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Opium, Rape and the American Way

Posted on Nov 2, 2009
AP / Musadeq Sadeq

Afghan President Hamid Karzai shares a whisper with U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at a news conference in Kabul last month.

By Chris Hedges

The warlords we champion in Afghanistan are as venal, as opposed to the rights of women and basic democratic freedoms, and as heavily involved in opium trafficking as the Taliban. The moral lines we draw between us and our adversaries are fictional. The uplifting narratives used to justify the war in Afghanistan are pathetic attempts to redeem acts of senseless brutality. War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. War always empowers those who have a penchant for violence and access to weapons. War turns the moral order upside down and abolishes all discussions of human rights. War banishes the just and the decent to the margins of society. And the weapons of war do not separate the innocent and the damned. An aerial drone is our version of an improvised explosive device. An iron fragmentation bomb is our answer to a suicide bomb. A burst from a belt-fed machine gun causes the same terror and bloodshed among civilians no matter who pulls the trigger. 

“We need to tear the mask off of the fundamentalist warlords who after the tragedy of 9/11 replaced the Taliban,” Malalai Joya, who was expelled from the Afghan parliament two years ago for denouncing government corruption and the Western occupation, told me during her visit to New York last week. “They used the mask of democracy to take power. They continue this deception. These warlords are mentally the same as the Taliban. The only change is physical. These warlords during the civil war in Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996 killed 65,000 innocent people. They have committed human rights violations, like the Taliban, against women and many others.” 

“In eight years less than 2,000 Talib have been killed and more than 8,000 innocent civilians has been killed,” she went on. “We believe that this is not war on terror. This is war on innocent civilians. Look at the massacres carried out by NATO forces in Afghanistan. Look what they did in May in the Farah province, where more than 150 civilians were killed, most of them women and children. They used white phosphorus and cluster bombs. There were 200 civilians on 9th of September killed in the Kunduz province, again most of them women and children. You can see the Web site of professor Marc Herold, this democratic man, to know better the war crimes in Afghanistan imposed on our people. The United States and NATO eight years ago occupied my country under the banner of woman’s rights and democracy. But they have only pushed us from the frying pan into the fire. They put into power men who are photocopies of the Taliban.”

Afghanistan’s boom in the trade in opium, used to produce heroin, over the past eight years of occupation has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to the Taliban, al-Qaida, local warlords, criminal gangs, kidnappers, private armies, drug traffickers and many of the senior figures in the government of Hamid Karzai. The New York Times reported that the brother of President Karzai, Ahmed Wali Karzai, has been collecting money from the CIA although he is a major player in the illegal opium business. Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium in a trade that is worth some $65 billion, the United Nations estimates. This opium feeds some 15 million addicts worldwide and kills around 100,000 people annually. These fatalities should be added to the rolls of war dead.

Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said that the drug trade has permitted the Taliban to thrive and expand despite the presence of 100,000 NATO troops.

“The Taliban’s direct involvement in the opium trade allows them to fund a war machine that is becoming technologically more complex and increasingly widespread,” said Costa.

The UNODC estimates the Taliban earned $90 million to $160 million a year from taxing the production and smuggling of opium and heroin between 2005 and 2009, as much as double the amount it earned annually while it was in power nearly a decade ago. And Costa described the Afghan-Pakistani border as “the world’s largest free trade zone in anything and everything that is illicit,” an area blighted by drugs, weapons and illegal immigration. The “perfect storm of drugs and terrorism” may be on the move along drug trafficking routes through Central Asia, he warned. Profits made from opium are being pumped into militant groups in Central Asia and “a big part of the region could be engulfed in large-scale terrorism, endangering its massive energy resources,” Costa said. 

“Afghanistan, after eight years of occupation, has become a world center for drugs,” Joya told me. “The drug lords are the only ones with power. How can you expect these people to stop the planting of opium and halt the drug trade? How is it that the Taliban when they were in power destroyed the opium production and a superpower not only cannot destroy the opium production but allows it to increase? And while all this goes on, those who support the war talk to you about women’s rights. We do not have human rights now in most provinces. It is as easy to kill a woman in my country as it is to kill a bird. In some big cities like Kabul, some women have access to jobs and education, but in most of the country the situation for women is hell. Rape, kidnapping and domestic violence are increasing. These fundamentalists during the so-called free elections made a misogynist law against Shia women in Afghanistan. This law has even been signed by Hamid Karzai. All these crimes are happening under the name of democracy.”


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By Inherit The Wind, November 3, 2009 at 4:44 am Link to this comment

ardee, November 3 at 8:06 am #

Inherit The Wind, November 2 at 10:59 pm

One doesn’t see Hedges argument revolving solely around the condition of women’s rights as noted in this article. One quibble among a multitude of accurate observances seems a reach.

It is typical of Hedges to build an argument on false premises. It is my ongoing criticism of him.  He starts with the assertion that the Taliban is no different in its actions than the other groups, and he specifically cites the treatment of women.  This assertion is blatantly and obviously false and IN AND OF ITSELF disproves his contention that there is “no difference”.

I don’t care what Hedges motives are—he is intellectually dishonest and consistently so because he uses, as “facts”, easily disprovable contentions, and he does it again and again.  I’m sure to the girls who can go to school again, it’s not a “quibble”.

Hedges has an agenda, just like Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck or Sean Hannity, and he’ll bend facts to fit it, just like they will.

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By ardee, November 3, 2009 at 4:06 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, November 2 at 10:59 pm

One doesn’t see Hedges argument revolving solely around the condition of women’s rights as noted in this article. One quibble among a multitude of accurate observances seems a reach.

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By liecatcher, November 3, 2009 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

November 2, 2009 Opium, Rape and the American Way

By Chris Hedges

This is such a perfect title for an excellent article
about what is really

going on & what America has become, once

now than

ever before, and the opium wars facilitated Britain’s
imperial goals. Her

colony has pursued empire building with over a
thousand military bases

worldwide & growing. The use of drugs to narcotize
populations &

finance expansion has worked for centuries &
continues today.

The CIA is to drugs what McDonalds is to hamburgers.
Some folks

who have eaten McDonald’s fries insist that they
contain addictive

chemicals. Not surprising when you consider that most
food sold in

the U.S. contains “natural flavors” & America is the
obesity capital of

the world. Drug addiction & control of the financial
system have enslaved


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By stopthewar, November 3, 2009 at 1:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How can woman’s rights be ever observed when children are dying like this

According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report, Afghanistan has the fourth worst record in under five child mortality, the infant mortality rate being 152 per 1,000 live births. More than a quarter of a million children under five die each year, many more than those caught in armed conflict or killed by mines.

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By Rodrigo Riadi, November 2, 2009 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My understanding is that the Taliban had banned most opium production in Afghanistan before the US invasion in 2001, and only thereafter has it resumed obtaining funding from that trade.  This may be a significant aspect of the situation that I don’t believe is given credit in this otherwise good article.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 2, 2009 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

So it has finally occurred to some that the intervention in Afghanistan was all about opium control and the CIA. Junkies were saying this 5 years ago, but who pays any attention to junkies?
As the deceased Hunter Thompson once said: “You are not paranoid. They really are after you.”

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By Folktruther, November 2, 2009 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

You’re abosolutely right, TAO,  there is a disconnect bwtween the American people and the American plutocracy, more so than all people and their class-based power systems.  It is Western Civilization that is going down the toilet, and the US is the leader of the West.

  It takes a while for people to realize it, but I hope not too long.  Obama is turning out to be a real disaster.

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By TAO Walker, November 2, 2009 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is by trade a reporter.  His working assumption here is that he provides the information, and his readers among theamericanpeople use it to exercise their civic responsibilities to change the direction of U.S. behavior abroad which is in contravention of their “values.” 

What he is so far perhaps unable to see is the complete disconnect that exists between the apparatus of the corporate security state and those “....huddled masses” who are compelled to pay for its privateering operations whether they wish it or not.  There is NO functioning “democracy” here.  The ‘rule’ is fear, and its ultimate enforcers are members of the plutoligarchy.

It is “civilization” stripped finally of all its ‘historic’ pretensions to decency….those being, here in these latter days, neither necessary nor any longer ‘cost-effective.’  There will be no “voting” this CONtraption away.  Guns and money won’t rid the domesticated peoples of its depredations, either.

The Tiyoshpaye Way will….you can stake your lives on it.


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By Inherit The Wind, November 2, 2009 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

What I detest about Chris Hedges is that right in his first paragraph he makes a totally false statement and then builds his argument on it.

Hedges claims Karzai and the warlords are just as suppressive of women as the Taliban. This is clearly and patently false.  Women can go to school without being beaten, and they don’t have to walk around the streets looking like a blue traffic cones anymore.

I’m sure there are a thousand ways women are suppressed under the non- and anti-Taliban factions, but in two SIGNFICANT ways they are clearly better off.

Hedges capacity as a thinker is far more limited than he would like to think.

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By rollzone, November 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

hello. now just a minute. if i can call ACORN and get some heroin-ed-up women to come over and rape me… for $5….whom does not know the CIA is heavily trafficking heroin through the DEA for money? is any one of us still that ignorant? it’s war, be happy, make a few millions and get on with your life. they have places to take you if you upset the money cart. do not discuss legalising heroin. all of America would have a tube tied around their arm. heroin, cocaine, the CIA, the DEA; be happy.

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By diamond, November 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Further to the ‘American Way”:

September 11th, 1998: Kenneth Starr, nephew of AIG founder C.V. Starr, sends his infamous report on Bill Clinton to Congress.

A CEO, who falsified his CV and was brought in to “clean up” a company called Legato’s accounting,  signed his company correspondence with “Let’s Roll”, the phrase allegedly made famous by Todd Beamer on Flight 93. Coincidentally, Todd Beamer’s Father was the Chief Financial Officer at Legato, working directly for the CEO who signs his correspondence “Let’s Roll.” And even more mysteriously, Todd’s boss at Oracle, the computer company where he worked, had talked about Todd’s heroics on the plane on the Thursday, before anyone else knew about it.

It is indeed the crime of the century and I don’t think (or hope) it will be surpassed throughout the 21st century for sheer guile and wickedness. They’ve out-Orwelled Orwell with their Big Brother coup.

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By P. T., November 2, 2009 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Afghanistan brings to mind Vietnam:  the U.S. trying to prop up a government the local population regards as illegitimate.

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By felicity, November 2, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

diamond - specifically, following a bombing in Afghanistan that killed 4,000 Afghans, Taliban leaders offered Bush to turn over Bin Laden to a neutral nation.  Bush refused labelling the offer “insincere.”

We need to remember that America was run for eight years by a power-drunk, a torturing autocrat.  Not only did he need to assuage his sense of powerlessness by not accepting an end to a problem that didn’t come from the barrel of a smoking gun, he ditched any and all international agreements which, he thought, would weaken his (fragile) image on the world stage.

(To wit:  he ‘ditched’ Kyoto, {the} Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty, Germ Warfare Protocol, Biological Weapons Convention, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, International Criminal Court, Land Mine Treaty.)

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By mikel paul, November 2, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Sadly, we allow this to go on with our armchair acceptance of this centuries old charade. Three American presidents who had the cahones to play hardball with the bankers were each taken out. The IMF has its bulleye on the US now by way of the UN. The bankers fund it all, we watch. Carlin was correct. “They got a club, and we ain’t in it.”

Love yourself, your family and each other.

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By diamond, November 2, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Go right young man, the Taliban offered to turn bin laden over to the US if the US could produce one shred of evidence that he had anything to do with the 9/11 atttacks. America ignored the offer and you know why- because they don’t have a shred of evidence that he was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Something Muller, the head of the FBI, admitted repeatedly. Not only do they have no evidence that bin Laden was involved they also have no evidence that any of the so called hijackers were involved. Muller admitted that too. If you want some food for thought watch the report by Mark Bernbach to the Fox News desk on 9/11 from the site of the WTC after watching the second plane fly over his head.  He says ‘It had a blue logo on it. ... and it was definitely not a commerical plane. I couldn’t see any windows on the side.’  Since Fox are not known for their liberal views I hardly think Bernbach was part of some left wing plot. He wasn’t the only eyewitness who said this either. The stink of a coup surrounding 9/11 just won’t go away. I realize how comforting it is to believe it was those foreign devils wot done it but the truth is a lot more shocking than this simple black and white tale of good versus evil. The fault lies not in our stars Horatius but in ourselves.

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By prole, November 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

“This opium feeds some 15 million addicts worldwide and kills around 100,000 people annually… the drug trade has permitted the Taliban to thrive and expand despite the presence of 100,000 NATO troops.” So, 100,000 killed…100,000 troops…hmmm…then maybe “feed” the opium to NATO and wipe out the troops and the drug trade in one fell swoop?

If it’s true as “Costa described the Afghan-Pakistani border as ‘the world’s largest free trade zone in anything and everything that is illicit,’ an area blighted by drugs, weapons and illegal immigration.”…then it’s also reminiscent of the U.S-Mexico border, which is not far behind in being similarly “blighted” by the same escalating problems. What Costa also observed in discussing the UNODC findings is that, “We need a much greater effort and commitment by governments to prevent drug addiction, to take care of drug addicts ... to reduce demand”. The report estimates that approximately 10,000 people actually die of drug overdoses in NATO countries annually, a small percentage of the total attributed to the ‘illicit’ drug trade overall, and far fewer than die in traffic accidents every year. America’s phony war on drugs serves many useful purposes for the ruling class. It provides a suitable pretext for waging war on subversives abroad from Latin America to the Asia, that threaten their world order; and it provides a parallel pretext for waging war on the underclass at home.  Until narcotics production and consumption is de-criminalized with all the legal revenue and rehabilitation benefits that flow from that, these doomed policies will continue to be repeated – or misused to conceal ulterior motives. Matthew Hoh is to be commended for his principled resignation but his assertion that, “Karzi is a president whose confidants and chief advisers comprise drug lords and war crimes villains who mock our own rule of law and counter-narcotics effort” has more than a trace of unconscious irony to it. War crimes’ villains are certainly not unknown among the confidants and close advisers of American presidents, past or present, either. As for mocking “our own rule of law”, that requires no further mocking. Costa hints at the real reason for the great outpouring of concern and consternation by the big powers over the illicit drugs trade in his further comment that, “A big part of the region could be engulfed in large-scale terrorism, endangering its massive energy resources”. Nothing puts Amerika’s ‘warlords’ on edge more than endangering their access to and control of other nations’ resources. What’s the lives of a few indigent American junkies or Afghan peasants compared to that inestimable prize?

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By melpol, November 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Speculators in Afghanistan have been hoarding thousands of tons of Heroin and
storing it in caves.  Their stash is estimated to be worth 500 billion in retail value.
They are patiently waiting for the birth of a million new addicts in India and China
The Heroin hidden in caves will then double in value and the poppy farmers will
become wealthy.

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By bogi666, November 2, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

I made a typographical error in my Nov. 2nd post of 11/2/09. The drug increase in Ecuador or Bolivia, I don’t remember which, was 5% last year not 50% for the nation deemed uncooperative by the USG and received no funding while favored, cooperative Columbia receives $100,000,000’s and its cocoa production increased by 20% last year.

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By sophrosyne, November 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is just a smarter sounding and looking stooge for very dark forces here and abroad.  He would never have been allowed to win otherwise.

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By Spiritgirl, November 2, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

Maybe if the US would de-criminalize drugs, you know make it legal, then there wouldn’t be such a market for it!  Second, maybe if we’d actually get a spine and stop funding the Military-Industrial-Complex all of these “gung-ho yet never served in the military soldiers” would stop “finding” places to start these “wars”!  Third, can we finally admit that going into Afghanistan was never about “getting Bin Laden”(who?), or democracy, or the women of Afghanistan! 

When will Americans stop falling for the banana in the tailpipe?  America isn’t really a democracy or a true representative republic - it’s become “Democracy by the OLIGARCHY aka “Benevolent Dictatorship”” and the sooner ALL AMERICANS recognize that fact, the quicker that those same Americans can start taking their nation back from the Oligarchs that they’ve allowed to control it!

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By felicity, November 2, 2009 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

In case you missed it, Joya is reminding us that, historically, Afghanistan has been called “The Graveyard of Empires” and it will be our graveyard also as long as we continue to occupy it.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, November 2, 2009 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

The very nature of the Afghan scum we call our allies insures our inevitable defeat.

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By Hulk2008, November 2, 2009 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Say, how’s that War On Drugs going these days?

Seriously, when there’s some insurmountable problem, politicians declare it as a “war”, knowing full well that it will be super expensive and probably unsolvable. 

Bob Schieffer said yesterday on CBS that “nation building begins at home”.  Sounds pretty darned reasonable to me ...... since NObody has ever accomplished such a thing in Afghanistan anyway.

Problem:  How fast can the current US troops leave without getting hit by the door on the way out?

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By bogi666, November 2, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

The USG and the attendant drug trade that flourishes whenever “war” is involved.In addition to Afghanistan, for instance, cocoa production in Columbia increased 20% last year and the USG lavished $100,000,000’s of millions on its cooperation in combating the “war on drugs”. Ecuador or Bolivia, I don’t remember which, is criticized by the USG for not being cooperative in the “war on drugs” and receives no $. It’s cocoa production increased 50%. Then of course the role played by the CIA with drugs in Indochina and its involvement in Central America drugs as well are well documented. Is their a trend here, the USG involvement with the drug trade by making it flourish? Two proverbs can be applied to the USG protestations against drugs; 1] Shakespeare’s “me thinks dost hast protest too much” and another author unknown 2]“those who yell the loudest have the most to hide”. These two telling proverbs and the USG protesting and yelling while pointing at others about their conduct in the “war on drugs” while it is the USG that is the biggest enabler to illegal drug traders.

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By Go Right Young Man, November 2, 2009 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

I would remind this forum that ardee doesn’t know or understand Afghanistan past his deep and undivided attention to the media world.

I would remind ardee that the media world is not real.

The Taliban offered to release bin Laden…LMAO

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By tropicgirl, November 2, 2009 at 10:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Afghanistan is corrupt? Really?


And as far as being a narco state… Who needs that when you can take over the
banks of the world? Why dirty your hands like the poppy growers when you can
simply join Wall Street, pass into governement and write your own ticket with
the president’s assistance?

And stop please with all this fake concern about women in Afghanistan. If I
hear that one more time I will just combust.

According to the incredibly intelligent Matthew Hoh, who resigned this week
from the spies, The United States, and other outside countries, simply want
Afghanistan to be MODERNIZED. To restructure its government, to restructure
its society, and especially, restructure how it does business… IN ORDER TO
another country’s native culture for the World Bank.

All you have to do is think of the American Indians. Same story, different day.

That is why they go after the cultural distinctions, for example, the laws that
women of that country adhere to. Just like we said about all native cultures.
They are somehow inferior for that reason. Not true.

They don’t want to help them, they want to steal from them and the
Afghanistan people know it.

Their interests are not ours. If we really cared about them we would stop killing
their fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and babies for gods sake.

We don’t.

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By melpol, November 2, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Now that Karzai and his partners are going to keep the profits of the Heroin trade,
he must repay his benefactors.
His next step will be to allow hundreds of thousands of American troops to search
for his enemies. Most of them are poor farmers that are fighting for a chance to
earn a buck. The big winner will be the American arms industry that supplies the

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By djm, November 2, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is Chris Hedges at his best: clear-sighted, truth-telling, prophetic.

The US has a history of propping up corrupt, unpopular regimes.  It attempts
to smoke-screen these interventions—undertaken for geopolitical interests—
and calling them “democratic.”  And, for the most part, the corporate media
propagates the smokescreen.

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By Folktruther, November 2, 2009 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

It is NOT the case, as implied, that the US side is as bad as the Taliban side.  It is worse.  The US is trying to impose minority populations on the majority Pushtans, or rather, the warlordsof minorities.  Just as Saddam ruled with the support of the manority Sunnis in Iraq where the majority were Shiites. 

Only the matter is worse in Afghanistan, since the languages and cultures are different.  It is a highly undemocratic policy to give power to a minority culture to rule a majority.  This was done for centuries historically by imperialism, but the world has moved on.  the US has not, the War on Terrorism being a reaction back to neo-colonialism, torture, drugs, and the culture of barbarism.

Hedges serves a very useful purpose in putting US policy in a moral framework, where all political behavior, like personal behavior, belongs.  The childish myths of religion, and its perverted morality,  has induced us to throw the morality of standards out with the religous power delusions. 

Hedges still retains some of these delusions and perversions, but brings an honest and needed sense of moral and spiritual honor to a power system decaying into barbarism.

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By the tshirt doctor, November 2, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

The Murderous Thugs We are Supporting in Afghanistan—and Why a Heroine Wants Us Out

a little something about Malalai Joya

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By elisalouisa, November 2, 2009 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

Ardee: The goals of our leaders are not the goals that you read in the common
media which are meant to persuade the people as to the worthiness of whatever
the current proposed war is. That is why it seems to you that we never learn from
our mistakes. Our goals are the same in Afghanistan as they were in Iraq. People
in both countries are incidental to those who seek control, after all most are
Muslims and with our drones we convey how our leaders really feel. Control of oil,
other resources and also the people is what these wars are really about.  We
conquer and then forcibly convert the country to our western ways while as the
same time taking their natural resources and also destroying their culture. Oh, and don’t forget installing a few air bases to insure control of that area. Proof of success is when a McDonald’s opens in the capital city. That alway gets in the
local press, thus assuring the American people our intentions were honorable.
That’s how I see it Ardee.

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By Frikken Kids, November 2, 2009 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

Maybe I missed something…if the opium trade is worth $65 billion per year and Afghanistan produces 92% of that then how could the Taliban have earned between $90 and $160 million taxing the trade?

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By johannes, November 2, 2009 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

I can’t understand that you still keep coming with your more or less worthless comments on this misbehavior of the United states, they kill and maim
an whole innocent backwords population, than they plant an corrupt governement, and than the call it an new founded democratie, shame on you and your governement.

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By Ouroborus, November 2, 2009 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

Opium is cool (within limits), rape definitely is not
cool or okay, and the American way? Well, what exactly
does that mean? Which American? Central American; north
American; south American? What/which way? Too ambiguous
for any real meaning. Hedges needs to slow down, post
less, and think more, IMO.

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By melpol, November 2, 2009 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Only a street wise guy like Karzai can keep the economy of Afghanistan
functioning well. Poppies have to be milked and converted to Heroin, It then has
to be exported. This is a time consuming process and must be managed properly.
We can call Karzai the chairman of the Afghanistan Heroin Exchange. He has
earned the title.

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By lizleaf, November 2, 2009 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

Another powerful, educational article by Hedges which I anticipate each Monday. May I share that I was listening to C-Span book talk while driving exactly where this powerful speaker of the truth was removed from the stage ‘03 in Rockport IL.  Keep writing and speaking to us.

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By Spike, November 2, 2009 at 6:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The warlords we champion in Afghanistan are as venal,
as opposed to the rights of women and basic democratic
freedoms, and as heavily involved in opium trafficking
as the members of the U.S. Congress; and, those who
control them though payola.”

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By Spike, November 2, 2009 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The warlords we champion in Afghanistan are as venal, as opposed to the rights of women and basic democratic freedoms, and as heavily involved in opium trafficking as…..the members of the U.S. Congress; and, those who control them though payola.”

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 2, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment


Any overt Israeli presence in a Middle East country automatically makes them and the US the enemy ... period.  Forget any legitimacy to our actions such as the initial thrust into Afghanistan.  Israel is the mortal enemy of all Muslims in the Middle East.  Why tie a massive millstone around our neck by having Israel involved?

As for Hedges stating the obvious, there are many in this country who have to be beat on the head over and over before the point sinks in.  Just read the MSM to see how many argue that we are justified in our war effort.  How many argue that we need more troops because McCrystal says so.  Preaching to the choir is OK as long as it also gets through to the congregation.  We need a counterweight to those who want this disaster to go on.

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By melpol, November 2, 2009 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

I wish writers would stop using the words Opium trade. It has been replaced by
Heroin trade. Opium rarely leaves Afghanistan, it is too bulky and smelly. Heroin
is the main export. Violence in Afpak was once blamed on the communists, but
since the fall of the Soviet empire they no longer exist. The new blame is now on
Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Those with common sense know that the real blame
lies with those that want their share of the goodies. Allah is not at fault, blame it
on Mother Nature.

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By ardee, November 2, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

montanawildhack notwithstanding, people with actual brains who read that article might understand certain elementary facts. I would love to “help you out”, but this place is free for all of us to post.

We seem to repeat our mistakes, again and again, installing puppet govts ,propping them up with military might and vast sums of money, and then feigning surprise when they are seen as corrupt or unjust.

The first such example goes back to 1954 and the CIA sponsored coup that toppled the democratically elected Guzman govt, installing in its place a military dictatorship that tortures, jails, and steals, and continues doing so to this day.

I would remind this forum that, when the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, the opium trade was all but eliminated by them. That it flourishes now is a direct result of two factors; the need for money to fight the US invasion of that nation and the activities of those like the Karsai brothers who seek great wealth at the great expense of their own people and the people of the world who see increased access to heroin.

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By montanawildhack, November 2, 2009 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

OOOooops I’ve done it again…I’ve wasted my time reading another Hedges article….  Not a total waste though…. I did learn that the war in Afghanistan is really really bad and sometimes people die violent deaths….

Hey,,, a quick question….  Hows come Israel has not committed soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan to help us in our glorious fight against evil????  I thought they were our only Real ally in that region????  Help me out people!!!!!

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