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Stop Funding The Taliban Through the Drug War

Stop Funding The Taliban Through the Drug War

The drug war is in part a human rights issue. With half a million people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, with medical marijuana providers being hounded by the authorities, with needle exchange programs that are needed to save lives getting blocked, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy itself opposing San Francisco’s proposed safe injection site (when did it become wrong to save lives?), with countries pressured by us to spray their lands with harmful chemicals to attack unstoppable drug crops, the United States through its drug policy has become a major human rights violator. It is a sad chapter.

We at DRCNet partly see drug reform as a human rights movement, and so ten years ago when very few Americans had heard of the Taliban, but the UN and the Clinton administration intended to fund them to do opium eradication, we condemned the Taliban in this newsletter and criticized the proposal. The fear of human rights advocates was that the brutal regime would be able to use the money to further establish its hold on power. Anyone who watched the footage of Taliban atrocities airing on US news stations after 9/11 can understand why that’s a bad thing. Other reasons for opposing the Taliban are quite well known now.

Today we continue to fund the Taliban — we don’t say we do, we claim to be fighting them, we even send our soldiers to fight them in person — but we are funding them. We are funding them by prohibiting drugs. Because drugs are illegal, they cannot be regulated, and so their source plants are grown wherever and by whomever is willing and able to gain a foothold in the market. For a large share of the global opium supply, at the moment that means Afghanistan. And the Taliban are cashing in on that.

And how. Just this week, a NATO commander said opium may provide as much as 40% of the Taliban’s revenues, hundreds of millions of dollars — some experts say it’s more like 60%, he added. If opium-derived drugs were legal and regulated, that wouldn’t happen. And governments are therefore at fault for creating a funding source for a movement that is destabilizing Afghanistan, that is abusing the rights of its people, and that may still be helping Al-Qaeda, all of this five years after we thought we had gotten rid of them for good.

From the Drug War Chronicle. Another example of how Americans are paying for a loaded gun pointed at their own heads.


Comments (2 comments)

John Grever / July 21st, 2008, 10:08 am / #1

Wouldn’t an easier way to stop funding the Taliban be for drug users to just stop buying illegal drugs? Or is that too much to ask?

You think it’s time for a little life check when you need drugs so bad, you will give them your money, knowing it is funding people who want to destroy our entire way of life?

I think you can reasonably term that as addiction.

BlackSun / July 21st, 2008, 10:26 am / #2

John,

Do you drive a car? Then you are also funding middle eastern regimes who also want to see the west destroyed. That’s also an addiction.

I don’t think it’s much of an argument. We’re talking about policy, not individual choice. If you’re in charge of the government, and you know you have X number of drug users in your country, and nothing the government has done has changed that fact, isn’t it a good idea to create a policy that results in the least harm for the society?

At the individual level, don’t you think it’s more compassionate to treat drug addiction as a public health issue instead of as a crime?

Let’s stop moralizing and solve this problem rationally.

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