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How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower: America’s Opium War in Afghanistan


How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower: America’s Opium War in Afghanistan

Alfred W. McCoy

After fighting the longest war in its history, the United States stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How can this be possible?


Whack-a-mole empire = job security for the MIC.

Industrial warfare against rural populations does not work, as the country (should have) learned in Viet Nam.


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The primary reason poppies, like marijuana, are grown in commercial quantities is they are profitable. If they were legal and cheap, the cartels and guerrillas would be out of business. No one is going to grow them for fun on that scale. Any bank that launders those profits better beware! DOJ will give them a stern reprimand and ,likely, a substantial fine. Alas.


If the USA were not so rigidly prosecuting the "War Against Drugs," the poppy crop in Afghanistan would not be a problem. The idea that the state should regulate what substances people take, as if we were all children and incapable of taking care of ourselves, was proven to be a really bad idea when we prohibited alcohol and wound up with gangsters and lots of crime. We reversed that Constitutional Amendment in 1920 but then outlawed various drugs. The listing of marijuana as a drug as dangerous as heroin was simply federal Jim Crow, because at the time marijuana was mostly used by African American musicians.

Everyone knows that if you make something forbidden, young people especially want it. If we were behaving like rational adults, we would end the so-called war and legalize marijuana, opium, cocaine and other drugs. Overnight the cartels would be out of business. Drugs could be standardized and distributed at clinics, and education about the downside of drug use would probably be as successful as the anti-smoking campaigns have been.

Given all of what we already know, I cannot figure out why the author does not even mention legalizing opium as an option. Using the military money to re-establish farming resources is a good idea, but it would take much longer to put into effect than legalizing the drugs that make the poppy economy work. While the poppy crop might not sell for as much, the costs of raising an illegal crop would drop dramatically.

It is long past time for the USA to legalize drugs within and to stop trying to control the whole world by requiring every country to follow our drug prohibition laws.


True, but if you are profiteering from the war racket, industrial warfare against rural populations does work. It worked in Vietnam as well as Afghanistan. As long as the trillions of $ in the con of war profits keep rolling in; why would you care if industrial warfare against rural populations worked ..or not?


" After fighting the longest (illegal) war its history, the US stands on the brink of defeat. How is this possible?"

Answer: the US has spent more than a trillion $ on military operations in Afghanistan and a 100 billion $ or more on "nation building".

It is not about winning or losing; it is about the $$$$$$! If you were a war profiteer you could care less about defeat, because you always win! Even though 2,200 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan and untold numbers of innocent Afghan people they have no conscience and are insouciant. The death of American soldiers is irrelevant despite their flag waving hypocrisy, war profits is their only raison d' etre. In other words, they could care less!