Illegal Poppy Production in Afghanistan Reaches “All Time High” After U.S. Spends $7.6 Billion On Eradication

1024px-Afghan_poppiesWe 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.

Mohn_z06The 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

59 thoughts on “Illegal Poppy Production in Afghanistan Reaches “All Time High” After U.S. Spends $7.6 Billion On Eradication”

  1. Only a fool thinks there’s no plan . of course there is a plan , it’s to allow the production of poppy while pretending there’s counter – narcotics plan . Too many people are profiting from grower , War lords , Gov officials , Mafia , Intelligence services to Global Banks . The plan is PROFIT !

  2. Yep, this crop is on Obama. I seldom agree with you, but you got that one right, Paul!

  3. Linda L, I was the guest of the then governor of Ghazni Province and at one point had lunch with him, his friends, including an American commander stationed there. The commander was incredibly angry and frustrated that his eradication team was told to destroy fields of poppies indicated on a map but not those NOT indicated for of course those were the Afghan governor’s lucrative fields of poppies.
    It is disgusting how much money was wasted there. I spent a year there and came home the last time vowing I’d never spend another dime there. Well, Pres. Obama has seen fit to continue spending money, mine and yours, there, so there goes…

  4. “maxcat06
    As of today, I am removing myself from Professor Turley’s blog. I used to think that it was a site for smart discussion, but I have come to realize that it is just the same partisan rancor with a great dose of xenophobia thrown in.”
    Easy to know when that happened, & it was a Deliberate Choice on Prof. Turley’s part, Sad but True. It used to be a comment section worth reading, it has bottomed since, b

    1. brucepoint – I do not remember you commenting so you must be a looky loo.

  5. Let’s not forget that over there opium is basically a currency. It’s easy to hide, it doesn’t readily spoil, it’s a proven store of value. And it is difficult for politicians to degrade its value. Afghans have every reason to distrust their governmnent, it’s about as corrupt as ours.

  6. Why don’t you guys just rename our President: “Poppy Obama” and get over all the other nitpicking. We can call his predecessor: Pot Bush. And G.W. can be called Pappa Pot Bush.

  7. I read an article after the military destroyed one poppy field that the soldiers were targets of everyone. I think Dick Cheney made a deal with the poppy farmers that they would be left alone and they were compensated for the fields that were destroyed.

  8. Sandi – if we legalize it, they will just become legal suppliers. Like CO, the black market price for marijuana is lower than the medical price. Still a market economy. The demand does not go away by legalizing it.

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