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Read this Sen. Lieberman: "Stop the Afghan Drug Trade, Stop Terrorism"
Rachel Ehrenfeld in this important Forbes.com commentary,” Stop the Afghan Drug Trade, Stop Terrorism” fills in the missing link in Sen. Lieberman’s ’surge’ strategy for Afghanistan that I criticized.See here. I noted that the Afghan drug trade fueled Taliban terrorism:
As Rachel Ehrenfeld author of the classic, Narco Terrorism, has written if you don’t control the heroin trade that funds the Taliban and Al Qaeda at an estimated $300 million + a year, you won’t get anywhere. Afghanistan is the heroin producer to the world.. That vast drug cash hoard is oxygen for the jihad. Look what it cost the U.S. (billions) in Colombia to finally rein in FARC, who controlled the Cocaine trade, and had support from Latin America, left extremist regimes in both Ecuador and Venezuela. Further, we achieved ‘victory’ against the Narco-terrorists in Colombia where the Uribe government was a staunch ally committed to defending his country against the drug lords, FARC and the threats of Marxist dictator, Hugo Chavez,
So, Senator Lieberman, we don’t have a quagmire in Afghanistan, as much as we do a sand trap controlled by Muslim extremist drug lords in the world heroin trade. Can we develop a winning strategy to take away that oxygen? That is the ultimate question.
Ehrenfeld in this important Forbes piece resonates our observations:
“The fight against drugs is actually the fight for Afghanistan,” said Afghan President Hamid Karzai when he took office in 2002. Judging by the current situation, Afghanistan is losing.
To win, the link between narcotics and terrorism must be severed. That is the necessary condition for a successful strategy to undermine the growing influence of al-Qaida, the Taliban and radical Muslim groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is all about money–more precisely, drug money. The huge revenues from the heroin trade fill the coffers of the terrorists and thwart any attempt to stabilize the region.
Though not traded on any stock exchange, heroin is one of the most valuable commodities in the world today. While a ton of crude oil costs less than $290, a ton of heroin costs $67 million in Europe and between $360 million and $900 million in New York, according to estimates based on recent Drug Enforcement Administration figures.
Since its liberation from Taliban rule, Afghanistan’s opium production has gone from 640 tons in 2001 to 8,200 tons in 2007. Afghanistan now supplies over 93% of the global opiate market.
“This is a source of income for the warlords and regional factions to pay their soldiers,” warned former Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalili in a May 2005 interview with Reuters. “The terrorists are funding their operations through illicit drug trade, so they are all interlinked.”
Ehrenfeld’s solution is to conduct bio-warfare on Afghan poppy production used to make the world’s heroin:
There is, however, a strategy that could reduce the cost of fighting terrorists and drug traffickers alike, while helping to establish a self-sustaining economy in Afghanistan and defusing the tensions in the region. It would also cut down on the social and economic cost of heroin use in the U.S.
The Obama Administration should implement an innovative and safe poppy eradication method that previous U.S. governments spent billions of dollars developing. Mycoherbicides are naturally occurring fungi that are used to control such illicit pest plants as the opium poppy and other noxious weeds. Unlike chemical controls now in use, mycoherbicides assail only the targeted plant, rendering its cultivation uneconomical. These fungi continue to live in the soil, preventing the future growth of the opium poppy plant, but are harmless to other crops, to humans and to the environment.
On Dec. 29, 2006, then-President George W. Bush signed Public Law 109/469, of which section 1111 requires the Department of State to fund a concluding study of the effectiveness of mycoherbicides on the opium poppy and the coca shrub. Yet the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy failed to conduct the one-year study, apparently because it prefers to use pesticides for eradication. Concluding these studies should become a priority for the Obama administration.
The use of mycoherbicides in Afghanistan, combined with adequate enforcement by the military, will mitigate the production of heroin and cut off the terrorists’ major money supply. This would free up the $150 to $200 billion now used to fight the drug trade and its byproducts–crime, addiction, diseases, accidents, etc.–in the U.S., and make these funds available to help fight terrorism directly.
Sen. Lieberman should take up hearings on Ehrenfeld’s smart strategy of poppy production eradication. It would be the moral equivalent of sending another 30,000 plus American servicemen and women into the sandtrap of Afghanistan and it would suck the oxygen from the lungs of Islamic extremists like the Taliban.