Thursday, 16 July 2009

Palaver, Poppycock, and Poppy Crop

I see that a Priestwood soldier who served in Afghanistan has backed the Government’s decision to keep troops there after 15 men died in 10 days.
TA soldier David McMullan said “There are a number of reasons we’re out there. “Afghanistan produces more than 90 per cent of the heroin in the UK and if you look at the impact that has on crime in the UK - that’s something worth fighting for.
"I don’t think anyone should have to live under a rule like the Taliban [Muslim fundamentalists and former ruling party of Afghanistan]. Having spent some time out there, and having seen the difference in the Afghan nationals when they see changes working for them, I think it is a fight worth fighting."

It was interesting to read this following Boris Johnson's column in the Telegraph.

He says that at direct UK government urgings, there are large tracts of land that are given over to the cultivation of the palaver somniferum (Opium Poppy) , for the very good reason that the opium is essential for the NHS. Why are we paying our farmers to grow poppies in Oxfordshire, and paying our soldiers to destroy them in Afghanistan? Be in no doubt that what British troops are doing in Helmand is heroic, and it is very far from futile. If Nato forces pulled out, the Taliban would probably overrun Kabul in three weeks, with catastrophic consequences for Pakistan and for global stability
Why not Let us help the Afghans to obtain what legal value they can from their poppies?
As long as heroin is illegal in most jurisdictions (for the foreseeable future, that is), the price of illegal opium will probably be higher than the legal crop, and the drugs barons will not be entirely undermined. But we should at least try an option that offers the world cheaper pain relief.

Boris also says that we could dwell on how poppies have symbolised the sacrifice of soldiers.

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