THE DRUG FRONT |
February 27, 2007
THE DRUG FRONT
Name: SGT Brandon White
Posting date: 2/27/07
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Diamond, OH
Milblog url: http://www.gwot.us
Just got back from a three-day mission down south. While I can’t go into operational specifics I will list the keywords: Taliban, weapons, poppy.
This photo shows someone’s little “backyard garden” of papaver somniferum, aka Opium Poppy. These guys look to be no more than a few weeks old, but would have grown to produce thousands of dollars for the key players of the opium trade. Sadly, the cultivators who are trying to put food on the table would get hardly enough to do just that. Why is that sad, you ask? Well, come on over here and see how they’re livin’ and you’ll get the gist.
The growers aren’t the bad guys. It's the local Taliban “underlords” who are exploiting them, selling the stuff for a premium and pocketing the money, who are the bad guys. Sure, it would be great to end the whole dern drug cycle here, but what do we replace that poppy with for the farmers? What could be exported in mass quantities that can grow easily in these arid lands? Those are questions that I sincerely hope someone, somewhere (besides myself) is thinking about. Otherwise, we are doing nothing but breeding more terrorists by eliminating this crop. Mark my words on that one.
Here is a zoomed-out view of the same backyard garden. This little plot is pretty small in comparison to the gi-normous fields which surround this village.