Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Paradise for Opium

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times had a good piece on the return of Afghanistan to its globally dominant position in opium production. The article is about the somewhat pathetic attempt on the part of the US to train local counternarcotic police - pathetic because opium production stems from the economic and political structure of the post-Taliban state of the country and not from the absence of an Afghani DEA. "Structure" is a euphemism for "chaos," a gangland warlord country created by the U.S. invasion and not fixed by it. Under the Taliban, Afghanistan's poppy cultivation was about 20% of the world total. Last year, the country's share was 92%.

It's more and redundant evidence of the pointlessness of replacing law enforcement with military invasion. Law only works with a strong civil society and governing structure, plus the full and even enthusiastic cooperation of the population on the ground. War destroys all this. You don't get to law through war.