The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, January 17, 2008

The disaster that keeps on disastering

Funny how the administration screwed up Afghanistan so badly that the Taliban are asserting control over large swaths of land again. And how the country is producing record crops of opium poppies. But pitch-black irony is just never quite enough for today's GOP. No, they have to frost that black irony cupcake with Satan's toejam.

Well! Here is some good news for the "free markets solve everything!" crowd!

Iraqi farmers, desperate to make ends meet while simultaneously facing escalating fuel and fertilizer costs, as well as cheap imported fruits and vegetables, have taken to growing opium poppies. Poppy cultivation is spreading rapidly all across Iraq, but is especially prevalent in Diyala province, where local police and security forces are so preoccupied with the ethnic conflicts among the residents of the region, as well as a tenacious insurgency that brings the war and it's associated chaos home - suffice it to say that the drug trade is low on their list of priorities.

Put one more hashmark in the "Law of Unintended Consequences" column, I guess.

The shift to opium cultivation by Iraqis is a very recent development. The first fields, underwritten by Afghani smugglers who supplied the lucrative markets in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, were discovered less than a year ago near Diwaniya in the south, but the practice has now spread to the lush orchards of Diyala, north of Baghdad. A local agricultural engineer identified as M S al-Azawi said that the local farmers received no government support, and turned to opium production as an effort to offset high production costs and low sale prices.

Consider this my personal plea to the entire Republican party: please, do something, anything before the 2008 elections that doesn't waste mountains of cash, completely backfire, or involve criminal activity. Note that I used "or" there-- I'll settle for just one. Please?