FW: Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Thu Dec 20 15:13:37 MST 2001

NOTE: As late as three weeks before 9-11, the Bush Admin sent more funds to
the Taliban under the Poppy Eradication Program; the funds were ostensibly
for suppression of drug trafficking, the majority of which was conducted by
the thugs/rapists/warlords/medievilists of the now-US-allies of the Northern

If John Walker is charged with giving material assistance to a terrorist
organization, the charge Bush et al also as they gave far more assistance
than Walker well after Walker is known to have come into contact with the

Jim Craven

 Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban
 By Robert Scheer
 Published May 22, 2001 in the Los Angeles Times

 Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every
 vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will
 embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug
 war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.

 That's the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban
 rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human
 rights in the world today. The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary
 of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the
 main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that "rogue regime" for declaring
 that opium growing is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban's
 estimation, are most human activities, but it's the ban on drugs that
 catches this administration's attention.

 Never mind that Osama bin Laden still operates the leading anti-American
 terror operation from his base in Afghanistan, from which, among other
 crimes, he launched two bloody attacks on American embassies in Africa in

 Sadly, the Bush administration is cozying up to the Taliban regime at a
 time when the United Nations, at U.S. insistence, imposes sanctions on
 Afghanistan because the Kabul government will not turn over Bin Laden.

 The war on drugs has become our own fanatics' obsession and easily trumps
 all other concerns. How else could we come to reward the Taliban, who has
 subjected the female half of the Afghan population to a continual reign of
 terror in a country once considered enlightened in its treatment of women?

 At no point in modern history have women and girls been more systematically
 abused than in Afghanistan where, in the name of madness masquerading as
 Islam, the government in Kabul obliterates their fundamental human rights.
 Women may not appear in public without being covered from head to toe with
 the oppressive shroud called the burkha , and they may not leave the house
 without being accompanied by a male family member. They've not been
 permitted to attend school or be treated by male doctors, yet women have
 been banned from practicing medicine or any profession for that matter.

 The lot of males is better if they blindly accept the laws of an extreme
 religious theocracy that prescribes strict rules governing all behavior,
 from a ban on shaving to what crops may be grown. It is this last power
 that has captured the enthusiasm of the Bush White House.

 The Taliban fanatics, economically and diplomatically isolated, are at the
 breaking point, and so, in return for a pittance of legitimacy and cash
 from the Bush administration, they have been willing to appear to reverse
 themselves on the growing of opium. That a totalitarian country can
 effectively crack down on its farmers is not surprising. But it is
 grotesque for a U.S. official, James P. Callahan, director of the State
 Department's Asian anti-drug program, to describe the Taliban's special
 methods in the language of representative democracy: "The Taliban used a
 system of consensus-building," Callahan said after a visit with the
 Taliban, adding that the Taliban justified the ban on drugs "in very
 religious terms."

 Of course, Callahan also reported, those who didn't obey the theocratic
 edict would be sent to prison.

 In a country where those who break minor rules are simply beaten on the
 spot by religious police and others are stoned to death, it's
 understandable that the government's "religious" argument might be
 compelling. Even if it means, as Callahan concedes, that most of the
 farmers who grew the poppies will now confront starvation. That's because
 the Afghan economy has been ruined by the religious extremism of the
 Taliban, making the attraction of opium as a previously tolerated quick
 cash crop overwhelming.

 For that reason, the opium ban will not last unless the U.S. is willing to
 pour far larger amounts of money into underwriting the Afghan economy.

 As the Drug Enforcement Administration's Steven Casteel admitted, "The bad
 side of the ban is that it's bringing their country--or certain regions of
 their country--to economic ruin." Nor did he hold out much hope for Afghan
 farmers growing other crops such as wheat, which require a vast
 infrastructure to supply water and fertilizer that no longer exists in that
 devastated country. There's little doubt that the Taliban will turn once
 again to the easily taxed cash crop of opium in order to stay in power.

 The Taliban may suddenly be the dream regime of our own war drug war
 zealots, but in the end this alliance will prove a costly failure. Our long
 sad history of signing up dictators in the war on drugs demonstrates the
 futility of building a foreign policy on a domestic obsession.

 Robert Scheer Is a Syndicated Columnist.

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list