, officials said. The approach also would link millions of dollars in development aid to benchmarks on eradication; arrests and prosecutions of narcotraders, corrupt officials; and on alternative crop production.
As poppies bloom, our coffers wilt as more money is thrown at the problem, in stunningly ineffective ways.
[P]roponents call [for] an "enhanced carrot-and-stick approach" to
supplement existing anti-drug efforts. They are the focus of the new $475 million program outlined in a 995-page report, the release
of which has been postponed twice and may be again delayed due to disagreements,
officials said.

Counternarcotics agents at the State Department had wanted to release a 123-page summary of the strategy last month and then again last week, but were forced to hold off because of concerns it may not be feasible, the officials said.

The program represents a 13 percent increase over the $420 million in U.S. counternarcotics aid to Afghanistan last year. It would adopt a bold new approach to "coercive eradication" and set out criteria for local officials to receive development assistance based on their cooperation, the officials said. [all emphasis mine]
The black hole of money, troops & resources that is the Afghanistan Campaign continues to grow, slowly yet inexorably. But, at least the cost of heroin should drop; that whole free-market supply-and-demand thing, ya know.
Perhaps this was part & parcel of the necon plan from the beginning. Since it is mostly the ungodly, gay-lovin', gun-hatin' Hollyweird liberal types that engage in heroin usage, a large contingent of the Left may be too distracted by stints in rehab to back the progessive cause. You'd have to admire such evil genius.