Saturday, August 22, 2009

Afghanistan: the Foreign Office apparently has no brain

Denis McShane on the Guardian's Comment is Free argues " We can't abandon Afghanistan

The cry of 'Troops out' may seem attractive, but instead of leaving Afghanistan to rot we should rethink strategy and tactics" His finely honed (not) proposals are "might the Germans, French and Spanish be right in occupying ground and promoting development rather than bring-it-on combats with the Taliban? What diplomatic strategy do Nato member countries have to persuade India to ease pressure on Pakistan? Which is more important – conflict with Iran or working with the odious regime in Tehran, much as we allied with Stalin in the second world war, to contain Taliban and Sunni Islamist extremism?"

My comment on comment is free:

The given options are either an open-ended commitment for our forces to destroy a shadowy foe who is rooted economically in the communities of Afghanistan, who is calling the shots and is making advances, while supporting a corrupt Afghan establishment; or to make an unconditional withdrawal, leaving the Afghan people to the non-tender mercies of the Taleban.

Not a very comfortable choice to have to make.

Happily there is a third option, although one that does not get an airing in the corporate media: buy the Afghan opium crop, purify it into medical grade morphine and heroin, and use it to relieve terminal pain in developing countries, where millions die each year in agony from cancer and HIV related causes.

In following this course, we legitimise the 40% of the Afghan economy that is based on the poppy, deprive the Taleban of their funding sources, thus enabling our forces to defeat them militarily, we clean our cities of heroin - related crime, and we meet a major humanitarian medical need in developing countries.

This decision is a no-brainer.

Unfortunately the Foreign Office apparently has no brain.

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