U.S. bombs sow a new crop: Afghan heroin floods market
By Leslie Feinberg
April 11, 2002--Get ready for a bumper crop of poppies in
Afghanistan. Once processed, it will flood the streets of this country with
tons of low-priced heroin.
On March 31, 7.5 tons of unrefined morphine were seized
by police in Turkey, a NATO power that is playing a big role in Bush's war
in Afghanistan. This biggest drug haul ever in Turkey is believed by the
authorities there to have come from Afghanistan.
On April 1, a front-page New York Times article reported
that U.S. and British officials admit Afghanistan will produce enough opium
this year to regain hegemony of the world supply. And the story was no April
Fool's Day prank.
But wait a minute. Isn't the Bush administration spending
billions of dollars "securing" Afghanistan against those it calls the "bad
guys"? And isn't the Bush administration also carrying out a "war on drugs"
The surge in morphine and heroin from U.S.-occupied Afghanistan
shows that U.S. military intervention has nothing to do with stopping drugs.
On the contrary, U.S. wars since Vietnam have paralleled big increases in
narcotics reaching this country.
So why is Washington intervening in Colombia with military
advisers and billions of dollars?
A popular revolutionary army has been fighting the Colombian
wealthy class for the last three decades. Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, when
he was commander of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, invented
the term "narco-terrorists" to slander these revolutionaries. Those who
are trying to change Colombian society and who risk everything fighting
for the workers and peasants are branded drug lords in films and television
dramas here. In fact, the U.S. is giving military and econo mic aid to the
same corrupt and brutal ruling elite in Colombia who owe much of their affluence
to cocaine commerce.
Back in Afghanistan, it's an open secret that many of the
CIA-backed mercenaries who fought from 1979 until a decade ago to defeat
a secular and progressive government were allowed to earn extra cash by
growing and selling opium. In imperialist double-speak, these drug lords
were dubbed "freedom fighters."
Now they're back in business. Big time.
In the mid-1990s the Taliban, proponents of a severe Muslim
fundamentalist ideology, took over in Afghanistan. The CIA's own reports
reveal that under the Taliban, opium output plunged from an estimated 4,042
tons in 2000--some 71 percent of the world's inventory--to just 80 tons
The Times article notes, "What little opium Afghanistan
produced in 2001 came almost entirely from the 10 percent of its territory
then controlled by the Northern Alliance, the backbone of the new government."
In other words, from the faction of gangsters the U.S. was grooming to install
as the regime after the Pentagon toppled the Taliban.
Now, U.S. officials "have quietly abandoned their hopes
to reduce Afghanistan's opium production substantially this year and are
now bracing for a harvest large enough to inundate the world's heroin and
opium markets with cheap drugs."
Once the U.S. installed Hamid Karzai as the titular head
of state of Afghanistan, he publicly proclaimed a ban on opium cultivation.
But, the Times adds, "While foreign officials have applauded Mr. Karzai's
ban, it was issued only after the poppies had been planted and without any
viable means of implementation."
Don't expect the "war on drugs" to aim its massive weapons
at the new Afghan administration as long as it supports U.S. economic and
geopolitical dominion in the region.
But from a public relations position, what is the imperial
solution when one excuse for war blocks the path of another? Rank them to
get military traffic flowing again. "The fight against terrorism takes priority,"
the Times quotes a British law enforcement official. "The fight against
narcotics comes in second." Virtually all the heroin hawked on the streets
of the English isle comes from Afghanistan.
In fact, as with the "war against terrorism," Wall Street
and its White House will formulate any pretense to power the military juggernaut.
And if the truth gets in the way of their crusade to command the world's
capitalist markets and the profits that flow from them, then crush it under
the treads of a military tank.
So when the heroin deluge pours into the U.S. and England,
perhaps its domestic casualties should be listed as victims of "friendly