Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Liberal Media Changes Its Story on the Taliban and Drugs

Around the start of the Afghan campaign in the War on Terrorism, the liberal media gave some credit to the Taliban for its anti-opium policies. A few years after the overthrow of the Taliban, the establishment of a representative parliamentary democracy in Afghanistan and relative peace, the media had to search for something negative to report about President George W. Bush’s “good war:” it found it in a report that Afghanistan was the largest source of heroin (which is refined from opium) in the world. The media treated this report as big news that suggested that the removal of the terrorist-sponsoring Taliban from power was not as beneficial to the United States as popularly believed, even though Afghanistan has long been the largest source of heroin in the world regardless of who held power in Kabul, the Afghan capital. There was some suggestion from the media and other critics of the U.S. effort in the Afghan War that the United States had not focused sufficiently on the drug problem. But the media focus on Afghanistan’s production of opium at least was consistent in its sympathy for the Taliban on this particular topic.

Now that the Taliban has been resurgent, however, the media blames the Taliban’s resurgence as the reason for Afghanistan’s opium problem, citing opium as a major source of funding for the militant Islamist group. It also observes that now that the United States has focused on the drug problem in Afghanistan, its eradication of the poppy crops that yield opium has been beneficial to the Taliban because it angers poor farmers who then turn against the U.S. and its Afghan allies and join with the Taliban. In other words, the Taliban at least were against opium, according to the media, and their overthrow permitted poppy production, yet the failure of the U.S. to defeat the Taliban is the reason that opium is supposedly resurgent. According to the liberal media, the U.S. can do nothing right in Afghanistan no matter what it does.

The media was wrong to credit the Taliban for its anti-opium policies, as the Taliban's current practice of encouraging opium production has proven. Drug eradication efforts have worked elsewhere, but the Obama Administration is abandoning them in Afghanistan in favor of subsidizing Afghan farmers to produce other crops, even though both eradication and subsidization would work better together than alone.

In short, the subject of the Taliban and drugs is another example of the liberal tendency to blame America first for every ill in the world.

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