"I opium mother is feeling better this morning."
Letter to Age:
So we’re off on another drug eradication crusade in Afghanistan, just as Australia adds more hostages to our force there. It’s fair to say, I think, that when you spray weedkiller on people’s crops they get pissed off at you; and it’s only reasonable to note that when Afghans get pissed off they shoot people, some of them Australians. Tasmania, too, grows opium poppies. There, however, we avoid getting people pissed off by the simple expedient of buying the product off them to make medical morphine. If the Americans didn’t insist that everybody else in the world joined them in their moral panics we’d have more returned servicemen and fewer military funerals.
Noting, to be fair, that the Centre for Research on Globalisation disagrees with me; however, their arguments appear to deal with the flaws of a payment scheme in reducing the flow of opiates rather than its effect on the war, so I'll hang in there. The folks at the Centre say, for example, that if you paid for opium the price would go up and the growers would simply make twice as much in two lots, one for the legal scheme and one for the illegal scheme; possible, I admit, but still producing fat happy growers rather than skinny pissed growers, so not an argument against my proposal. Fixing the general problem of drugs around the globe will doubtless take more than that, but it would still require the Americans to make more use of common sense than they've ever shown any signs of in this area.