08 May 2008

Marines Allow Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

Instead of torching the poppy fields of Afghan farmers, thereby pissing them off and making them more likely to work with the Muj, or giving the Taliban money to eradicate poppy fields, like Bush did in 2001, the Marines are taking the smarter route and letting Afghans conduct business. From the San Diego Tribune:

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Stover, whose platoon is sleeping beside a poppy crop planted in the interior courtyard of a mud-walled compound, said the Marines' mission is to get rid of the “bad guys,” and “the locals aren't the bad guys.” “Poppy fields in Afghanistan are the cornfields of Ohio,” said Stover, 28, of Marion, Ohio. “When we got here they were asking us if it's OK to harvest poppy and we said, 'Yeah, just don't use an AK-47.'”

So instead of forcing the poppy farmers to pledge allegiance to a band of illegitmate thugs like the Taliban, the Marines (the good guys, unless you are in Code Pink) are enabling moderate Afghans to take part in economic production. This is a key part of COIN doctrine to quell an insurgency, so kudos to the Marine Corps. Also, the poppy can be used to extract opiates for legitmate medical uses and reap huge money in exports for the poor country.

Of course, I'm sure it won't be long until the alarmist nanny squadron at Partnership for a Drug Free America starts making PSAs for the Marines, because they think that they're all strung out on smack or some such nonsense. Another case of our dumb drug war hamstringing the goals of our justified war on Islamic extremism in Afghanistan.
Marines Employing Smart COIN Techniques (photo from San Diego Tribune)


Redbeard said...

The Toronto Star has an article about how Turkey turned its illegal opium crops into legal opium crops in the 70s, and how the Canadians are thinking of trying to do the same now with the Afghans.

Nixon said...

thx for the link