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Intro: "This is a transcript of a conversation between members of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and Noam Chomsky, which took place on September 21, 2011. Each question was asked in Dari and translated by Hakim."

Noam Chomsky, receiving the Sydney Peace Prize. (photo: Ben Rusk/flickr)
Noam Chomsky, receiving the Sydney Peace Prize. (photo: Ben Rusk/flickr)

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+25 # BradFromSalem 2012-01-04 10:31
It is so very refreshing to read the views of someone like Noam Chomsky. He objectively assesses the situation, recognizes the primacy of "home rule" and without prejudice talk about it all. Most telling for me was the concept that Afghanistan is currently forced into a choice of the least of the bad options.

I cannot claim to know that answer, but it would seem that any path that best leads to creating good options is best. I am sure the problem is that may also be one of the worst options for the immediate future.

In the meantime, the US is faced with figuring out how to break our own addiction to maintaining a military base wherever we can. The addiction is fueled by the Military Industrial Complex cartel; a far worse danger than any group of crazy Mexican drug dealers.
+24 # colvictoria 2012-01-04 11:02
It is so inspiring to know that there are Afghan youth fighting for hope, peace and a better future for themselves and their country.
Interesting to hear them talk about choosing the least bad option. This is very similar to what we are dealing with here in the US with the 2012 election. Obama is the lesser of two evils but for Afghanistan another 4 years of Obama means continuing war and exploiting the regions resources which includes opium.
It is a fact that the US military is cashing in on the drug trade.
Chomsky is right not only do the Afghan people need to mobilize more popular movements but we need to continue the OWS here in the US.
+16 # reiverpacific 2012-01-04 12:42
The overriding tragedy of all this is that the "average" sound-byte addicted American amnesiac has never heard of Chomsky.
He is the opposite of what they get on the flickering screen or Clearchannel radio, in his depth and sharing of knowledge.
He is a bit on the dry side if you go to one of his talks (but with a wry sense of humor poking through occasionally) mainly because his presentations are so hugely fact-rich, based on deep knowledge and research over the years.
The same goes for most other progressive "thinkers and speakers" like Howard Zinn, Arundhati Roy, Michael Parenti (my three personal favorites), Helen Caldicott, Chalmers Johnson and even Amy Goodman -so many others but when did you last see any of them on the big owner-media???
The advent of the Afghan Youth is the living proof that nations will eventually work to free themselves from tyranny without invasion and occupation of war and resource mongering Empires, which will also decline and topple under their own rapacious weight; this hopefully includes Iran (but I despair of Israel!).
+15 # jwb110 2012-01-04 12:59
If the violence and collateral dammage were financial and not human the US would have been out of there long ago.
If the Middle East wants the West out of its nations then they have to make the damage financial, non-ideological , and permanent. If they were to start exporting cheap non-oil based energy this would all go away.
+8 # handmjones 2012-01-04 15:28
The Najibulla government with the help of the USSR made the best attempt at modernizing Afghanistan including women advancing in medicine and politics. When they tried to extend their rule to the country outside Kabul the US armed the Mujahidene and Afghanistan went back into the dark ages with the Warlords in power and fighting among themselves. Pakistan sent in the Taliban to restore order which they did with a strict extremist rule. Still it was peaceful by comparison with anything the US can now offer. This time when the US leaves, the puppet will be killed and the Warlords and the Taliban will be fighting for supremacy for years. Poor Afghanistan!
+6 # AlexBrown 2012-01-04 15:52
Thanks for posting this. Afghanistan is both fortunate and unfortunate in having little of the energy resources of lands around it. What it has is opium. If Afghans can control ther dependence on opium poppy cultivation within a civil justice system, without the brutality of the Taleban's 2001 edicts ( they will be able to do anything they want with their beautiful land, and tell us and other foreigners to leave.
+6 # RMDC 2012-01-04 18:52
Alex -- your time scheme is a little off in the history of opium/heroin production. Poppies for opium and heroin were not grown in Afghanistan until the early 80s when the CIA brought them there.

From the mid-1800s to the mid 1900s, most opium/heroin was produced in China under the force of the British military. China fought two wars over opium production -- China wanting to stop it and the UK forcing them to continue. When Mao took control in 1948, he stopped heroin production cold. The British empire was also dead so the heroin trade passed to the US military and CIA, which moved into SE Asia for production -- Burma, Laos, and Vietnam. One reason the US stayed in the Vietnam war so long was its heroin trade. But the US was thrown out of Vietnam in 1975 and was desperate for another place where it could grow poppies. Afghanistan was selected in the late 70s.

The opium/heroin trade has always been the exclusive business of world militaries.

Don't you think it is kind of funny that the US and NATO say that they've spent something like $12 billion trying to eradicate heroin production in Afghanistan and yet the production numbers just keep going up.

The Taliban did nearly eliminate the heroin production in the late 1990s, and that was one major reason why they became enemy #1. The US was supposed to be going after bin Laden but soon bin Laden was forgotten and the Taliban became the enemy and the poppies flourished again.
+2 # disgusted American 2012-01-12 00:26
I read a few years ago when Bush and Cheney were in that Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Haliburton, was involved in the poppy/drug business in Afghanistan.

This appears to fit more or less with your last statement about the US turning the Taliban into the enemy and the poppies flourishing once again.

Read Confessions of An Economic Hitman by John Perkins if you want the lowdown on what America, the World Bank, oil and gas companies and Haliburton and its subsidiaries do in other countries. But, in Saudi Arabia, it went a bit differently than the usual fleecing. Standard Fruit, School of the Americas and Panama Canal are covered also.

It's a must-read! You can probably ask your public library to get it for you.
+3 # pro 2012-01-04 20:26

Thank you for putting the facts straight on the military connection to the drug trade. This is such an important and little known fact to most.
0 # paxuniversalis 2012-01-11 01:41
have the Chinese taken over....? I get a forbidden message in trying to access this article.

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