Vice Squad
Monday, November 29, 2004
Imprisoning Our Way to a Better Afghanistan

While the rest of us were loafing over the Thanksgiving holiday, our drug czar was hard at work. Last Friday he published the results of his latest ruminations in the Washington Times. The issue: how to save Afghanistan from the menace of the illegal drug trade.

Now don't go jumping to the futility claim, that there's nothing that can be done, you naysayers, you. All you need is a little strategy, the successful Colombian model, and some US assistance:
It is by no means a problem that defies solution and the Afghans have already drawn up a national drug-control strategy. Colombia's dramatic progress against a pervasive narcotics trade demonstrates the power of credible, coordinated and comprehensive policies to reduce the destabilizing threat of drugs. The United States is playing a valuable role in Colombia's progress, and now we are prepared to assist Afghanistan fight its drug war.
Oh, and you need a five-pillared plan. The pillars include a public relations campaign, perhaps teamed with an amnesty, and support for alternative crops. The other three pillars? Interdiction, eradication, and prisons, oh my! "We will help the Afghans build a special narcotics prosecution task force and aid construction of judicial and detention facilities expressly for counternarcotics cases." Afghanistan only has some 28.5 million people -- who knows, it might be possible to imprison every Afghan. I doubt that there will be any resentment, because surely the public relations campaign will explain how we are helping.

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