Let’s end the Afghan “Drug War” to Curb the Deficit

While House Speaker John Boehner wants to repeal Obamacare as part of deficit reduction negotiations, America is wasting countless billions on a futile “drug war” in Afghanistan. It’s enough to make American taxpayers furious. Especially as the real beneficiaries of the “drug war” are private contractors like the infamous Blackwater crew that made a fool of Uncle Sam during the Iraq War.

I don’t know what hold Erik Prince had on the Pentagon during the bad, old Bush days, but the scoundrel and his outlaw gang got  richer and richer despite a host of scandals. Now, the company has changed its name and Prince has sold out. He is living, presumably like a prince,  in the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, Blackwater by any other name lives on, thriving mightily on American tax dollars.

The drug war is part of the counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan. The rationale is that the Afghan opium trade funds the “Taliban,” which is a name used by the military-industrial complex to frighten politicians into providing an endless supply of funds for a totally futile Afghan occupation.

But it’s not the troops or their Afghan allies who are fighting the drug war; it’s contractors like good, ol’ Blackwater – now known as Academi. And these contractors have access to a seemingly limitless mother lode of tax dollars.

An article by Spencer Ackerman distributed today by Reader Supported News, reports that:

An obscure Pentagon agency called the Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office has grown into one of the biggest dispensers of cash for private security contractors in the entire U.S. government: One pile of contracts last year from CNTPO was worth more than $3 billion.

To nobody’s surprise, the drug war has had little or no impact on Afghanistan’s opium industry. Indeed, the country’s drug trade has multiplied rapidly since the start of the American occupation. The United Nations reported this week that Afghan poppy cultivation rose nearly 20 percent over the past two years.

I can’t figure out why President Obama hasn’t called American troops home from Afghanistan by now. It might have something to do with the need to find jobs for the returning troops. But surely he could call a halt to the flow of cash funding those private contractors?

How about putting that on the table in those “fiscal cliff” talks instead of Obamacare?

Indeed, it would be a good idea to put the entire “war on drugs” on the table. That has to be one of the most wasteful programs ever conceived and it seems to be doing more harm than good.

Click here to read about Blackwater.

Click here to read about Erik Prince.

Click here for more on the war on drugs.

 

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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