20 September 2006

Defunding the opium trade in Afghanistan

The United States has identified the main source of Taliban funding from Afghanistan: opium poppies.

Some intrepid individuals want the US to *pay* for the opium and take it off the market.

As the United States has an ingenious method of agriculture that subsidizes farms that are not economically productive in the US, I look the following happen:

1) From the Farm Subsidy Database we get this amazing fact: In the year 2004 the US spent $12.525 Billion on farm subsidies of which $0.548 Billion went to disaster relief.

2) Most illegal immigrants come into the US to work as farm labor.

3) The US, by its subsidies is subsidizing illegal immigration and encouraging non-economically viable agriculture.

4) Large Agribusiness has eaten up the family farm in America.

The conclusion is that the US Government is subsidizing illegal aliens to work on farming in the US.

I propose that this be eliminated and the funds sent to Afghanistan to fund their agricultural system so we can pay nice, legal foreigners to do something worthwhile.

We can have the USDA and USArmy Corps of Engineers work with local tribes to set up a farm database and get each farmer who wishes to be subsidized to come in and register for the program. They will delineate their farmland on aerial photos or on maps and then have a squad of engineers go out to do a GPS ground truth survey.

Each farmer will be told that they will get a stipend to NOT GROW OPIUM POPPIES or any illegal plants or raise illegal animals. This will be checked out by remote sensing and UAVs of much older style that will fly low and slow overhead once a week. The USDA will do spectroscopic analysis to ensure that no poppies are grown there. Anyone that *does* grow illegal plants will be visited by a MOAB or FAE bomb upon their fields and be immediately put on a Most Wanted list of Taliban supporters.

Tribal leaders will be given to understand that the income sent to these farmers is contingent on no longer supporting the Taliban. It will be suggested that they keep a better watch out in their areas and report suspicious movements.

The Taliban will either have to try and subvert entire tribes, in which case their NEIGHBORS will report them or outbid the US or use force on farmers to actually grow opium.

I think that $12 Billion can go a LONG WAY to ending the Taliban without harming US agriculture in the slightest save to REFORM IT.

I do not see much good in money spent on inefficient agriculture in the US and see worlds of good in forcing the Taliban to get into a bidding war or use outright force against the farmers of Afghanistan.

Once the funding supply for the Taliban has dried up and Afghanistan is no longer making opium, then we will see just how *insurgent* the Taliban can be. Five or ten years of this and Afghanistan will be a leading agrarian Nation in Asia. All of that for what we currently squander on *cheap food* that is destroying the Nation. And it has ZERO budgetary impact.

Free traders should love this as it puts the US Agribusiness on an even footing and forces it to be competitive.

Capitalists should love this as it gives a major chance to SELL more goods to Afghanistan.

The military will get some USACE overhead, but with USDA help they will get it down to a bombing mission every couple of weeks and informing the Afghani authorities of who is Most Wanted.

The US may pay some small price in food for this, but I have this strange feeling that we can find other Nations willing to export goods to us at a lower price to replace those lost by local production.

This may start drying up the illegal immigrant problem, which is a *problem* not a cause to wish more to come to the Nation. That is no loss to the United States.

Congress will have a fit. It is an election year. Perhaps they can be informed that ending narcotics flow at its *base* and defunding the Taliban thereby is a GOOD thing for the Nation and the World.

This is a no loss proposition to the United States of America and we can *still* keep $0.5 Billion around for disaster relief!

Thus ends this rant on the insanity of Big Government, Big Business and whining from those unwilling to live in the real world as an EXCUSE to retreat from it.

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