Today, a friend of ours sent The Wife an e-mail from Kabul, where he is stationed. He's on an anti-drug patrol and conditions sound pretty grim. It's easy for us to forget that there is still a war going on in Afghanistan, that the bad guys are not destined to lose, and that a lot of people -- Afghans and Americans alike -- are dying.
The opium crop this year looks like it's going to be the biggest on record. Last year's attempts to get the farmers to convert from poppies to vegetables and wheat proved an economic failure, and now they're all planting poppies again, because they can get cash and buy food easier that way. Apparently, the manpower available to police against growing this nominally illegal crop is pathetically inadequate to the task. Perhaps our friend and his men can help, but he didn't sound very optimistic about that.
What we as a country ought to do is buy the opium ourselves. We can use it for medical supplies, but more important, we can get it out of the international narcotics channels where the proceeds from its sale can subsidize terrorism and other dangerous activity that we want to prevent. Oh, and by the way, stop some kids from getting hooked on smack. The farmers are going to grow it anyway. Then, maybe our friend could come home where he would be safer and with his friends and live in conditions a bit more comfortable than the inside of a leaky cargo container.