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AFGHANISTAN HAS BECOME AN UNCONTROLLED DRUG STATE

A recent newscast showed a few Afghans destroying poppy plants with sticks, of all things. It was almost laughable since there are thousands, if not millions, of hectares devoted to growing poppies. It has been over two years since Col. Tommy Franks claimed the war was "won" and that Afghans would start growing vegetables. But the war is still going on, and Afghanistan is now an uncontrolled drug state.

Instead of vegetables, poppy growing has increased dramatically. Production of opium has risen from 700 metric tons annually when the Taliban ruled to 3,000 metric tons just two years later. Half of that opium passes through Pakistan, President Bush's bought-and-paid-for ally in the war on terrorism, on its way to the United States.

Very little information has been reported by the media as to the latest figures. They only say that production is at record levels. The disastrous, devastating effects of drug wars and crimes happening here are covered by the steady drumbeat of propaganda from the White House, which says everything is coming up roses. The media fall in line reporting the same, especially about Iraq. All have lost their guts to print or say what is really going on, cowering under Bush's dictum, "you're either with us or you're against us."

John Cappelletti

Olean