Vice Squad
Friday, March 18, 2005
The New Containment

Eminence grise George Kennan has passed away, and his policy of containment has seen quite a decline, too. Congress is upset that the US hasn't done more to combat opium growing in Afghanistan; here's Congressman Henry Hyde going over the top: "The U.S. government has been AWOL too long in the fight against illicit drugs in Afghanistan which is part of the same war against the same enemy that is global terrorism." (He then went on to say, "Of course, it is our public policies, and not the chemical properties of illicit drugs, that establish any connection between drugs and terrorism." Oh, no, he didn't say that.)

Anyway, some DEA folks had to testify to Congressman Hyde and others at a Congressional hearing to signal how seriously we take the crop-growing habits of dirt-poor, early-perishing Afghan peasants. How serious are we? Cold War serious, that's how serious: Operation Containment. From the Voice of America:
Michael Braun, of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), says special DEA foreign-deployed agents may begin work at the end of March, supplementing an existing regional effort.

"Operation Containment is a DEA-led multinational cooperative program initiated in 2002 in an effort to place a security belt around Afghanistan that would prevent processing chemicals from entering the country and opium and heroin from leaving," he explained.
Meanwhile, other folks are hoping to get Afghanistan in on that portion of opium cultivation that receives official imprimatur.

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