Sunday, June 29, 2008

Making the world safer for ... heroin? - UPDATED

Pentagon Report Anticipates Rising Violence in Afghanistan
Washington Post - 23 hours ago
By Josh White Violence in Afghanistan will continue to rise this year, as Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters have proved resilient and aggressive foes against coalition forces, according to a new Pentagon report issued to Congress yesterday.
Attacks in Afghanistan grow in number, complexity, report says Baltimore Sun
US says Taliban attacks may rise this year Reuters

Experts warn that Afghan heroin may flood Southeast Asia
New Straits Times - 2 hours ago
Top Indian and Pakistani narcotic officials today warned Southeast Asian governments of increasing African drug dealers exploiting Asian women to smuggle heroin and that the trend would worsen as Afghanistan is enjoying a bumper harvest of opium.
UN: Opium Trade Soars in Afghanistan Washington Post
UN warns of rebel-held drug surge BBC News

Imagine where things might now stand in Afghanistan if most of the US energy and attention had not been diverted into Iraq. Not that we could successfully occupy Afghanistan. No foreign power has done that throughout history, nor should we even consider that as a goal. But we might have done some longer-term damage to the Taliban. We might have captured bin Laden. We might have done some social rebuilding there that would allow the people to make a decent living doing something other than the easy and highly lucrative cultivation of opium poppies. We might have even learned to use diplomacy to work with the sundry warlords who still rule most of the country.

Might have. Two very sad words.


Smintheus discusses the Congressionally-required Pentagon reports at Daily Kos:
The security report indicates that the situation is deteriorating so badly that the Pentagon expects the Taliban to continue to grow in strength (it has "coalesced into a resilient insurgency"); expand its strongholds in the south and east while moving into the north and west; and "maintain or even increase the scope and pace of its terrorist attacks and bombings in 2008" (IED attacks were up 35% in 2007). June has seen 40 coalition soldiers killed in Afghanistan, a new high since the invasion. Even though we have only 32,000 troops deployed there, US deaths in Afghanistan in May outnumbered those in Iraq. It's fair to say that things are falling apart.
I highly recommend clicking the link and reading the summary. Disheartening, of course, but we need to know these things.

--the BB


Grandmère Mimi said...

but we need to know these things.

Must I really? Isn't ignorance bliss?

Paul said...

Alas, Mimi, ignorance gets dumb shits like Dubya elected. We must do better if we want our democracy to survive.

Of course, I know you use irony.

Grandmère Mimi said...

There are more of them than us, Paul. Honestly, sometimes I wish I didn't know so fucking much.

Paul said...

I know. Sitting with the pain is not easy and I have tended to run from it all my life.