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2003-10-04 Afghanistan
Poppy Trade Blamed for Afghan Violence
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Posted by Steve White 2003-10-04 12:12:31 AM|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6489 views since 2007-05-07]  Top

#1 I saw the Rumsfeld interview on CSPAN. He explained that although the goal will be to shutdown production in Afgahnistan that will likely just shift production to another poor neighbor. He further explained that economically illicit drugs have to be dealt with on the demand side or the supply portion will just pop up somewhere else like a game of Whack-A-Mole (simile is my own of course.)
Posted by Superhose  2003-10-4 9:20:31 AM||   2003-10-4 9:20:31 AM|| Front Page Top

#2 As long as a farmer has the choice of: growing enough to eat if the weather and water hold out or, growing enough poppies each year with minimal weather and water to feed his family for 10 years, there won't be any progress. I'm a libertarian in the war on drugs - legalize, control and taxing it will put the black market out of business
Posted by Frank G  2003-10-4 10:13:36 AM||   2003-10-4 10:13:36 AM|| Front Page Top

#3 Frank for shame, rational thought about drugs is not permitted.

Posted by Anonymous 2003-10-4 10:35:41 AM||   2003-10-4 10:35:41 AM|| Front Page Top

#4 Frank G

I agree that shutting down
farms is not the solution: you merley succeed in
having the price raise and thus attracting other
producers. But my solution doesn't involve legalizing drugs it involves making the price
crumble through a massive decrease in the number
of consumers.
Posted by JFM  2003-10-4 11:13:35 AM||   2003-10-4 11:13:35 AM|| Front Page Top

#5 Frank G

I guess I don't care much for the guys selling people crack anymore than I care for the guys selling AK's to unstable governments. If somebody wants to ruin their own life, I just feel sad for them. That doesn't mean that I care much for the purveyors of poison.

By your rational, the British were in the right during the Opium Wars. The Chinese were hindering free trade by not allowing the British to forcefeed poison into their country.
Posted by Superhose  2003-10-4 11:24:57 AM||   2003-10-4 11:24:57 AM|| Front Page Top

#6 Someone disagrees with the legalization ;-)
All I'm saying is the other way hasn't worked. The demand will always be there. I'm not saying it should be encouraged either, but the alternatives have wasted a lot of money, and made the wrong people rich. Look at Soddy - the penalty's death, and still they smuggle it in...why? The demand's there.
Willing to listen to the arguments though, cuz I know there's issues with a perfect world...
Posted by Frank G  2003-10-4 11:35:01 AM||   2003-10-4 11:35:01 AM|| Front Page Top

#7 End narco-terrorism, re-legalize drugs. That'll do it.
Posted by Jabba the Nutt  2003-10-4 12:00:10 PM||   2003-10-4 12:00:10 PM|| Front Page Top

#8 Frank G

The demand will not be there if you desintoxicate or shoot the users of drugs. I have two daughters
and I am not keen on having some scumbag inciting
one of them to marijuana (I also remind you that what Afghanistan produces is opium => heroine, do you really want to legalize heroine?) or them
being overrun by a car driven by a drugged driver
(marijuana is still worse than alcohol for driving)

About Saudi Arabia: pleaaase don't give Saudi
Arabia as an example: first AFAIK they kill the
smugglers not the users and this doesn't drive down the demand, second the only ones who get shot are the Pakistanese not the Saudis, third: a lot of drugs are imported in the private jets of the princes (who are not inspected). Besides Saudi Police is far too busy looking for smuggled
bibles to care for drugs.


I care about those who want to destroy their life
in a way who makes other pay millions in health
costs. I care about those who want to destroy
their life in a way who makes them a danger for
other people: drug who makes them bad drivers or agressive and violent. I also care about use of drugs for rapes (cf Roman Polanski)
Posted by JFM  2003-10-4 12:05:35 PM||   2003-10-4 12:05:35 PM|| Front Page Top

#9 Another way to put a stop to it is it make it too dangerous to produce. Run a flight of C-130s through the valleys: two Spectres, two dropping napalm, two spraying a strong herbicide. About the third or fourth time a crop gets wiped out, the people will understand we won't tolerate it. It's harder to do in Burma (lack of government approval is only PART of the problem), but it can be done. One of the biggest problems with the "war on drugs" is its "humanity". We play nice, the other side doesn't: we lose. If we are mean and nasty enough, drug cultivation will cease. Either the people will decide it isn't profitable enough to risk their life for, or there won't be any cultivators left.
Posted by Old Patriot  2003-10-4 12:38:29 PM|| []  2003-10-4 12:38:29 PM|| Front Page Top

#10 The obvious point is some people will try anything regardless of rules, laws, or common sense. Is it better to have a world where everything is illegal with the attendent problems or to have one where much less money is spent and there is no reason for the crime caused by scarcity and high prices? Treat the poor bastards, they are carrying the short straw already.

It is already proven that chemically derived drugs can and are being made so what is the point of fire bombing other countries. Someone will invent a new one tomorrow which can be made in your kitchen.

Posted by Anonymous 2003-10-4 1:53:12 PM||   2003-10-4 1:53:12 PM|| Front Page Top

#11 By your rational, the British were in the right during the Opium Wars. The Chinese were hindering free trade by not allowing the British to forcefeed poison into their country.

I understand the analogy, but the historical comparison is wrong. Opium was legal throughout most of the world during the period of the Anglo-Chinese Wars (what the Chinese call the Opium Wars), including the US.* The Chinese objected to opium only after superior foreign opium began replacing the domestic variety at opium parlors throughout China. Despite the so-called ban, domestic opium continued to be sold throughout China. Just decades after the Anglo-Chinese Wars, the ingenuity of native opium growers brought the opium import trade to a halt - domestically-produced opium had evolved, and was both better and cheaper than the foreign variety.

* Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, along with other literati, was a well-known connoisseur of this product. The actual effects of smoking opium are extremely mild - people in opium dens used to have to spend the whole day smoking to get a high. Compare that to just one toke of high-grade marijuana, which appears to be incredibly potent, at least in the movies.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2003-10-4 2:03:18 PM||   2003-10-4 2:03:18 PM|| Front Page Top

#12 Continued commentary on lies, damned lies and Chinese history:

Excerpted from a website: The earliest opium production can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty in the provinces of Yunnan, Szechwan and Kansu.

Chinese historical accounts routinely lie by omission. In claiming that the Anglo-Chinese Wars were about Britain's attempt to forcefeed opium to China, they omit the fact that the foreign imports merely replaced domestically-grown opium. The Chinese government's objection was related to China's deteriorating trade balance, which had previously been wholly in China's favor through its exports of tea and silk.

Widespread Chinese consumption of opium preceded the Anglo-Chinese Wars and continued long after the specter of British gunboats was gone, right until the so-called Communist liberation, when opium cultivation in Yunnan (on the Burmese border) was finally suppressed. This sudden zest for the suppression of the ancient narcotic was in no small measure related to the fact that Long Yun, the warlord from the Yi tribe in Yunnan, derived all his revenue from it, and could have used these revenues to mount a separatist rebellion. The suppression of opium production helped to keep the Yunnan autonomous region* in the fold and the Chinese empire intact.

* So-named because it is simultaneously China's fourth largest province and almost evenly divided population-wise between indigenous tribes and Chinese settlers.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2003-10-4 2:36:02 PM||   2003-10-4 2:36:02 PM|| Front Page Top

#13 Zhang Fei

In high school I read a letter to Her Majesty, from a Chinese official that was in charge of the area where Europeans had their inport centers. He asked the British monarch to restpect his countries right to prevent an illegal substance from being imported forceably into his jurisdiction. He also pointed out that at the time opium was illegal to import into England.

Currently, Mexico is exporting labor to the US in violation of our national soveriegnity. I think the US has every right to say no and close the border.

With respect to drugs, I am for treatment of drug users. I consider them victims of the drug trafficers. I am not ready to firebomb Columbian peasants. I consider drug trafficers, pimps, pornographers and in some lawyers who specialize in class action suits to be subhuman leeches that should be expelled from civilization along with pedaphiles.

I would like to see the US unilaterally get rid of farm subsides especially for corn, sugar and cotton to help out poor countries. I doubt that there are enough policians with cajones to make this happen.
Posted by Super Hose  2003-10-4 3:13:51 PM||   2003-10-4 3:13:51 PM|| Front Page Top

#14 He also pointed out that at the time opium was illegal to import into England.

This is wrong - in Britain, opium was declared illegal without prescription in 1920. But then again, many of the Chinese emperor's claims were wrong, including one that claimed the British empire as China's vassal state.

I don't have a problem with any of your other positions - merely with Chinese propaganda posing as history. Opium (and other narcotics) remained legal in Britain (and the rest of the West) until the beginning of the 20th century, long after opium exports to China had ceased.

Opium's negative effects were real, but limited to the same addictive personalities that take to alcohol and other drugs. And the limited extent of the damage is a crucial point - the ready availability of opium in Britain's colonies (and the colonies of the other imperial powers) did not prevent their steady development. Elsewhere, neither Canada nor the US seem to have suffered any ill-effects in their march to global prominence in spite of the ready availability of opiates - until early 20th century, cocaine was an ingredient in Coca Cola.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2003-10-4 3:49:45 PM||   2003-10-4 3:49:45 PM|| Front Page Top

#15 Here are some excerpts on opium use in Britain:

Although opium has been imported to Britain for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes it was not until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that its use as a pharmaceutical panacea and exotic recreational drug became epidemic within all strata of British society. Prior to the 1868 Pharmacy Act which restricted the sale of opium to professional pharmacists, anyone could legally trade in opium products: by the middle of the nineteenth century hundreds of opium based potions, pill, and patent medicines were available to the general public. Among the most famous preparations were Dover’s Powders, initially marketed as a cure for gout; Godfey’s Cordial which was sold as a “soother” for crying babies; and laudanum, a tincture of opium in alcohol, which was both easily made and readily available.

The wonder-drug of the early nineteenth century was finally being recognised as a dangerously addictive substance, although the interests of imperial traders kept it legal for another five decades, until the Dangerous Drugs Act was passed in 1920. This Act made it illegal to possess opiates without a doctor’s prescription.

The above is why British novels of the period are replete with references to the surreptitious consumption of cough syrup - at the time, they combined alcohol with the punch of tincture of opium - in fact, opium was the active ingredient. Note also the gratuitous mention of the term imperial traders. Meanwhile, the Chinese had been using opium without guilt for over a thousand years, since the time of the Tang dynasty, when opium was first grown in Yunnan, Gansu and Sichuan.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2003-10-4 4:00:13 PM||   2003-10-4 4:00:13 PM|| Front Page Top

#16 Here is an excerpt of the letter from Lin Tse-Hsu, official in charge of Chinese Customs to Queen Victoria :

We find your country is sixty or seventy thousand li [three li make one mile, ordinarily] from China Yet there are barbanan ships that strive to come here for trade for the purpose of making a great profit The wealth of China is used to profit the barbarians. That is to say, the great profit made by barbarians is all taken from the rightful share of China. By what right do they then in return use the poisonous drug to injure the Chinese people? Even though the barbarians may not necessarily intend to do us harm, yet in coveting profit to an extreme, they have no regard for injuring others. Let us ask, where is your conscience? I have heard that the smoking of opium is very strictly forbidden by your country; that is because the harm caused by opium is clearly understood. Since it is not permitted to do harm to your own country, then even less should you let it be passed on to the harm of other countries -- how much less to China! Of all that China exports to foreign countries, there is not a single thing which is not beneficial to peo ple: they are of benefit when eaten, or of benefit when used, or of benefit when resold: all are beneficial. Is there a single article from China which has done any harm to foreign countries? Take tea and rhubarb, for example; the foreign countries cannot get along for a single day without them. If China cuts off these benefits with no sympathy for those who are to suffer, then what can the barbarians rely upon to keep themselves alive? Moreover the woolens, camlets, and longells [i.e., textiles] of foreign countries cannot be woven unless they obtain Chinese silk. If China, again, cuts off this beneficial export, what profit can the barbarians expect to make? As for other foodstuffs, beginning with candy, ginger, cinnamon, and so forth, and articles for use, beginning with silk, satin, chinaware, and so on, all the things that must be had by foreign countries are innumerable. On the other hand, articles coming from the outside to China can only be used as toys. We can take them or get along without them. Since they are not needed by China, what difficulty would there be if we closed our the frontier and stopped the trade? Nevertheless, our Celestial Court lets tea, silk, and other goods be shipped without limit and circulated everywhere without begrudging it in the slightest. This is for no other reason but to share the benefit with the people of the whole world. The goods from China carried away by your country not only supply your own consumption and use, but also can be divided up and sold to other countries, producing a triple profit. Even if you do not sell opium, you still have this threefold profit. How can you bear to go further, selling products injurious to others in order to fulfill your insatiable desire?

Suppose there were people from another country who carried opium for sale to England

and seduced your people into buying and smoking it; certainly your honorable ruler would deeply hate it and be bitterly aroused. We have heard heretofore that your honorable ruler is kind and benevolent. Naturally you would not wish to give unto others what you yourself do not want. We have also heard that the ships coming to Canton have all had regulations promulgated and given to them in which it is stated that it is not permitted to carry contraband goods. This indicates that the administrative orders of your

honorable rule have been originally strict and clear. Only because the trading ships are numerous, heretofore perhaps they have not been examined with care. Now after this communication has been dispatched and you have clearly understood the strictness of the prohibitory laws of the Celestial Gourt, certainly you will not let your subjects dare again to violate the law.

Looks to me like he is asking Britain to respect the trade restriction policy of China a soverign nation.

The whole letter can be read at this link.
Posted by Super Hose  2003-10-4 5:17:17 PM||   2003-10-4 5:17:17 PM|| Front Page Top

#17 Lin Zexu writes: I have heard that the smoking of opium is very strictly forbidden by your country; that is because the harm caused by opium is clearly understood.

This is flat-out wrong. But more to the point, whatever Lin's evasions, high-quality British opium would have been replaced by low-quality Chinese opium, which remained readily available (and had been, for over 1000 years), despite Chinese protestations of piety. And as I mentioned earlier, superior and cheaper Chinese opium completely replaced the imported variety within decades, thus obviating this issue.

If the question is whether the British empire had the right to impose its will on the Chinese empire, the Chinese had just 50 years ago imposed their will on East Turkistan and Tibet, fully 40% of Chinese empire at the time. To be quite brutal about it, this was the imperial era - and the Chinese had been imperialists for thousands of years, gradually pushing the Tibetans and the Turks west, the Vietnamese (and other assorted ethnic groups) south, the Mongols, Koreans and Manchurians north. When the Chinese pushed the Huns west, they wreaked havoc on the Western Roman Empire. The core Chinese state thousands of years ago rested upon perhaps 5% of the land it occupied at the time of Qing empire.

A Chinese person calling someone else an imperialist is really paying him a compliment, for the Chinese have built the longest lasting empire of all time. In contrast, the Western powers were just making up for lost time - the British never got round to asking for much more than Hong Kong and Shanghai - if the power equation was reversed, China would have conquered Britain, flooded it with Chinese settlers and massacred all who objected, just as it did in East Turkistan and Tibet. And this is why I have no sympathy for Chinese bleating about the Anglo-Chinese Wars.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2003-10-4 5:55:54 PM||   2003-10-4 5:55:54 PM|| Front Page Top

#18 I'm sure British opium was the highest quality, but that's not the point. Any soveriegn nation should be able to tell you to take your high quality merchandice and sell it to Sherlock Holmes in a suppository form.
Posted by Super Hose  2003-10-4 9:29:56 PM||   2003-10-4 9:29:56 PM|| Front Page Top

#19 LOL SH - glad for the discussion and that I don't have to make the decisions/bear the repercussions - still, I don't see the current war winning, and if I want to smoke a joint at home without driving - where's the harm - as opposed to alcohol at home etc....
Posted by Frank G  2003-10-4 10:19:51 PM||   2003-10-4 10:19:51 PM|| Front Page Top

#20 Any soveriegn nation should be able to tell you to take your high quality merchandice and sell it to Sherlock Holmes in a suppository form.

Today, I would say you're right. The basic problem with your argument is that 150 years ago, the rules of the road were completely different.

During that period in history, when sovereign empires were still pushing up against each other, the British felt justified in defending their commercial interests, which they did, in the form of the Anglo-Chinese Wars. Chinese protectionism disguised as anti-drug fervor did not dissuade them from pursuing their legitimate interests. After all, around the same time, American empire brushed up against Mexican empire and the result was the net gain of much of the American Southwest for the US of A. Note also that this was around the time that Commodore Perry's black ships forcibly opened up Japan's trade. And throughout this period, the West was being won, at the expense of the Indian tribes who had lived there for perhaps thousands of years. But all of these American actions were justified - the sad truth is that power vacuums are inevitably filled, typically by your adversaries. Thanks to the visionaries of over a century and a half ago, we now have the luxury of sitting back and criticizing their imperial ambitions, safe in the knowledge that (1) both our coasts are safe from foreign invasion, and (2) one of our foreign neighbors is friendly and the other is too weak to pose a major threat to our security.

Bottom line - Western imperialism was nothing compared to what Oriental potentates have been inflicting on their neighbors for millennia. Take it from me - we'll have plenty of opportunity to discover what they're really capable of, if we ever fall behind economically and militarily.
Posted by Zhang Fei  2003-10-5 7:20:19 AM||   2003-10-5 7:20:19 AM|| Front Page Top

10:08 Ernest Brown
07:20 Zhang Fei
04:54 JFM
03:24 Jeff
01:52 typical lefty
00:51 True German Ally
00:30 True German Ally
00:03 Steve White
23:59 Steve White
23:21 Bomb-a-rama
23:15 Sorge
23:08 Bomb-a-rama
23:06 Bomb-a-rama
23:01 True German Ally
22:57 Bomb-a-rama
22:56 True German Ally
22:49 Bomb-a-rama
22:46 Bomb-a-rama
22:23 Frank G
22:21 Frank G
22:19 Frank G
22:18 True German Ally
22:15 GregJ
21:59 g wiz

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