USMC try unorthodox tactics to disrupt Afghan opium harvest

#2
I can never understand why they don't just buy the stuff. I was reading about a global shortage of opiate painkillers only a year or so ago; one would have thought it's the sort of market solution that the US would be all in favour of. Rather than trying to eradicate production, why not commercialise it, and outbid the Taliban?
 
#3
If they're going to confiscate harvesting tools carried by migrant workers, how are the food crops going to be harvested?

Might as well just buy up the land and build Disneyland Afghanistan...
 
#4
putteesinmyhands said:
If they're going to confiscate harvesting tools carried by migrant workers, how are the food crops going to be harvested?

Might as well just buy up the land and build Disneyland Afghanistan...
That would never do--we can't afford to lose all those British pounds from your tourists coming to Orlando.
 
#5
Yep, quite agree. Surely taking the harvesting tools off migrant workers prevents normal crops from being harvested? Also as an aside, if all htey ahve to do is prove they've ploughed under their fields for cash, what is there to stop them ploughing food under?

Buy the opium off them, and give them free food seeds. The opium can be either burned or used for medicinal purposes. Next year just torch the opium fields.

A bit of fertiliser and irrigation help wouldn't go a miss, and education in such things.
 
#6
Pigshyt_Freeman said:
I can never understand why they don't just buy the stuff. I was reading about a global shortage of opiate painkillers only a year or so ago; one would have thought it's the sort of market solution that the US would be all in favour of. Rather than trying to eradicate production, why not commercialise it, and outbid the Taliban?
Or just legalise it.
 
#7
Pigshyt_Freeman said:
I can never understand why they don't just buy the stuff. I was reading about a global shortage of opiate painkillers only a year or so ago; one would have thought it's the sort of market solution that the US would be all in favour of. Rather than trying to eradicate production, why not commercialise it, and outbid the Taliban?
Or just legalise it.
 
#8
chocolate_frog said:
Next year just torch the opium fields.
No need - they could become very prosperous as legitimate opium farmers, and buy what food they needed. Nothing like a bit of spare cash in your pocket and the opportunity to trade in the donkey-cart for a Landcruiser, to convert people to the capitalist values of the Infidel West.
 
#10
If you were a cynic you might argue that buying it would disrupt the profits of the worlds largest legal opium producers...............The US being no 2 if i remember correctly .......
 
#11
Pigshyt_Freeman said:
I can never understand why they don't just buy the stuff. I was reading about a global shortage of opiate painkillers only a year or so ago; one would have thought it's the sort of market solution that the US would be all in favour of. Rather than trying to eradicate production, why not commercialise it, and outbid the Taliban?
They did that. It just increased production to the levels that they are now.
 

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#12
Perhaps wee should pay local farmers the going opium rate per acre for the same acreage of wheat or some other food crop. They get the money, the US sells it to locals at current market rates, everybody wins
 
#13
The UN has spent a fortune in the Indian Sub-continent encouraging them to grow poppies legally for medical purposes. If we now buy the Afghan Poppy crop instead, these poorestpeople in the world will lose their only source of income and poverty and starvation will return to those areas (unless of course someone else pays them to grow illlegally)
 
#14
We could be giving the convicts purest afghan to re-dope them prior to their release in the community instead of methodone.
 
#16
The problem here is the lack of other crops suitable for the area, that will pay the farmer a reasonable return.
Last year, the wheat crop prices went mad, so the farmers grew wheat instead of opium. This year, wheat is down a bit, so they grow opium. They know there's always a market for it.
There aren't many crops that like the rubbish soil of Afghanistan. There used to be a fairly wide range of stuff (nuts and fruit) grown, but the wars and illegal logging have cut down most of the timber. There isn't enough water to irrigate most grain crops, so you really want stuff that likes high altitude, thin soil, extreme temperature, little water, and so on. There's not a lot of candidate crops here. Opium poppy is a tough old weed, and isn't so fussy.

So, rather than subsidise farmers to plough a crop in, and penalising the seasonal labour, the Marines should be paying all that labour to work.

What is needed is to reforest huge areas of Afghanistan. The Chinese are currently doing this on a huge scale, not for the cropping, but simply for land restoration. Similar projects are going on in India and the Sahara.
It improves the soil, increases water retention, and so on. Restoring Afghanistan would be a multi generational programme, that could easily soak up every spare bit of labour in the country.
Incidentally, it's also very Islamic. Apparently the Prophet liked trees.


Edit: For the really bored, here is a compilation of stats on the Afghan agricultural sector. I'm going for a lie down now, as I can't take the excitement.
http://www.nationmaster.com/red/country/af-afghanistan/agr-agriculture&all=1
 
#17
As I recall we fought a war with the Chinese to open their population to the free market joys of opium. They weren't best pleased. Was rather more popular in Norfolk at the time. In the time of White SUVs things have changed, the markets are different.

I'm none too sure that interdicting skag production furthers our aims in the Stans.
 
#18
HectortheInspector said:
They know there's always a market for it.
:)

msr
 
#19
HectortheInspector said:
The problem here is the lack of other crops suitable for the area, that will pay the farmer a reasonable return.
Last year, the wheat crop prices went mad, so the farmers grew wheat instead of opium. This year, wheat is down a bit, so they grow opium. They know there's always a market for it.
There aren't many crops that like the rubbish soil of Afghanistan. There used to be a fairly wide range of stuff (nuts and fruit) grown, but the wars and illegal logging have cut down most of the timber. There isn't enough water to irrigate most grain crops, so you really want stuff that likes high altitude, thin soil, extreme temperature, little water, and so on. There's not a lot of candidate crops here. Opium poppy is a tough old weed, and isn't so fussy.

So, rather than subsidise farmers to plough a crop in, and penalising the seasonal labour, the Marines should be paying all that labour to work.

What is needed is to reforest huge areas of Afghanistan. The Chinese are currently doing this on a huge scale, not for the cropping, but simply for land restoration. Similar projects are going on in India and the Sahara.
It improves the soil, increases water retention, and so on. Restoring Afghanistan would be a multi generational programme, that could easily soak up every spare bit of labour in the country.
Incidentally, it's also very Islamic. Apparently the Prophet liked trees.


Edit: For the really bored, here is a compilation of stats on the Afghan agricultural sector. I'm going for a lie down now, as I can't take the excitement.
http://www.nationmaster.com/red/country/af-afghanistan/agr-agriculture&all=1
Have you been reading Herbert's 'Dune' again?
 
#20
Perhaps we should just leave them to their drugs?

Drugs-smuggling is usually the remit of SOCA. Counter Terrorism is handled by SIS and the Security Service. These organisations get a lot of money and employ a lot of bright sparks to fix those problems and justify their existence.

Neither the heroin trade nor the threat of terrorism seem to be best combated by upward of 50,000 troops motoring about in Afghanistan getting mortared, shot at, and blown up.
 

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