I recently read an article, in National Geographic or Smithsonian. about our troops who are going through Afghanistan destroying poppy fields. The opium is being sold on the black market and helping to fund the Taliban, apparently.
US drug and food companies use poppies for legitimate reasons. Vicodin, Lortab, poppy seed bagels, etc… Somebody’s got to grow those poppies, why not let the Afghans grow them, and sell to legitimate companies? We’re not going to be there forever, and people there are going to need to be able to earn money. As far as the money going to the Taliban, the same could happen with any source of income; if the people go back to growing grapes or melons or whatever, the Taliban could get its hands on that money too.
I just have these pictures in my head of some powerful poppy farmers and their lobbyists, sitting around laughing about how they’ve convinced the US to send its military to the other side of the world to destroy their competition’s crops.