Three weeks ago, I wrote an article titled Afghanistan and America’s Heroin Addiction. Heroin drug sales are rampant on the streets of America. The purpose of the column was to bring to light that the American government and media were doing next to nothing to correct or advise re the situation.
The number of heroin deaths and addictions are unprecedented in our history. Growing daily. While the U.S. government has been sitting on its ass.
Though I was a voice in the wilderness, I take no credit for what occurred last week. Congress passed a bill to deal with prescription pain killers and heroin. The bill appears heavy as regards prescription painkillers. Heroin, an add on.
It is expected Obama will sign the bill when it reaches him.
The new law is titled the Comprehensive Addiction and Drug Act.
The bill provides $103 million annually from 2017-2020. It includes additional oversight by federal agencies to curb the heroin epidemic. The DEA, FBI, Justice and Treasury will be involved.
The aim of the bill is to provide prevention, treatment, recovery and law enforcement.
$103 million a year is a drop in the bucket. The U.S. has already spent $10 billion to eradicate the opium problem in Afghanistan. Most of the $10 billion was spent in Afghanistan.
If $10 billion did not work in countering the Afghanistan heroin problem, how can a measly $103 million per year for four years do better? Especially when shared with the pain pill killer problem.
Not enough money in the new bill. A drop in the bucket. Wasted dollars as far as heroin is concerned.
Where did the $10 billion go? Into the pockets of corrupt officials and persons. The money has lined the pockets of former President Hamid Karzi, his half brother, governors, police chiefs and war lords. Some is suspected to have found its way into the pockets of American officials and contracted persons.
Money is really not the problem. The problem is the lack of desire on the part of the U.S. to do the necessary to destroy Afghanistan’s poppy fields.
Especially since 2010. Obama ordered a 100,000 troop surge. The military was not concerned with poppy fields. Rather with keeping casualties down and training an Afghan force to defend itself. Military higher ups took the position that heroin was not their concern/responsibility.
And it was not. The U.S. needed the help of the Taliban. The Taliban in those years was financing its war activities with the proceeds of opium sales. The U.S. could not upset Taliban who had become an ally.
There are those I describe as goody goodies. They take the position Afghans are a poor people. Many work the poppy fields and distribution arm within Afghanistan. It would be improper to destroy their ability to support themselves, feed their families, etc.
These people recommend a slow deliberate reduction of opium production over decades. Felbab-Brown of the Brookings Institute said anything less or draconian would be “…..morally reprehensible…..the human security of large segments of the Afghanistan population is dependent on poppy.”
I find it hard to understand such a philosophy. Americans are dying in large numbers every day from heroin addiction. Many more are supplying their addiction. If there is a choice between Aghhans dying or American citizens, I say let the Afghans die. If this be America First, so be it.
There are two draconian methods to swiftly solve the poppy growing problem. Bomb the hell out of the poppy fields.
Very few, if any, are near cities. The poppy patches are in the hills and valleys and in desert areas. Similar with what the Jews did with Israel, the drug dealers have taken large tracts of desert far out and irrigated that portion of the desert.
The desert located poppy fields are so far out into never- never land that any American helicopters utilized to destroy the fields would have to refuel. The only way to refuel them would be the use of fuel bladders parachuted out of the back of cargo planes.
Another is spraying. The fields can be destroyed with chemical spraying.
The Taliban were in power in 2000. The Taliban decided opium was a disgrace to Islam. They spent the year 2001 eradicating the poppy fields. One year.
The Taliban program is noted as one of the world’s most successful anti-drug programs. In one year, there was a 99 percent reduction in poppy growth.
One problem. By killing the opium business, the Taliban also pissed off everyone in the Afghan population. People lost money big time.
One year later in 2002, Taliban was out of power.
How did the Taliban eradicate poppy growth in one year? Simple. They used their ways of conviction. Similar to those of al Qaeda and ISIS. Threats, forced eradication, and public punishment. The stop or we will chop your head off approach.
Religion can be hypocritical. In 2001, opium was a disgrace to Islam. The poppy fields were destroyed. Since 2008, Taliban has needed money to support its war efforts. Poppy growing provides a significant portion of the funding. An example of the end justifying the means.
Russia has a concern about the problem It affects Russia also. Putin has not been sitting on his ass. He is threatening force. Putin and the U.S. do not see eye to eye as to how the problem is to be handled.
As reflected previously, the U.S. has varied and multiple interests in allowing the poppy/opium/heroin problem to continue. Does such cloud what we are told?
Government tells us Afghanistan is not the problem. It is Mexico. Experts disagree. Afghanistan is responsible for 85 percent of opium production worldwide. Mexico, only 15 percent.
Heroin must be defeated at its source. Where it grows. Not the way it has been approached. The U.S. has fought the big war for years trying to eliminate/control marijuana and cocaine. A person can still buy all they want on the streets of America.
The U.S. has been in Afghanistan all these years in pursuit of the War on Terror. While doing so, the U.S. lost the War on Drugs. Afghan drug control has never been a priority.
It still is not and will not via the new drug program proposed.
Heroin will survive.