Sunday, February 01, 2009

Questioning The Afghanistan Motive

When it comes to desired motives for our involvement in Afghanistan I tend to share the ideals of such exulted persons as Prime Minister Rudd and President Obama. The desire is a purely humanitarian one, the chance for the majority of people of that country to chose their preferred destiny.

For the Bush administration for the Afghan conflicts was primary stated purpose was the capture Osama bin Laden, a failed endeavour. As for the NATO and other international forces in the conflict there is a constant debate and disagreement over purpose.

“U.S. General John Craddock said all drug traffickers could be attacked, whether or not evidence connected them to the Taliban insurgency. The "guidance" was sent to General Egon Ramms, head of the NATO command at Brunssum in the Netherlands, and the commander of the NATO-led foreign force in Afghanistan General David McKiernan, and neither wanted to follow it.” link

“…Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates called on NATO allies Thursday to target Afghanistan's drug traffickers as part of a wider effort to confront a resurgent Taliban, which he said is using heroin money to fund the insurgency.” WP

We know now that there were no WDMs in Iraq, it was essentially an oil war. Increasingly evidence has emerged that Vietnam was not about ‘communism’ but about the control of the ‘Golden triangle’, the world opium trade – read heroin etc...

Afghanistan, despite various pathetic attempts to paint it as such, is not about oil, it is about opium. The global corporates aren’t fussy bout the actual commodity, so long as it pays well. I’m still researching and cast no allegations on anyone, but still two major corporates linked to legal production of opiates are Glaxo Smith Kline & Johnson & Johnson, both of whom have been under scrutiny in recent years.

So lets go back: “Drug production that was all but wiped out by the Taliban by 2001 has shot up. Afghan farmers grew enough opium in 2005-06 to make 610 tons of heroin — more than all the world's addicts consume in a year. . . “ link

If the Afghanistan conflict is really about the humanitarian needs of the people of that country then serious efforts would also be underway to find cash crops other than poppies. There are obviously forces who want that illicit drug supply to continue, and the war must be against them as well as brutal government regimes.

At the moment there are too many questions, too many wrong reasons why we are there. Criminal behaviour is no less criminal because it is sanctioned or organised by legitimate governments and corporations.


D.K. Raed said...

You know, considering the poor soil, bad weather & terrible growing conditions, if the Afghans were having this kind of success with an edible crop, they'd be hailed as profrickinductive geniuses.

U.S. experience in drug wars or trying to control drug trafficking in Latin America have been such abysmal failures, I sure hope that's not what we are risking our lives for in Afghanistan.

ps, that plant looks so poisonous, I'm amazed anyone ever thought about using it in the human body!

Cart said...

”U.S. experience in drug wars or trying to control drug trafficking in Latin America have been such abysmal failures”
DK, I haven’t had the opportunity to dig into that yet, but I guess the question is; failure by what measure? If it is a matter of securing profits rather than deal with humanitarian needs the US might have done very well indeed.

As to the plant, having lived a few years around fields of them, they certainly look very attractive. Getting close enough to find out was another matter, they were well patrolled in Tasmania.

D.K. Raed said...

I meant failure in the sense that the U.S. has expended beaucoup capital and manpower for decades all over Latin America and the problem still persists. The War on Drugs is widely acknowledged as a failure here. But yes, as you say, if we judge the effort by profits, then for those earning the profits, it was not a failure at all. OMG! Perhaps you are suggesting that our expenditures were not really in an effort to wipe out the drug trade at all, but more along the lines of payola to certain powerful interests! If so, then you are on the edge of a very dangerous precipice, my friend. (just kidding, it was a valid observation, albeit one that causes alarm bells to clang)

Cart said...

Well I guess you made me spell it out :)

abi said...

I heard an interesting point about opium on Bill Moyers the other night - one I've never heard before. That the Afghan war lords we hear so much about, and who helped us kick out the Taliban, are in reality drug lords. Opium is where their money and power comes from.

Don't know if it's true or not, but Moyers doesn't usually have nutjobs on his show. Transcript here.

Cart said...

Karzai and his chosen buddies, the war lords, are well reported as the local drug lords. Who are they working for? It is easy to say the Taliban, but with no proof it could just as easily be corporate/mob interests.