Friday, November 15, 2013

Unintended consequences - in Flanders fields?

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The cultivation of opium poppy in Afghanistan—a nation under the military control of US and NATO forces for more than twelve years—has risen to an all-time high, according to the 2013 Afghanistan Opium Survey released Wednesday by the United Nations.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Though the opium industry is well known to help fuel the insurgency against US and NATO military forces, most opium farmers in Afghanistan continue to say that it is simply the only way they can make a living. Meanwhile, despite having spent billions on eradication efforts in the country, the U.S. military has allowed poppy cultivation to continue in order to appease farmers and government officials involved with the drug trade who might otherwise turn against the Afghan Karzai government in Kabul. Fueling both sides, in fact, the opium and heroin industry is both a product of the war and an essential source for continued conflict.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

(Wikipedia, Common Dreams)
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