We have previously discussed how domestic programs are being cut while the government pours billions into Iraq and Afghanistan. I have previously written about the waste of billions of dollars by the government without any significant discipline for government officials. We have become accustomed to reports of unimaginable corruption and waste in Afghanistan from bags of money delivered to officials to constructing huge buildings to be immediately torn down to buying aircraft that cannot be used. The common element to the stories is the absence of any reported prosecution or even discipline for those responsible. We now have yet another example of spending huge amounts of money on failed programs because no one has the guts to cut off the money. The latest example is our $7.6 billion eradication campaign for poppy fields which has proven an utter failure. Yet, no one wants to be accused of being soft on drugs — so officials sending kept spending as we cut educational, scientific, environmental, and infrastructure programs at home. It is better to waste billions than make a tough decision in government.
An oversight investigation has found that poppy plant production in Afghanistan is now at an “all time high” after our $7.6 billion counternarcotics campaign. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), places previously declared “poppy free” now have robust poppy production. Ten years and roughly 8 billion dollars and we not only did not eradicate poppies, we have a record production. Imagine what that money could have done in the United States. My kids have almost 40 students in their public school class in Fairfax County because there is no money to hire teachers. That apparently is not a problem but cutting off billions for a failed eradication campaign is unthinkable for government officials. After all, a few less educated kids are not alarming but a few politicians faced with tough decisions would be horrific.
Afghanistan has experienced a 50 percent increase in poppy-related proceeds from 2012 to 2013. Some of our closest allies have been accepting money from the United States while profiteering on poppy production for opium and heroin. The irony is that the CIA clearly knows this. So one branch is trying to eradicate poppies while another branch is actively helping those growing poppies. We apparently have a plan . . . its just a plan that no one can possibly understand.
The eradication campaigns have always had a dubious premise because they are fighting market forces. The annual profits from opium and other poppy-derived drugs is now $3 billion annually. There is demand and there will be supply to meet that demand. The $7.6 billion spent over ten years is just three worth of profits and this money is not all going to farmers. The result is obvious. It is not a problem traced to the views of Bin Laden. It is a problem traced to the views of Adam Smith.
Source: Global Post