UK troops, wallowing in poppys.

#1
There is something that has been troubling me for some time now. I have been trying to think of the answer to this question for a while, but can't even think what the answer MIGHT be. Let alone what it actually is.

The UK/US military technology is the best in the world. There is no denying it. So it seems to me, perfectly reasonable that we would be able to identify which fields are being used to grow poppys. Whether it is from RAF recces, ground forces, or maybe even satelites, surely we could easily identify poppy crops and destroy them!

Not only do the poppys in Afghanistan account for 93% of the UK's heroin problem (which costs the tax payer billions), it is funding the bloody Taliban!

"You need three things to win a war,
Money, money and more money"
Trivulzio (1441-1518) (Heyman C, 2007)

This guy may have lived a long time ago, but I think he has a good point! Don't you?

Destroy the poppys
Destroy the Taliban's funding
Destroy the Taliban
(added bonus, destroy 93% of the UK's heroin problem!)

Somebody, PLEASE explain to me why it is not that simple.
 
#3
Buying the poppy crop and outbidding others wanting to do the same,seems a cheap way of solving one Afghan problem.However Karsai(kahsi) might not like it,as his henchmen benefit from the trade!
 
#4
Perhaps Farmer Terry might get a bit peeved if his entire crop was destroyed, and was left wondering how else he could he find employment, to pay enough to feed his family for the year.
 
#5
#6
It's also funding most of Afghanistan. Give the farmers something more profitable to do and they'll do it. (The Taliban making them offers they can't refuse notwithstanding.) Trouble is the EU and the septics are too busy handing out agricultural subsidies left, right and centre so the whole notion of competitive advantage flies out the window.

In the mean time, all you'd be doing is making a bad situation worse on the hearts and minds front.
 
#7
I remember reading about a guy promoting the growing of pomegranites there as a viable replacment and source of income for the farmers.

Obviously it got canned though.
 
#8
muhandis89 said:
Buying the poppy crop and outbidding others wanting to do the same,seems a cheap way of solving one Afghan problem.However Karsai(kahsi) might not like it,as his henchmen benefit from the trade!
This topic comes quite often on this website and I always say the same thing - buy the crop straight from the farmers for a higher price than what the taliban and other warlords are paying then either destroy it or turn it in to medicinal morphine

FFS what part does any resonably intelligent person not understand :?
 
#9
If it was that easy to irradicate the poppies it would have been done by now. Although the farmers who harvest the shit make the salaries from it and so therefore need it to support their famalies.

Until the governments come up with a similar crop to harvest that will give them the same financial benefits then the idea to destroy their means to survival would only mean more opposition.

Also lets face it a few may take on say wheat, but this isnt as profitable as poppie by a long shot, and so this is where human greed and dependancy comes into play. It's the same with trying to implement (refer to how I don't say impose) a western society on an eastern society, the very fact that judicial system is corrupt and the quite frankly piss poor turn out for elections just shows that changing tac may be a good idea.

These people decide their fate for each other through shuras and have done for many decades so a corrupt government isnt going to mean jack shit in a country were the very people meant to protect them (their governors, their police etc)are the very people who violate and cause discomfort to their very existance. Also Afghan tribes are very much communities with a collective conscience and a deep sense of social soladarity, therefore to get back to the point, the very decision to destroy the poppies cant be made by a governor or an army official who has no place in their community, it cant even be made by the very person on his own who owns the land, it has to decided by the community. So thus the importance of our hearts and minds tasks and the need to get the locals on side, because by getting the locals on side we will be able to take care of the poppies one village at a time, then we may be able to help with everything else that we believe contributes to a functional society e.g. judiciary system, law enforcement, gender equality, education establishments etc

Some will say "well we have been their for several years already" yes we have, however we arn't God(although we may think we are) and Rome wasn't built in a day. These pillars of our existance have taken us decades to implement and fine tune, and judging by the economic climate, state of schools etc we still have a way to go.

Just to conclude the poppies wont go for years because they are across the whole of the provinces and as you guys no we only deal with Helmand due to the way nato distributed the provinces. So even if we decided to eradicate them from Helmand, would the Americans take the same perspective and follow suit, would the canadians etc. Highly complicated but very understanble why we should get rid of them, however if life was but that easy.
 
#10
Spanny said:
muhandis89 said:
Buying the poppy crop and outbidding others wanting to do the same,seems a cheap way of solving one Afghan problem.However Karsai(kahsi) might not like it,as his henchmen benefit from the trade!
This topic comes quite often on this website and I always say the same thing - buy the crop straight from the farmers for a higher price than what the taliban and other warlords are paying then either destroy it or turn it in to medicinal morphine

FFS what part does any resonably intelligent person not understand :?
Also, you might note that there is a world shortage of medical codeine.

Therefore, buying the poppy crop up at better rates than the crims/terrs can offer will:

1. Cut off funding for the bad guys
2. Channel fat funds to local farmers, improve the local economy and make them at least fro the moment our bezzers
3. Reduce the supply of opium-based illegal drugs to the West
4. Ameliorate the world shortage of codeine-based medicines

Against this four-fold advantage, there is the argument that opium is frightfully naughty so we shouldn't buy it.

I'm guessing that "any reasonably intelligent person" isn't being allowed within shouting distance of any policy decisions on this.

All the best,

John.
 
#11
Even if we brought the Poppy crop from the farmers, wouldn't the Taliban just extort the money anyway? Isn't it just a means to an end, regardless of what they grow?

Edit: ...though now I actually think about it the Taliban then sell it on again (in what form, processed or not, I won't presume to guess)? On reflection selling ingredients for drugs (bought cheaply?) is probably more lucrative than robbing a farmer. Especially if the farmer is growing wheat, which doesn't bring in so much. Of course there's the whole 'hearts and minds' matter then.

Hrm. I ought to have thought before I posted. Oh well.
 
#12
Thats very true chap, however me for one would much rather they extort them for wheat money rather than one of the most addictive and prolific killers on our streets.
 
#13
This is a very simplistic view on both the uk drug issue and the afghan war.

As has been said the local population need this money also and destroying there land and then saying "we are hear to help" probs would lead to full on revolt against the nato forces in the rural regions of the country. The money the Taliban make from the drugs is probs small change compared to the money coming from other sources such as donations from sympathetic regimes etc

The uk drug problem is a prime example of supply and demand, just because the afghan supply goes away doesn't mean there is no other sources. There is still plenty in south east asia, just new supply routes will have to be found. This would not really be an issue considering the amount of money that can be made. Even in a perfect world where lets say heroin has gone, people will still want to get high and will simply change their drug so instead of people shooting brown they'll start making crystel meth in the uk on a larger scale and we have the same problem with a different drug.

The only thing in the world that is that simple is pulling geordie lasses
 
#14
muhandis89 said:
Buying the poppy crop and outbidding others wanting to do the same,seems a cheap way of solving one Afghan problem.However Karsai(kahsi) might not like it,as his henchmen benefit from the trade!
I had drawn the same conclusion. Perfectly sound theory, but applying it would be a nightmare, trying to bring in the poppy harvest in the face of violent opposition from the Taliban, and disinterest (at best) from the Government (there is a difference between the two, isn't there?)
 
#15
Kyle_ni said:
As has been said the local population need this money also and destroying there land and then saying "we are hear to help" probs would lead to full on revolt against the nato forces in the rural regions of the country. The money the Taliban make from the drugs is probs small change compared to the money coming from other sources such as donations from sympathetic regimes etc

The uk drug problem is a prime example of supply and demand, just because the afghan supply goes away doesn't mean there is no other sources. There is still plenty in south east asia, just new supply routes will have to be found. This would not really be an issue considering the amount of money that can be made. Even in a perfect world where lets say heroin has gone, people will still want to get high and will simply change their drug so instead of people shooting brown they'll start making crystel meth in the uk on a larger scale and we have the same problem with a different drug.

The only thing in the world that is that simple is pulling geordie lasses
Sure, the local population may need this money, the same as I need money to live. I'm sure as hell this argument wouldn't stand up if I wanted to grow weed in my attic.

The point is, allowing them to grow poppys is just condoning them to make money through drugs. We haven't lost our moral compass, our moral compass is broken, and we are still trying to use the bloody thing. Why not dump a load of propaganda style leaflets from airplanes to inform the farmers that if they grow poppys, then the crop will be destroyed. Also inform them, that there are some alternative free wheat seeds. Simple!

I see what you are saying about the drugs trade in the UK being about supply and demand, but to let them grow poppys is like saying, "well... we should stop bothering to make massive drugs busts, because they will only find another supply." If we put a virtual stop to 93% of our imports of heroin, it doesn't take a genius to realise that it would give the drugs trade a serious black eye. A step in the right direction. Prices would soar, less people would become hooked.

I appreciate people for listing some of the technical difficulties surrounding the matter, but heroin is no wishy washy political matter. It's a serious issue. Paticularly if British junkies are paying for the mortars that kill their relatives. It's high time we grabbed this bull by the horns, put the small technicalities aside for a moment, and rid Afghanistan of this disgusting habbit.

Kyle_ni said:
destroying there land and then saying "we are hear to help" probs would lead to full on revolt against the nato forces in the rural regions of the country.
Give them plenty of warning about the new rules, and they will have noone to blame but themselves if they have their land destroyed.

Besides, who said "we are here to help"!?!? It seems to me that everyone has forgotten why we went there in the first place. To destory the regime that destroyed the trade centers and blew up our underground. Quite frankly, if we end up "helping the Afghans" as a result, then they should be quite greatful for that.

We know where the heroin is, destroy it now. Before it reaches our streets.
 
#16
Hearts and minds mean anything?

How can we raise the local security forces if the entire local population hates us because we destroyed their only source of income. If farmers don't make any money from the poppy fields, they don't spend the money in the local markets therefore everyone farmer, butcher, shop owner etc has no source of income. People end up starving or have to find other sources of income for example kidnapping (not going to help the civvi contractors that will be needed to develop the region).

Its not just the taliban that make money from this trade, there is also plenty of Warlords who use the money to fund their people. Some of these Warlords have not taken up arms against the Nato forces. That said if Nato stopped them from getting that source of income by destroying the poppy fields they might get abit annoyed and as the name Warlord suggests they probs won't just write an angry letter about it.

This kind of rush in attitude was used in Northern Ireland where Internment was used as a quick fix, it made republicans even more hardline and also turned many normal Catholics totally against the British. If that kind of attitude caused a developed country with an English speaking population into a 30 year long military campaign what do you think would happen in a tribal, muslim country with several different dialects?

You can't win a counterinsurgency without the support of the local population and that is why we can't destroy the poppy fields until the local population are able to replace the money earned by the trade with another viable option.
 
#17
Imagine a situation whereby the farmers would get paid more for not growing the crop than they would for actually growing it?

Seems simple enough to me - educate them to then grow other crops and police the whole operation.

Can't imagine that a regional government has ever thought about paying farmers not to grow crops before....
 
#18
posttopeters said:
Destroy the poppys (it's "poppies" actually, coz it's ploorul)
Destroy the Taliban's funding
Destroy the Taliban
(added bonus, destroy 93% of the UK's heroin problem!)

Somebody, PLEASE explain to me why it is not that simple.
Because another "added (and entirely undesirable) bonus" would be that you'd alienate around 95 percent of the population.

In addition, I believe you'll find that the third point you made has, sort of, been the objective since around 2003. It doesn't seem to be going too well at the moment.

MsG
 
#20
We're not at war with Afghanistan. We're at war with The Taliban.

Afghanistan needs the poppy.

Simples!
 

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