The face of war has changed though. We no longer are at war with other industrialized countries. We have to fight regimes that exist more as an idea with bullets rather than a government. They need only to buy their weapons and materials, and they need very little to create havoc. They are spread apart and work in small numbers that are hard to detect. Honestly, it is pretty brilliant, they use the same ideas that we used during the Cold War to spy on the USSR. Send in a single plane that blended in and keep it far enough out of range and keep it moving and quiet.
Well, it is really hard to attack an idea. So you must resort to attacking those things that support the idea. The militia is hard to target because of how they operate and they are the ones that support the idea. So, you must then attack what supports the militia, money, but you can't run around shooting bills. So, you have to attack the goods that generate money. In this case, drugs.
Opium and heroin are the drugs of choice in Afghanistan, so we blew the shit out of some poppy seeds.
We have declared a war on drugs there (shifting focus away from what really matters) and are now spending munitions on killing plants. I keep having the scene from Predator where Jesse Ventura mows down the jungle with the Minigun go through my head.
I understand the need to destroy the product, but we are going a little over the top with it. From a CNN article on recent bombings:
The military dropped a series of 1,000-pound bombs from planes on the mounds of poppy seeds and then followed with strikes from helicopters.
The people running the farms are just those trying to make a living and selling poppy makes a decent amount of money and there is a constant demand. It is a smart business move. Then we asked farmers to grow wheat and offered help to farmers by supplying them and giving quick lessons. Well, if I was a farmer and had been growing poppy for years, I really wouldn't be too keen on changing my specialty. You need to find new buyers, new fertilizer, new harvest times and risk pissing off some crazy guys with guns, and who knows what else. I should really go ask a poppy farmer, assuming any are left alive.
But we are at war with drugs to help the war on terror! Damn the farmers! Also, only about 50 percent of the money generated from opium and heroin sales make it back to the Taliban. Somewhere out there is a group, or groups, with the same size and need for these drugs that we are pissing off just as much.
The leader of this fiasco has also given the OK to kill drug dealers and anyone to have any part in the opium business. Damn the farmers! Beyond that though, I have been in the company of drug deals and dealers before (as has anyone who spent much time in Chicago bars) and they keep themselves hidden really well. If they didn't there would be no need for this war to help a war, war — I think I said that right. So, just go out and find drug dealers, dressed in full military garb with a helmet and big guns and fancy cars, right? The military probably has some super-secret drug-ray seeing goggles.
Oh, by the way, Afghanistan produces over 90 percent of the world's opium and heroin. I have a bad feeling we are going to open up a whole new case of animosity with these actions. And despite what we would all like to believe, we are in no position to go picking more fights.
I don't think we should not be at war — we should have just stayed there and could be done with it by now, but we gave them a nice intermission while we wandered around Iraq. What we are doing is not the way to fight this war, we are getting too far away from the real source of the problem. If the Taliban needs money, they will get it, with or without opium.
Please, just think of the farmers.