Monday, July 24, 2006

Is it just me or is the world mad?

We are in Afghanistan as a result of the attacks of the 11th of September 2001. In many ways we have removed a very unpleasant government from that land and that is good. We are working on rebuilding the country and making it stable.

We are also trying to eradicate the opium poppy crop. Seemed like a good idea to me until I read this in the Guardian

Just to summarize:

  • Every time we try to eradicate poppy farming it causes a backlash and helps the Taliban.
  • There is a world wide shortage of medical opiates, some in the UK.
  • Heroin production in Turkey was halted not by eradication of poppies but by licensing growing it.
Firstly, it is good that a Conservative has pointed out this madness, but why has this not been dealt with before? Why are we spending so much money destroying something we need?


RichardS said...

I for one am utterly with you on this. Tobias Ellwood's proposal has a lot of merit, and if viable could help the Afghan farmers, their country and the legal market for opiate medicines in one fell swoop.

I turned to ConservativeHome today, wondering what the regulars there would make of this, and was surprised - pleasantly so. Apart from one or two confusing this with "legalising heroin", I couldn't see any voices of dissent.

You're right - the current situation is madness.

Benedict White said...

Thank you Richards.

I realy am flaberghasted. We are risking soldiers lives, spending tax payers money destroying a crop we need. You just could not make it up!

Mind you I get taxed to keep African farmers poor, then taxed again to try to help that, and then have to pay charities to do better, when in fact I don't want to keep Africans poor, so I would rather not pay the first tax!

Anonymous said...

War on two fronts is almost always a losing idea. If we are to destroy the Taliban, then we need to stop the war on Opium. This seems like the best way to achieve that.

If in the future we end up with a surplus, we can deal with that then. Hopefully stability will have increased the number of options.

Serf said...

That third post was me :(

Benedict White said...

Yes, an opiate montain would be much better than a taliban Afghanistan.

RichardS said...

Anyone know where the drugs companies currently get their supply of opiates from?

It's got to be licensed for growth somewhere in the world, surely?

(Btw, only reason my posts appear as "richards" and not my normal "RichardS" moniker is due to the comments submission code lowercasing the whole lot...)

Benedict White said...

Yes RichardS, it is in the Gaurdian article. Turkey mostly, grown under licence.

RichardS said...

..and also India, it appears:

Benedict White said...

Interesting article RichardS.

Apparently the UK also.

This will require some thoughtful policy. It is interesting how this all stems from the time in the US when the temperence movement was strong.

Captn Jazz said...

Just picked up an extraordinary report on Prescott's latest embarasment. See

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