Murphy\’s Bye-Laws

Law #4: Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. –H.D. Thoreau

Wars at War

Posted by PintofStout on June 6, 2008

A while ago, RecessiveGenes wrote about Unintended Consequences, where he provided a good definition and a few examples. Another example in the news several weeks ago (I’m waaay behind) – actually this news item pops up pretty regularly since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan – is the conflict arising between the War on Drugs (WoD) and the War on Terror (WoT). The Taliban, who was ousted from power a few months after giving shelter and support to the group who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001, and likely al-Qaida have been funding their Jihad and insurgent efforts with money made from the drug trade, specifically Afghan-grown and produced opium. James Emory, in an April 2008 Middle East Times article, has this to say:

…The Taliban made deals to allow opium cultivation and processing in return for political support and a cut of the profits.

A number of sources have linked Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida directly with the drug trade. One report states that prior to the defeat of the Taliban, bin Laden served as a middleman for Afghan opium traders, using his commissions to buy weapons and provide funding for his training camps.

“Al-Qaida and the Taliban are terrorists,” said Ashraf Haidari, political counselor at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. “They work hand-in-hand so we really don’t differentiate between them. Narcotics are one source of funding for al-Qaida.” The Taliban Opium Connection

One might assume that the two “wars” are fighting in the same direction here, until it is realized that the WoD has dramatically raised the price of the product making it a viable source of funding for paramilitary activities. We don’t find terrorist organizations funding themselves by selling corn (though, with the ethanol subsidies, I wouldn’t be surprised) or tobacco because they are legally sanctioned and the price is low because of it. So the WoD created a market that contradicts the goals of the WoT.

The contradiction isn’t simply economic, either. The WoD drives the farmers and producers of opium underground and into the protection of the Taliban and al-Qaida, placing them on the opposite side of the battle line. Jorrit Kamminga, Director of Policy Research at The Senlis Council in Paris, an international policy think tank, concurs in an opinion letter to the Independent paper in London on May 1, 2008. “However, the current strategy used to combat escalating opium production levels – forced poppy crop eradication – has destroyed the livelihoods of entire farming communities, driving them into the hands of the Taliban and putting UK troops at further risk,” Jorrit writes (Letter, Original Article). Scorched Earth policies have never won hearts and minds.

Besides sharing the hyperbolic name “war,” and despite their seeming contradictory tactics, the WoD and the WoT are in fact two different fronts in the same war. This war is a fight for control, a fight against personal freedom and personal morality. The governments of the U.S. and their allies try to police what one puts into one’s own body (and sometimes one’s mind) under the auspices of imposing some contrived public morality with their WoD, yet they condemn the Taliban for imposing their own (extreme Islamic) morality. I guess they just don’t like competition! Where the WoD is an open and violent front in this war for control, the WoT is mainly a propaganda front – a very active and violent propaganda. The message isn’t meant for those being bombed, though, it is meant for those most affected by it; the citizens of the United States. The propaganda is a kind of opiate to cow us by fear and distract us from a serious fleecing of our rights and dignity as sovereign beings. They could just give us the Afghan heroine, but that would be contradictory to the WoD and interfere with the sale of the sanctioned drugs of the pharmaceutical industry currently tasked with sedation.

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8 Responses to “Wars at War”

  1. thesofine said

    Dude. Have you seen that movie Brazil from the 80s?

  2. thesofine said

    Equally tangential . . . While scorched earth has never gained the hearts and minds, it has won many wars (with prolonged occupations). The one that always comes to mind is the civil war with a prolonged occupation of the South by the North for many decades. Slowly the south joined the political party that they once hated (the Republicans).

    I guess another example would be Sadam’s reign over Iraq. But Iraq has been in some sort of occupational status since the Europeans created the artifical political boundaries.

    I need another beer.

  3. I have seen Brazil, a Terry Gilliam flick, perhaps that was warm-up for 12 Monkeys.

    I don’t know that I’d call Reconstruction scorched earth. Sherman’s march definitely was, but that wasn’t really part of the “occupation” of the South, was it?

    I also don’t know that siting the tactics of a brutal dictatorial regime to cull the controlled is the best argument for a government occupying the supposed moral high ground. Of course, I personally see no difference between the two in theory; their differences only being in domestic method (changing of late) and degree.

    Anyway, I could see how scorched earth is a viable tactic for combat equivalent to a widespread modern day siege which can go either way, affecting the attacker or the defender.

  4. thesofine said

    Well, my previous thoughts were probably complete nonsequitors (I love lamp), sorry about that. But isn’t the movie Brazil pretty good?

    How was this past weekend with Orson? Did you guys hang out and stuff?

    I was chillin with Jim and Krsiten on Tues and Fri.

    About the scorched-earth thing . . . With very few exceptions, liberation wars are a complete farce. (WW2 France is an exception that comes to mind) I think what I was trying to argue about Sadam is that his rule was an occupation of sorts that required scorched-earth tactics on “his own” people.

    The Reconstruction was the (century) long occupation following scorched-earth tactics. As a person who was raised in the South and after meeting many southern folks in the Army/Navy, I have met many southern people who still hold a grudge about the civil war. I have heard many of these folks say that maybe it would have been better if our great tyrant Lincoln would have allowed the South to secede.

    Anyways, what I have been learned through readings is that the whole reason modern armies still have large amounts of infantry troops – their biggest purpose in this day and age is occupation. You cannot “win” wars without occupations . . .

    Hell, as a country the US specializes in occupations. Remember that Puerto Ricans tried to assassinate Truman, now 50 years later half of Puerto Ricans want to become a state.

    Sorry for thread-crapping. At least life will get back to normal, especially if “shitty” was “normal.”

  5. thesofine said

    Dude. So I was sitting in the pharm waiting and watching CNN. I don’t really watch TV news anymore (I read the AP wire and editorials from major newspapers), so I found it fascinating. Every news story was about crisis this and crisis that. In the span of less than 20min they talked about the Unemployment Crisis, the Housing Crisis, and the Fuel Crisis. Apparently in the past week I have survived multiple crises and wasn’t even aware of it!! Our generation should receive medals for our valour in times of soooo many crises.

    Has the media really lost all sense of perspective?

  6. Have they ever had it?

  7. thesofine said

    fo sho

  8. Word.

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