Posted 12 months ago on Dec. 17, 2012, 3:39 a.m. EST by jrhirsch
from Sun City, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
American and coalition forces fighting bravely for a what they believe is a just cause in Afghanistan are in fact being killed due to policies instituted by the U.S. government.
Back in 2001, the Taliban by religious decree, had nearly brought opium production in Afghanistan (the grayish blue portions of the bars in the graph below) to a near standstill, with just 10% produced compared to the previous year. That meant worldwide opium production had dropped by 60% in just one year. Prices for the drug soared. A few months later the twin towers were attacked and we invaded Afghanistan. By the following year, under the watch of U.S. and coalition forces, opium production climbed back to match it's pre-invasion level, then doubled again by 2007, making Afghanistan the number one opium grower with a 90% share of the world market.
Why would opium of all drugs be tolerated by the U.S government? Especially considering it's the Taliban who lend the money to growers, who then take those profits to purchase weapons and bomb making materials that are used to kill our soldiers.
It doesn't make any sense on two counts. First, you would expect that we would want to discourage the cultivation of opium, which is responsible for the addiction of millions worldwide. And second, the strategy in any war is to weaken and defeat your enemy, so why strengthen our enemy by enabling the ability to increase their military strength? In any previous war this would have been considered treasonous.
We frequently hear news reports mainly from Kandahar and Helmand provinces where coalition forces are engaging the enemy. It shouldn't come as a surprise that these are the two provinces where most of Afghanistan's opium is grown. In the video below, Geraldo Rivera interviews a marine Lieutenant Colonel about the dilemma of allowing opium to continue being grown.
So let's follow the opium trail. One third is consumed by nearby countries such as Pakistan, India, and Iran. About two thirds is refined into heroin and distributed throughout Europe, Russia, China, Africa and the Americas. Most of the profit in the $65 billion opiate trade doesn't stay in Afghanistan. The middle men outside of the country make the bulk of the profits. When profits are this large, money silences justice, and when it's voice is not heard, corruption abounds.
So why would the U.S. government condone the distribution of opiates worldwide? Could having millions of people in a country we are at odds with such as Iran, addicted to narcotics, be a possible reason we sacrifice our own soldiers in order to weaken our enemy? Is Iran so important a foe on the international chess board, it's oil supply worth destroying the lives of millions in order to control it's flow? It sounds like an insane idea, but the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are themselves insane. Killing, maiming, disfiguring, and terrifying hundreds of thousands of innocent people, for what ultimate goal?
Another possible reason for our extended involvement in Afghanistan are it's own natural resources. General Petreus gives us a taste of just how rich the dry and rugged land really is.
"If Afghanistan can become the central Asian 'roundabout,' to use President Karzai's term, to where it can be the new Silk Road, think of the implications for that, recalling that, of course, Afghanistan is blessed with the presence of what are trillions, with an 'S' on the end, trillions of dollars worth of minerals if, and only if, you can get the extractive technology, the human capital operated, the lines of communication to enable you to get it out of the country and all the rest of that. Very big 'if.' And of course, there's a foundation of security that would be necessary on, on which to build all of that. But, again, the prospects are very significant if you can achieve objectives." -- Gen. David Petraeus, Meet the Press, Sunday, August 15th, 2010.
When trillions of dollars of resources are up for grabs, some people are willing to fight for them, even if it means terrorizing entire societies and cultures, even if it means sending other peoples sons and daughters to pay the ultimate price.
Not only does Afghanistan possess mineral resources, it's also a key corridor for trade between the rich gas fields of Turkmenistan and the east. The Taliban are an impediment to these plans since security can't be guaranteed for the TAPI pipeline that will travel from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, and on into Pakistan and India.
The IPI gas pipeline in Iran that also will flow to India and Pakistan is a direct competitor to the TAPI pipeline and also presents a strategic problem since we are currently imposing sanctions against Iran to limit their nuclear capabilities as well as force a more western friendly regime change.
The war in Afghanistan is now in it's eleventh year. We fought WWI, WWII, and Korea in the same length of time! Some of the reasons stated above may be the why this has war has lasted so long.
A reasonable person cannot honestly say our handling of the opium trade in Afghanistan and the geo-political war fought on it's land by our soldiers makes any sense at all except to enrich the already wealthy and subjugate yet another country under occupation.
Calling our dead soldiers heroes as they come home in flag draped coffins doesn't remove the lingering scent of rotting and corrupted U.S. policies that are responsible for their deaths. Instead we need to remove those patriotic lenses made of colored glass that distort and cloud our vision, and see the clear reality behind our actions, so that we can bring this war of terror to a swift end.
Do you say proudly, I support the troops? You really need to ask yourself, is the need to send them into battle so necessary that you would also be willing to send your own sons or daughters? To fight and possibly die so that a few wealthy individuals can reap the benefits that they have not sown? If you can't honestly say yes, then how can you possibly allow another soldier to be sent to a distant land to die in a war not fought for freedom, but for material wealth?