The Reasoned Review

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Two Bombs

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Two bombs went off in our war regions this week, the first deadly literal and the second no less murderous, but figurative. In Iraq a car bomb ripped through the capital, nearly demolishing their Justice Ministry and killing or wounding some 900-odd civilians. The explosion occurred just three blocks off from the “Green Zone” and emphasizes just how precarious our situation there is. Though our press continues to spout that “the surge worked” and that “violence has significantly reduced”, the fact remains that bombings in Iraq are still a weekly occurrence (Iraq has had 75 suicide bombings so far this year).

Of course, under our guiding “strategy” in Iraq, this latest attack will serve as further evidence that a troop withdrawal may be premature, instead of suggesting, as it should, that the withdrawal process has not occurred quickly enough. In particular, this episode exemplifies the inherent weakness of the al-Maliki government, and raises grave doubts as to how long he will survive our withdrawal; a fact which will probably be used in the future to justify some type of “security contingent” of residual American troops in Iraq.

Over on the other side of Iran, our Other War took a decidedly strange turn. The New York Times released yesterday the (not-so) shocking news that our corrupt friend Hamid Karzai’s improbably more corrupt brother happens to be on the CIA’s payroll. This is important news for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that Brother Karzai happens to be the single largest distributor of heroin in Afghanistan. (source 2, source 3, source 4, etc.) There goes our rationale of fighting the Afghans to stem their horrific flow of heroin. It is important to bear in mind that while Afghanistan currently supplies 90% of the world’s heroin, their large-scale poppy production began only after the US invasion, specifically in 2006-2007 (source). So if we went there to stem the tide of opium, our presence there has had a dramatically opposite effect.

This recent revelation that their largest opium producer works for the CIA can be considered a few different ways. Being that the CIA refuses to say anything about the matter, except that they paid Brother Karzai for “a variety of services”, one is left to speculate:

  1. The CIA pays Brother Karzai to keep tabs on Prime Minister Hamid

This would suggest that while our CIA certainly does not care about destroying opium, they consider its production an irrelevant by-product. Here, opium production is the easiest way to control the Karzai government, making them acquiesce to US rule and sign a general blank check for us to operate on their territory

2.    The CIA actually wishes for an increase in opium and heroin production

Recently, I have heard this theory expressed quite often, and incredible though it may sound, its supporters do adhere to a sort of logic. Under this interpretation, US and CIA involvement in Afghanistan is actually designed to produce opium, one of the most profitable crops on earth. A very significant proportion of the heroin produced in Afghanistan is shipped to Europe or America, where it fetches a handsome price. The CIA, as most people know, have a rich and varied history of partnering with drug traffickers, even by their own admission. It would not be far-fetched to imagine some sort of arrangement where the CIA shares the profits from Karzai’s poppy fields and diverts it back into the US Treasury. When one considers that heroin is a multi-billion dollar per year industry, the prospect seems quite a bit more likely.

3.     The CIA has been keeping these payments to use as leverage.

This seems the most likely, when one stops to think about it. Karzai has been on the CIA payroll for more than 8 years (longer than his brother has been Prime Minister). Why would they choose to release this information now? To speculate, one might point to the recent botched elections in Afghanistan. Thus far the US has been rather supportive of the Karzai government, but they have been showing signs of impatience. It is entirely possible that some master brain within the State Department woke up one morning and decided to cut Karzai loose.  They may have decided the best way to do so would be to release sensitive information about Karzai’s brother in order to send a message, or to distance ourselves euphemistically (“Well, he’s a drug lord, you know? We don’t want to deal with drug lords…”)

All rootless speculation aside however, I think today’s news proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that our US Government engages heavily in the production and sale of illicit drugs in Afghanistan (murder, etc. not withstanding, of course.)


Written by pavanvan

October 30, 2009 at 2:39 am

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