Hillary Releases Plan for Afghanistan

Hillary Clinton today released her specific plan for Afghanistan. Among the points: Redesign the counternarcotics plan:

She will target enforcement against drug lords, labs, and corrupt officials, not farmers. Using the inspirational agricultural programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal as a model, she will propose to the international community and the Congress a multi-year program to develop Afghanistan’s agricultural sector to provide alternative livelihoods. This is the best way to undermine the terrible nexus of drug lords, corrupt officials, and Taliban who are now strangling the legitimate side of Afghanistan’s economy. This would mean an integrated approach to agricultural development that employs all resources from seeds to fertilizer, irrigation to electrification to roads, and markets to education.

On building the country's security and police force, she will ask NATO to step up to the plate. Isn't that was Obama should have done when he chaired the Foreign Relations subcommittee that had oversight over NATO in Afghanistan?

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    and since their policy positions are so similar (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 02:58:49 PM EST
    it will be like he's copying her plan, like with her economic plan.

    Well, isn't Obama going to say (none / 0) (#12)
    by MarkL on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:20:43 PM EST
    she's "taking her eye off the ball"? and that we need to use troops to go after Al Qaeda?
    How are people going to determine whose position is better, in that event?

    I think Obama wants to be really careful (none / 0) (#14)
    by Kathy on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:22:49 PM EST
    about charging folks with taking their eye off the ball.

    I agree with the other poster: he is in a really tricky place right now.  Best to just ignore it and let the news cycle float away.


    Well, I don't see any other logical (none / 0) (#15)
    by MarkL on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:24:50 PM EST
    He can't "me-too" Hillary now that his front-runner status is gone. He has to distinguish himself, and he'll do it by coming up with something more hawkish.

    Considering the fact that (none / 0) (#27)
    by kredwyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:33:47 PM EST
    Opium supplies are up and the Taliban has been using the proceeds of the poppy fields to help rebuild itself, I don't see that going very far.

    It's a step in the right direction. (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:03:01 PM EST
    A big mistake has been to immediately declare a War on Drugs in Afghanistan. That was a very dumb move. If you take away the livelihood of farmers there, you won't exactly get enthusiastic support.

    By providing alternatives and not punishing farmers, you're heading down the right path.

    Yeah. I'm really - (3.66 / 3) (#11)
    by liminal on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:19:05 PM EST
    - pleased with the plan, and modeling it on FDR's agricultural policies during the dust bowl.  Not that I know much about agricultural policies, but go after the drug lords, not the farmers, create an alternate economic model, et cetera.  Go Hillary!

    Get serious.... (none / 0) (#62)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:39:55 PM EST
    Look at these prices for heroin.

    In 2005, 3 grand US dollars for a kilo in Afghanistan.  In 2006, 65 grand here, 35 in France.  I'm sure the Afghanis are just as adept at basic economics as you or I.


    Sounds Marshall Plan-ish (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:25:24 PM EST
    Good.  That's what we've needed in that region for years.  And it's how you turn so-called "enemies" into friends.

    Ask Germany and Japan.

    Or you could.... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:32:42 PM EST
    just leave those people the hell alone.  That works too.

    Right, (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by tek on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:34:11 PM EST
    You Go Girl!

    One of the reasons (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by jen on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:34:19 PM EST
    I even gave Hillary a 2nd look was because Wes Clark endorsed her and is one of her FP advisers. I can see his fingerprints on her Afghanistan plan. ;)

    Over time, the more I've learned about her, the stronger supporter I've become.

    Um (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Steve M on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:06:53 PM EST
    the "working hard in the Senate" talking point might not be the best arrow in the quiver.

    Is Asa Hutchinson still head of the DEA? (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:25:54 PM EST
    He was the federal prosecutor in that corner of Arkansas when all the cocaine was being flown in there to Mena from Latin America. When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas.

    I'm not sure what's new about this proposal. Crack down on drug lords? Check. Replace opium crop with other crops? Check. This is exactly the same plan that someone's trotted out every six months during this forty-year drug war. This was Nixon's plan to stop Mexicans growing marijuana back in the sixties. Nice to see you've finally heard it over here, but I don't see anything new.

    You are never going to win a drug war over there as long as people want it over here. Better to spend the entire DEA budget on developing drug antagonists and other means of breaking drug habits.


    By the way, take a look at every war we've had since Vietnam. Check where the weapons and soldiers went, and see if you can match the drug that came back. During the Iran-contra era there were bumper stickers that read: "CIA = Cocaine Importation Agency." Hasenfus. Read about the Golden Triangle and Air America and Southern Air Transport during Vietnam. Read about Monzer al-Kassar, who was an arms dealer bringing U.S. stuff to Iran while being the biggest heroin importer into the U.S. At one point Victor Bout was flying weapons into Afghanistan for the U.S. and the Taliban, and was bringing heroin out.

    It's a small world after all.


    The U.S. is not in Afghanistan because bin Laden used to be there in 2001. That's stupid, but people believe it. We are not there to end the drug generation there. Read about the Chinese Opium Wars to understand the real dynamics of drug wars.

    American soldiers are in Afghanistan because the oil companies want to build a pipeline to get all that oil and gas from the former Soviet Union. The rest of NATO is probably losing interest because their energy companies are not getting a big enough slice.

    Here's another historical parallel. At the end of World War I the U.S. sent an expeditionary force into Russia to stop all the revolutionary goings-on there. The head of the American relief services for Europe was Herbert Hoover, who had claim to the oilfields around Baku. Hoover essentially cut off the relief supplies for the Russians because he wanted to keep those oilfields. This is not unlike what Bill Clinton did for Iraq. That is, he and Madeleine Albright did the starving, and George Bush did the acquisition of the oilfields.

    Welcome to the working week.

    Please ban this (none / 0) (#51)
    by MarkL on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:29:46 PM EST
    conspiracy theory monger.
    Wolfson is right---Obama and his followers are aping Ken Starr now.

    Which part is conspiracy? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:43:02 PM EST
    And what conspiracy wasn't true?

    That drugs came into Mena or that Hutchinson was the federal prosecutor?

    That Hoover wanted to starve Russians to get his oilfields back?

    That Clinton starved Iraqis and then Americans divided up their oilfields?

    That there's a pipeline being built through Afghanistan?


    Why ban.... (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:48:21 PM EST
    is the truth painful to your eyes or something?

    Well said Bob.  

    Meet the new plan, same as the old plan.  And people eat it up.  When did the messenger start to mean everything and the message mean nothing?  Strange days my brothers and sisters...strange days.


    TL May Seem (none / 0) (#53)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:36:19 PM EST
    Like dkos lite these days but conspiracy theories are not banned. BTW- Do you think HRC's plan is somehow different than the same exact [failed] plans we have been hearing about since the WOD started?

    If so how is it any different?


    Mark (none / 0) (#56)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:45:17 PM EST
    If it makes you nervous, then maybe you ought to read up.

    From the description here there really isn't any difference between Nixon's drug war and Hillary's, except Nixon used Paraquat.


    Sounds like you get your news (none / 0) (#67)
    by RalphB on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:14:19 PM EST
    from Jerry Falwell videos and News of the World.  :-)

    please leave the repub talking points (none / 0) (#66)
    by hellothere on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:03:54 PM EST
    off here. thanks

    This is Good (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by dissenter on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:43:08 PM EST
    I just spent a year working in the agriculture ministry in Afghanistan. Hillary is on the right track here. This is by far, the best thing that anyone has come up with.

    A little background for you.....

    The chief problem in Afghanistan is corruption. The parliament is comprised of corrupt officials and most of them are drug lords. Currently, US tax dollars are funding this charade. We have to help fund the government but at the same time we have become powerless in stopping the corruption because we do not demand anything back from the government. This has to end.

    President Karzai is despised across the country. The Afghans that supported him have been let down terribly. The man is rarely in the country (most often he is abroad making speeches). Karzai has not addressed even the most basic concerns of the Afghan people. There is no way Karzai wins the elections next year unless they are rigged. While the people suffer, his government wastes massive amounts of money on luxury homes, offices, armored SUVs, etc. Parliamentarians send their kids to first rate schools while everyone else gets a bad education or none at all. If their families are sick they get health care. Most Afghans get none. Most people have little to no electricity, cold water or no running water at all and the cost of living has gone through the roof.  It goes on and on. The people are very angry. But they do not hate us for the most part. That is something that people need to understand. Afghanistan is not Iraq but it will be if we do not do something soon...and it better be something that benefits the people.

    Afghanistan's only hope is agriculture. That is a fact. There is no manufacturing in that country and there will not be any for a long time. Unfortunately, decades of war have ruined the soil, there is almost no heavy farming equipment in the country, there are no markets to sell what they do grow, etc. You have to fix agriculture first before you can change ANYTHING.  Everyone understands that.

    What must happen is a FDR type agriculture plan. If we can bring in equipment to level the ground, irrigation systems to ensure water, seed, fertilizer, vaccines for animals, pesticides, etc agriculture can thrive in that country. The problem is the money has to stop going through the Afghan government. They steal it all.

    Afghans do not want to grow poppy. Unfortunately, many are starving and that is the only crop they can grow because the Taliban and drug lords will front them the money to grow the crops. They also are starting to provide health care and other services the government has ignored. That is why the population isn't kicking them out. It isn't because they like them. They do not.

    Alternative crops are viable if there is a vision and a way to secure the communities that want to grow them. For example, saffron grows great over there and it is worth more. Everyone would jump on the saffron bandwagon if they didn't have drug lords pointing guns at them. Since those people also happen to be the government it is a big problem. It doesn't help either when we cut down the farmers crops. Those farmers are then in debt to the Taliban. They have to give their daughters away and work like slaves for them to repay debts.  Clinton is right. We are going after the wrong people.

    I constantly hear people say we should stay out of the Afgans affairs. Quite the opposite. The Afghan govt is using our money to enrich themselves while offering nothing to the people. This is the problem with democracy in these type of countries. Until you have stable civil institutions there can be no peace, no prosperity or an improvement in human rights.  Bush has done everything backwards and that is why both Iraq and Afghanistan look the way they do today. Corruption is the heart of the problem.

    We need to back a new horse...with strings. You clean up the place and we will give you a package of deals that will help your people. There are viable opposition groups. We just ignore them.

    I'm all for reasonable alternatives (none / 0) (#68)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:17:26 PM EST
    for Afghan farmers, but the (wildly varying) estimates are that Afghan opium exports in '06 were about $2.7Billion, while Iran, the 800lb gorilla of the world's saffron production, produced only $100Million in '06. And, prices are extremely volatile year to year, leading to extreme booms and busts. What do you suppose the Iranian farmers will do if the Afghan farmers try to take their livelihoods away?

    Simple (none / 0) (#72)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 10:31:36 AM EST
    Remove saffron from market forces like oil. They could form a saffron cartel. And charge whatever they want.

    Right. (none / 0) (#73)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:09:52 PM EST
    At the prices that exist now, there are enough customers for only X tons of the stuff, and only Y workers are employed to grow and process it.

    And you suggest doubling the price and doubling the production as a solution to increase production and employment?

    Simply brilliant.


    Nah (none / 0) (#74)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:43:04 PM EST
    Using the arbitrary price of oil prices, I think that they should up the price twenty fold or more.

    Squeeze those saffron addicts. Force them to find alternative sources that are less damaging to the opium business.


    You think she might (none / 0) (#1)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 02:54:00 PM EST
    have put something like "Eradicate Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the Taliban" somewhere in that policy brief?  

    Very wishy washy.

    So you think more guns are the answer? (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by MarkL on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:00:08 PM EST
    I believe this IS a plan to eradicate the Taliban.

    More guns are PART of the answer (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by ItsGreg on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:35:33 PM EST
    More guns and the right people to use them. Afghanistan can't be rebuilt until there is some level of internal security, and we can't restore security unless we have military leaders who have a better understanding of how to combat non-state forces.

    Hillary does include a troop increase in her plan. For me, the question is whether her military advisors have some familiarity with 4th generation warfare. Of course, I have the same concern with Obama.


    She's addressing the environment (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Edgar08 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:26:57 PM EST
    In which the taliban flourishes.

    Farmers are growing poppy simply because they can make more money doing so, in most cases, they can't make a living doing anything else.


    AS (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by tek on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:31:37 PM EST
    experts in Afghanistan have pointed out, if you eliminate the drug crops, you get rid of the Taliban.  I don't know that Al Queda is that entrenched in Afghanistan now, they are in Pakistan.

    How Simple (none / 0) (#30)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:34:43 PM EST
    Lead the way. Seemed to work in Colombia. not.

    This is good policy (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Salt on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:33:26 PM EST
    Its brilliant and the timing is good as well.  I would soon like to view her plan on how she will wean our country, our pols off using these massive deficits that are funded by foreign capital and are nothing more than a deferred tax placing our country at risk at the same time.

    Just took a spin I can see our MSM and Progressive blog Hillary haters are at it digging up the creepy Arkansas Project and Starr trash, good luck with that, the American People know Senator Clinton now and they know her record I dont believe it will work the back splash wont smell well..  Oh just remembered Scaife is in Pa...hmmm I get it use the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as the PA surrogate anti Clinton attack dog this month.


    When you take away the poppy fields... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by kredwyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:42:55 PM EST
    you have to replace it with something else in order to alleviate the need and dependence on groups like AQ and the Taliban.

    That means funding for food and shelter and stuff.

    One way of doing that is to keep giving people money...or help them figure out ways to make the money themselves so that they no longer need to rely on groups with questionable motives.

    Frankly, I prefer the later.


    I would love to see what she could do (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Kathy on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:50:44 PM EST
    with microfinancing.  The US could enlist Heifer and others to transform the economy and empower the local women at the same time.  If the women are self-sufficient, they will be able to train their children to be the same way.  If they gain economic power, they will have political power.  Can you imagine what would happen if we gave Grameen even a third of what we've given Blackwater?

    This is why we need a woman for president.  


    What? (none / 0) (#40)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:52:41 PM EST
    This is why we need a woman for president.  

    I guess this is a variant of the "If women were in charge there would never be war" myth?


    Well this is why we need this woman.... (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Maria Garcia on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:09:08 PM EST
    I never get tired (5.00 / 4) (#59)
    by sonya on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:54:09 PM EST
    of reading her words:

    I believe that now, on the eve of a new millennium, it is time to break the silence. It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights.

    It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.

    It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution for human greed -- and the kinds of reasons that are used to justify this practice should no longer be tolerated.

    It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire, and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.

    It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.

    It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives.

    It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.

    It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

     Hillary Rodham Clinton 1995

    THAT is a speech.


    Inspiration (none / 0) (#65)
    by MMW on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:03:39 PM EST
    That is inspiration. Her continued fight is hope.

    Maybe we should try it for a change. n/t (none / 0) (#48)
    by hairspray on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:13:46 PM EST
    Guns and money (none / 0) (#34)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:48:16 PM EST
    Afghanistan's annual GDP is 35 Billion a year.  

    10 billion a year would be 30% of their GDP.  So massive infrastructure building coupled with a strong military presence to wipe out the Taliban.

    Without improving the military situation the money sent their will simply funnel to the corrupt warlords who are in the bag for the Taliban already.


    According to the UN... (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by kredwyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:54:13 PM EST
    Afghan poppy/opium production went up 17% last year.

    Look at Afghanistan's topography. Really? You think that blanketing the country with troops is going to solve the problem?

    Wasn't that the Soviet plan?

    Last time I checked, NATO wasn't that kind of force.


    Actually no (none / 0) (#60)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:58:55 PM EST
    They don't need to blanket the countryside.  Get the popular will of the people by building infrastructure and use the military to crush the Taliban.  

    part of that process... (none / 0) (#69)
    by kredwyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:29:37 PM EST
    would be to engage in projects like the UN microloan program that can get people working towards not having to rely on things like the poppy fields.

    Let's see.... (4.00 / 1) (#70)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:39:11 AM EST
    give an Afghan a microloan to make herbal soap.  What's a bar of soap sell for compared to heroin?  They'll take your microloan and use it towards their poppy production...at least that's what I'd do.  Why bust your arse making soap when you can bust your arse growing poppy and make a sh*tload more money?  Do you think the Afghani people are stupid or something?

    Whatever... (none / 0) (#75)
    by kredwyn on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 06:36:57 PM EST
    The UN has made it clear that poppy production in Afghanistan is up by 17%...and that's, according to the UN, not a good thing. And the UN has put forward that something needs to be done to help mitigate the situation.

    But hey...I guess you're right...nothing can be done because micro-loans like the ones already being done through Kiva are just a waste of time cause Afghans are so invested in growing poppies for opium sales.

    So we should just keep going with the Bush "do nothing" plan, right?


    And no... (none / 0) (#76)
    by kredwyn on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 06:48:14 PM EST
    I'm not thinking about this as a candidate partisan.   The fact is that some of the poppy fields are going to be taken out...one way or another. And in the meantime it looks like:
    the Taliban have pounced on this situation, Reinert said. "All this is being used by the Taliban to say ... 'When we were there we were maybe hard and cruel, but you could feed the family. Now look what's going on.' They are more and more providing support, social services to the local population."

    And so the coalition forces are stuck with military options to deal with what is primarily a problem of development, or the lack of it.

    The strong tactics have failed to reduce opium cultivation - it has in fact risen alarmingly. Several reports suggest that the Taliban could be promoting opium cultivation while poor farmers suffer.

    The militaristic approach to combat cultivation has not worked. A United Nations study documents a 59% increase in opium cultivation to 165,000 hectares of poppy fields this year.


    "Blood money is funding the salary of the Taliban's weapons and role of active insurgents actively participating in the trade," United Nations drugs chief Antonio Maria Costa told a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday. The UN is concerned that the bumper crop is helping fuel the deadly Taliban-led insurgency in the south.
    Costa said: "I call on NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization] forces to destroy heroin labs, disband the open opium bazaars, attack the opium convoys and bring to justice the big traders. I invite coalition countries to give NATO the mandate and resources required."

    If you take out one product, you have to replace it with something else.


    With something else.... (none / 0) (#77)
    by kdog on Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 09:29:02 AM EST
    of equal earning power, or else what's in it for the Afghans?  I can't think of another crop with the earning power of poppy.

    What we could do is legalize drugs...that would drop the price and put it more on par with other commodities.


    If the fields go... (none / 0) (#78)
    by kredwyn on Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 06:07:21 PM EST
    there has to be something to fill the void.

    Just as well (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:39:52 PM EST
    Just as well not plan on doing the impossible. Any short history of Afghanistan will show the reader the folly of ever dreaming of "conquering Afghanistan" or "eradicating" anything. Whether carpet-bombing villages or helping women to make herbal soap, foreign intervention in that part of the world is just foolhardy. American oil interests would love to be able to siphon off all that gas and oil and get their nickel before it reached India or China or Europe rather than it pass through Russia and have Putin get his nickel on the way through.

    well (none / 0) (#3)
    by Kathy on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 02:57:45 PM EST
    what did Obama put in his bill to help Afghanistan?

    You strike me as (none / 0) (#21)
    by Steve M on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:30:42 PM EST
    the sort of person who would normally deplore attacks from the right.

    I think the Republicans (none / 0) (#6)
    by cannondaddy on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:00:10 PM EST
    are going to have fun with this...

    Let them try..... (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Maria Garcia on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:02:06 PM EST
    ...but first they can tell us why THEY haven't eradicated the Taliban and captured Osama. Then maybe we'll listen.

    Because they were too busy invading Iraq (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by JJE on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:22:22 PM EST
    with the support of various cowardly Dems.

    We can assume they were cowardly or we (none / 0) (#44)
    by hairspray on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:07:33 PM EST
    can read what Joe Wilson wrote about the whole scenario, which was more complicated that what you suggest.  I prefer the credibility of Joe Wilson in spite of what the big Orange says.

    First clue (none / 0) (#52)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:32:59 PM EST
    Osama isn't in Afghanistan either.

    I don't (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by tek on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:29:49 PM EST
    know what bona fide objection they could raise.  This plan is entirely consistent with the analysis the Afghanistani woman gave on Bill Moyers last week.  She is working with the people over there to raise other crops for money.  She's started a soap-making business with the herbs her people raise and it's quite successful.  They can't keep up with demand.  So, I think Hillary is right on track with this plan.

    Going after drug lords (none / 0) (#10)
    by tomangell on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:17:33 PM EST
    will only make the problem worse, not better.  Making the drug market more risky only increases profits.  We will only "win" and put drug lords and terrorists out of business by taxing and regulating the currently illicit substances they profit from.  We should demand better forward-thinking solutions from our candidates.

    Clinton's plan, as excerpted here, is all about continuing to chase our tail.  Not that Obama has said anything better, but still...

    Yup. (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:26:51 PM EST
    Anyone thinking that Clinton's plan wouldn't have us desperately looking for the next "great plan" for Afghanistan 4 or 8 years from now, is imbibing something stronger even than the Afghan opium - election-cycle koolaid.

    So far as I can tell... (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by kredwyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:50:14 PM EST
    there isn't a plan out there that will 100% figure out a solution to Afghanistan.

    But I think that the Bush admin has done a pretty good job of showing us that force without political, diplomatic, and economic plans beyond tossing more money at it haven't exactly worked.


    So (none / 0) (#23)
    by tek on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:32:07 PM EST
    what's your plan?

    To accept reality. (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:36:32 PM EST
    Of drugs and election campaigns.

    Ho-hum..... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:27:47 PM EST
    She will target enforcement against drug lords, labs, and corrupt officials, not farmers

    In other words, continue butting our nose in things that are none of our business.  If the Afghans want to grow and process poppy, or wheat, or soybeans for a living, that's their business.  

    she will propose to the international community and the Congress a multi-year program to develop Afghanistan's agricultural sector to provide alternative livelihoods

    IOW, we ain't leaving....probably ever.  Great.

    The Afghans (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by tek on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:33:34 PM EST
    don't want to grow drugs.  Don't you read or watch PBS?  They are being forced to grow drugs by the Taliban.  (Sort of like the drug cartels in Mexico, need to go after them next).

    What? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:50:48 PM EST
    How do you force someone to grow a non-food crop?

    The farmers grow poppies because their land isn't very arable and poppies are very profitable.  The Taliban extort tributes from the farmers.


    The Afghans.... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 03:55:23 PM EST
    want to live and prosper, same as Americans.

    Poppy is their best bet, and I say sun god bless them in their endeavors.  Same for the Columbians with their coca.  Nobody is putting a gun to the collective head off the world to buy these crops. The world wants them, so they grow them.  Let freedom ring:)


    off topic comments (none / 0) (#50)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:26:03 PM EST
    will be deleted.

    NATO (none / 0) (#57)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 04:48:06 PM EST
    isn't going to step up to the plate just because Bush will be gone.

    America's credibility won't be magically restored on Jan 20, 2009 just because a Democrat (hopefully) gets sworn in to replace W. Neither candidate seems to have a plan to address this basic problem.

    Which is the basic problem? (none / 0) (#61)
    by Foxx on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:08:22 PM EST
    Drugs or the Taliban? Seems to me whatever crops they are growing the Taliban is going to be taking a cut.

    without getting into a legality issue (none / 0) (#64)
    by Kathy on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:47:13 PM EST
    drugs are illicit; wheat is not.  Like every illicit commodity, the reason that the Taliban or the Mob or whomever can make profits on it is because the commodity is illegal.

    No farmer is going to have to pay the Taliban to smuggle wheat into a border state.  Take the military off drug duty and that frees them to fight the Taliban instead of the farmers.  (And keep in mind that most Muslims abhor growing drug crops; it is against their religion.  Prior to the US invasion, the Taliban was against poppy farms and routinely destroyed them)

    And google microloans for how these schemes change entire regions one person at a time.


    Or, a simpler solution.... (none / 0) (#71)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:46:15 AM EST
    let these poor people make a living as they see fit.  Let them move their crops across their borders legally, then they don't need Taliban protection.

    Nobody is gonna make soap or weave baskets when they make a lot more growing poppy.  Our drug addiction problem isn't their problem.  Let them be.