What we do to our allies
I'm not going to get into the specifics of if it's a good idea to spray poppy fields in Afghanistan. The ill effects are pretty stark.
Although farmers had noticed a white powder on their crops, they cut grass and clover for their animals and picked spinach to eat anyway. Within hours the animals were severely ill, people here said, and the villagers complained of fevers, skin rashes and bloody diarrhea. The children were particularly affected. A week later, the crops - wheat, vegetables and poppies - were dying, and a dozen dead animals, including newborn lambs, lay tossed in a heap.But don't we owe it to our supposed allies to at least, um, tell them what we're doing in their country?
At that time, President Hamid Karzai publicly condemned the spraying. Though it was never clear who was responsible, members of his staff said they suspected the United States or Britain, which together have been leading the struggle to rein in Afghan poppy cultivation, which has reached record levels. Both countries finance outside security firms to train Afghan counternarcotics forces.But remember, we control the sky. People saw the planes in the sky. They saw chemicals on the crops. Who else could do anything like this?
President Karzai said his government was not spraying fields and had no knowledge of such activity, and he called in the American and British ambassadors for an explanation. Then, as now, the American and British Embassies denied any involvement.