Sunday, November 9, 2008

Good Poppy, Bad Poppy

November 11, 2008

“John McCrae was deeply affected by the fighting and losses in France. He became bitter and disillusioned.” Veterans Affairs Canada site. The Flanders poppy has become the symbol for Canada's debt to soldiers who fought, were wounded, or killed. That's the "Good Poppy".

Meanwhile back in Afghanistan, we have the "Bad Poppy", the source of much of the world's illicit opium.

ca. 1980-2001, Helmand Province, Afghanistan --- Opium Poppy Field --- Image by © Jeffrey L. Rotman/CORBIS

The ironies are very difficult for me to keep straight, so I'll list them.

1. NATO is spending a huge amount of money on Afghanistan, and very little of the money gets to the Afghan people who need it.

2. One of Afghan's few profitable exports is opium, which is turned into heroin.

3. NATO citizens buy most of the heroin produced by Afghanistan's citizens.

4. NATO is trying to stop Afghan citizens from making opium to sell to NATO's citizens.

5. Canadian soldiers have fought, been wounded, and killed in this NATO operation, so we're trading Bad Poppies for Good Poppies?

6. Heroin is a perfectly good drug. It stops pain.


The nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are with one hand giving huge amounts of money to stop opium production in Afghanistan, while at the same time buying Afghanistan's opium crop with the other hand.

This is such an obviously stupid operation, that the only reason to continue it would be that somebody's making a lot of money. The question is....who?

Other miscellaneous spurious arguments for the Afghan adventure:

NATO's self-defence: Afghanistan isn't a military threat to any NATO state

anti-terrorism: NATO would also have to invade Pakistan

defeat the Taliban: NATO would have to invade Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

women's welfare: NATO would have to invade most of the Middle East and Africa

poverty: .............and Louisiana