Afghan poppy crop

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by St_George_true, Feb 27, 2007.

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  1. Afghan poppy crop

    Tackling the growing of poppies in Afghanistan is a difficult problem. The current plan which is to spray herbicides is unlikely to have any lasting impact. It will have little impact anyway, since the spraying will of necessity be at low level, using relatively light aircraft. These will be extremely vulnerable to being shot down. You are likely to run out of aircraft and willing pilots before even a fraction of the many square miles of poppy crop has been sprayed. The exercise must be repeated year after year to have any significant impact.

    Given the vast acreages, it is necessary to use a fleet of heavy-lift aircraft such as the Hercules. The size of the problem is simply too great to be tackled by light aircraft. To reduce the risk of being shot down, the Hercules would need to fly at a reasonable altitude, say 10000 feet or above. Unfortunately, any herbicide sprayed from that altitude is liable to have evaporated and dispersed long before it reaches the ground. (Possibly you could spray herbicide from some altitude, if you do so whilst it is raining. The rain would carry it to the ground level. It would however be necessary to fly at or below cloudbase, which is likely to be a vulnerable height. Additionally, the herbicide may be rendered ineffective, if the rain is too heavy, since it would simply be washed off the leaves. It may be worth considering, but as a stop-gap approach, to destroy a crop that is already established.)

    Here is (perhaps) a workable solution:

    Simply stated: From a safe height, dispense a combination of salt and rape seed from the back of a fleet of Hercules aircraft. As both of these are solids, they will reach the ground, in most weather conditions. Since rape plants are members of the brassica family, they are easily able to grow in salty soil. Poppies are not in the brassica family, and are weakened and stunted by salt, if they grow at all. Unlike herbicides, the salt in the soil will remain active for some time, until it is eventually washed away.

    The rape seeds are small. However, each rape plant grows into quite a good sized bush, some 5 feet high. It should easily out-compete the poppy plants near it, particularly if they are weakened by the salt. Each rape plant produces a large number of seeds, which would produce a much denser ground cover in the following year. Taking the land out of use for poppy growing in this way has some chance of success. Spraying herbicide is too high-tech, and requires too much infrastructure and support for it to work effectively over the vast areas involved.

    The rape plants can be harvested and used for cooking oil production. Salting the land does not make it completely useless for growing other crops. Any plants in the brassica family should be OK. This includes food crops such as cabbage or sprouts etc, so this approach will not result in starvation of the population.

    Poppycock? Or worth considering?
  2. Why not buy the poppies, make them into heroin and provide it free to all the addicts in the west so they stop stealing people's stuff to pay for their habits? Would put all the smack dealers and their gangs out of business too.
  3. This has been talked about before as mentioned and seems a sensible solution. Which is probably why it's doomed to failure.

    Sorry but I have this mental picture of somebody meeting a seedy character up a dark alley and asking if he has any sprouts to sell.
    "Naw mate but you can score some kohlrabi off me"
  4. No, more brassica. Fcuk why didn't I just say cabbage?
  5. Not an agronomist (or any kind of -ist), but am rather surprised at the concept that you could administer the correct dosage of sodium chloride that would prevent poppy growth but not affect growth of other crops/pollute water supplies etc. The existing soil salinity would not be known, aerial administration would be extremely imprecise and the risk of too great a quantity would be extremely high. Not only would the soil be ruined for, potentially, many years, risking famine, but surface run-off would potentially poison streams & percolation would contaminate aquifers and therefore wells. Can't see the locals chuffed quotient rising.

    All in all, this sounds like something that might get a GCSE Grade D. So watch this space for an announcement that it forms a central part of the US CN policy :roll:
  6. St_George_true wrote:
    What an appropriate term. The article comes from an anti-Muslim web-blog which also has an equally crappy poem about a Muslim Eskimo - you can read it in the ARRSE hole...Guess who wrote both?
  7. Not Jeremy sodding Clarkson?

    That buggers sticks his nose into everything.
  8. Timmy Mallett?
  9. That would greatly displease the local Afghani drug lords. If the farmers sell their crop to anybody other than the local baron, they are very likely to end up dead.

    Haven't the Americans used napalm to destroy large scale drug farms in the carribean?
  10. Yes the poem fortunately I forget but the link I remember as I followed Mr Deputy though not too closely, don't want people to talk but I objected to the derrogatory 'eskimo' in the poem.

    I would like to say hear and now that I am not offended by the use of the word 'brassica'.
  11. I'm offended by the thought of Taliban on sprouts...
  12. It depends how they're cooked.

    Preferably fried or toasted.

    Even burned is fine.

    Though don't ever overcook sprouts.
  13. Consider the explosive qualities of methane....Our lads have enough to worry about without having to watch every Afghan with a lighter.
    It's almost criminal to give them this new weapon...

  14. To weaponise human-produced methane based upon sprout consumption into some kind of thermobaric device along the lines of the US fuel/air bombs would be quite an achievement for the Taliban - although there would be signifcant difficulties in concealing from NATO ISTAR assets the necessary processes and by-products from the huge quantities of sprouts that would need to be eaten by the dedicated.

    Combat indicators would include unusual amounts of half-eaten turkey carcasses, paper hats and halal plum pudding (with tinsel).
  15. You'd be doubly stuffed. The common agricultural policy requires us to buy all of our sprouts from France at a cost of 5 pounds per sprout.

    Afghanistan wont be able to sell us fruit and veg until the join the European Union and president Brown starts lifting them out of poverty. Peter Mandelson has the Afghani accession penciled in for 2009 so they'll be selling us heroin for at least another couple of years.