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Sunday, September 03, 2006

All Bush Quagmires are Created Equal

Ted Rall wrote this article three days before yesterday's NY Times article about the record levels of opium being produced in Afghanistan. Rall:
The war against Afghanistan is no different, no more justifiable, and no more winnable than the war against Iraq. Both were underfunded, poorly planned and based on lies. Neither had anything to do with 9/11. And now, finally, the American public is starting to learn the truth.

George W. Bush's war against Iraq, most Americans believe, was a distraction from the war on terrorism. But so was Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden has been in Pakistan since before 9/11. Bush knew that. Nevertheless, he bombarded the military dictator of Pakistan, who financed the Taliban and Al Qaeda's training camps and hosted bin Laden, not with cluster bombs but with millions of our tax dollars. He never tried to catch Osama.
Rall's whole article is right on. As for the Times article:
Afghanistan's opium harvest this year has reached the highest levels ever recorded, showing an increase of almost 50 percent from last year, the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said Saturday in Kabul.
"This year's harvest will be around 6,100 metric tons of opium--a staggering 92 percent of total world supply. It exceeds global consumption by 30 percent," Mr. Costa said at a news briefing.

He said the harvest increased by 49 percent from the year before, and it drastically outpaced the previous record of 4,600 metric tons, set in 1999 while the Taliban governed the country. The area cultivated increased by 59 percent, with more than 400,000 acres planted with poppies in 2006 compared with less than 260,000 in 2005.
Back in late September, 2001, aWol's war bluster led me to go to the local Barnes & Noble, seeking a book on Afghanistan. I looked at all the displays and endcaps, but saw nothing. Finally, I asked at the counter. "Why would you want a book about Afghanistan?" asked the clerk. "Because we're about to go to war there, and I'd like to know something about it." Apparently I was about the only one. It was right there in the news--19 alleged hijackers, mostly from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, who had been living in Florida, California, New Jersey and Germany. The ringleaders of their alleged organization were also from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Yet we were going to bomb the crap out of Afghanistan, which already had little crap left unbombed. I wanted to know why. I still don't.