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Proposals won't help drug war

September 07, 2007

Re "Poppy wars," Opinion, Sept. 2

I was at first heartened to read Peter Bergen and Sammer Lalwani's attack on the U.S. policy of poppy eradication in Afghanistan. But the sensible writing was followed by a stream of well-intentioned, meddlesome policies for remedying the "problem."

Why is it that American taxpayers must fund alternatives for Afghan farmers? They seem to know how to grow a crop and survive.

Who cares to whom they sell it and where the money goes? Do we care to whom Russian potato farmers sell for production of vodka?

Why must we continue to pay in blood, treasure and lost freedoms to support the failed drug war? When will Bergen and Lalwani, along with the American people, wake up and realize that there is nothing to be gained by this insanity?

Brian J. Gladish

Carlsbad

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Bergen and Lalwani advocate a deeper quagmire of conflicting policies and actions by encouraging the production of the opium poppy in Afghanistan as we continue a policy of keeping the end product illegal worldwide. Why not apply this same program to friendly but poor countries elsewhere so that farmers there can also reap the benefits? Why should poor farmers in this country be excluded? Or does it only apply where you have an insurgency?

You can't have it both ways. If we want to keep the possession and use of heroin illegal, then we must take consistent measures to thwart its production and use. If not, we should decriminalize it and let the market prevail.

Richard Law

Capistrano Beach

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I have a simple solution to the resentment caused by poppy eradication in Afghanistan. Why don't we just buy the whole production? The farmers would see us as customers instead of enemies.

Greg Gill

Palm Desert

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Is this part of our ongoing, horrific and regularly overlooked "war on drugs"? Although the authors' focus lies elsewhere, this article reminds me how utterly our government has failed us in this "war," how it misunderstands human psychology and how I often wish I had some control over how my tax dollars are spent.

Mike Flanagan

Silver Lake

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