It's simple. It'd work. But of course since drugs are EVIL, such a common sense solution will never be adopted. It's interesting to ask why - are Americans, and indeed Europeans, really so inflexible, so indoctrinated with hatred of "drugs", that they can't do what it takes to win? In so many things we see this inflexibility - this decision to keep doing things the way they have always been done, rather than to adapt to the terrain, the people and the enemy.
Our enemies, ironically, despite coming from "traditional" societies, have no such hangups. Not convinced of their own military superiority, knowing that they can lose, having to make do without half the military budget of the entire world behind them, they are able to adapt to what we do, and by refusing to play our game by our rules they are beating us. In Iraq we lose. In Afghanistan we lose. In Lebanon a militia defeated what was supposed to be one of the most elite of all Western-style militaries.
We win the open-field battles, but we are losing the wars. And it is because we can no longer see clearly; and seeing clearly we can no longer adapt. The western military, heir of the greatest military tradition in the world, a Goliath standing astride the world, is being defeated not by David with a sling, but by a swarm of ants who refuse to sit still and be smashed by our mighty club.
And the Afghan opium problem is just another example of how we insist, in the face of failure, on doing the same thing that already failed, over and over again.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Choosing to fail
Note to NATO: opium eradication isn't working. People said -- six years or so ago, now -- that it wouldn't work, and ta-da, it hasn't worked. The workable solution to this problem -- buying all the opium and using it for medicinal stocks, or just destroying it -- has worked in a number of other places, but not Afghanistan. We're deliberately choosing stupidity over intelligence, choosing incompetence over effectiveness. And not just in the military fields, either. As always, Ian Welsh has some excellent commentary: