Friday, June 03, 2011

Looking for a few good farmers

From USA Today:

Farm training helps Marines work with Afghanistan's farmers
... On Monday, about 20 U.S. Marines will arrive at California State University-Fresno for some down-in-the-dirt farm training. They'll spend a week learning how to test soil, assess an irrigation system, check livestock for disease and prune a pomegranate tree.
Members of 23rd Marine Agricultural Division
test experimental "Angry Zeus" weed cutter
The goal of the training is to teach Marines who may have little background in agriculture something about the kind of farming that is the lifeblood of Afghanistan. 
Meanwhile, another Marine group is enrolled in the New School for Social Research's class, Sensitivity Training for Snipers.

Iwo Jima? That was then.



Maria said...

I'm pretty sick about the whole "nation-building thing" myself.

Isn't Afghanistan's number one crop opium poppies?

yih said...

@Maria: Yup, has been for decades. Though from the mid '70s to the mid '80s pot/hashish was also a major crop until US/Mexico production pretty much made it unviable. Opium had two uses from the mid '80s onward, cash and an eager market for dope from bored, homesick Soviet troops. Just like cheap plentiful dope had more than a few coming home from Vietnam as addicts.
There are two reasons Marines are attending 'AG bootcamp'. First, few recruits come from farm backgrounds, to them, food comes from a supermarket. Second, we are attempting the same worthless 'crop substitution' programs in Afghanistan that haven't worked in Central and South America. No food crop can produce nearly the money that the same small plot of poppies can. And Europe has plenty of customers with plenty of cash for the smack that those poppies will eventually be.

Anonymous said...

Opium had two uses from the mid '80s onward, cash and an eager market for dope from bored, homesick Soviet troops.

It's good to know that physical pain is no longer an issue for the human race, so we can toss out all those stockpiles of morphine.

The most effective painkiller on the planet is heroin.

yih said...

@Van Wijik: Point taken, but mine was the vast majority US forces in Vietnam and Soviets in Afghanistan were doing it to get high not for pain relief.
Actually, heroin was the most effective but Fentanyl surpassed it long ago.

Maria said...

Western countries should just buy the dope and store it somewhere in a Fort Knox-type complex for dope. Then every year, have a huge ritual dope-burning bonfire.

I'm a big fan of just buying our way out of trouble when we can.