At a March 30 Pentagon briefing, spokesman Geoff Morrell answered a journalist's question about whether "the U.S. military, in particular, should get more involved in countering the drug threat" in Afghanistan, by stating for the record: "Overall counter-narcotics efforts... it's not a focus of our efforts. It is not a priority."
Morrell then tried to justify the Obama administration's British-instigated refusal to eradicate the opium crop, by saying that the U.S. policy was instead to "provide alternative means of... sustaining oneself, alternative crops, alternative businesses. There has been some success on that front."
On March 1, Assistant Secretary of State David Johnson issued similar lies, saying "we've reshaped our assistance programs... to move away from a focus on eradication... and focus more on an interdiction and institution-building effort." He said that "some very strong efforts have been taken by the Afghans themselves... [with] alternative livelihoods, economic support for the area."
The facts, however, according to the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (UNODC), are that less than one-third of opium and cannabis farmers in Afghanistan gets any kind of government or international aid for legitimate crops; whereas 50-60% admit to getting funds, seeds, fertilizer, and other inputs from the drug lords—so the real percentage is undoubtedly far higher. Alternative crops? Although the price paid for Afghan farm-gate opium dropped by 6% in 2009, the price of wheat fell by 43%, rice by 8%, and corn by 38%.
As for the great "success" of interdiction and drug seizures, the State Department's annual INCSR reports that, as opium production rose from 3,600 metric tons in 2003, to 6,900 metric tons in 2009, total seizures averaged a grandiose... 1.4% of the total!
But this is not a policy failure. It is a policy success—for the British Opium War policy embraced fully by the Obama regime, and which is killing the population of the United States, and of other nations such as Russia.