Opiate painkilling drugs are in critically short supply across the developing world. So why doesn't the USA just buy the Afghan poppy harvest, process it into painkilling meds, and distribute them to poor countries?
Not only is this one of the best anti-war on drugs proposals I've ever heard, it's actually one of the best ideas concerning the conflict in Afghanistan I've ever heard (and that includes anything Barack Obama or anyone else has ever said about that country).
1. This would cut off the Taliban's chief source of funding.
2. It would put the average Afghan farmer on the side of the US-supported government instead of the Taliban.
3. It would play to our strength -- money. The Taliban has more local knowledge, more time, more patience, more willingess to shed innocent blood. But we have more money. They might be able to outfight us, out-corrupt us, or out-terrorize us, but they can't outbid us.
4. It would put the US on record as alleviating suffering all over the world.
5. By fighting the Taliban with dollars instead of (as many) soldiers, we'd suffer a lot fewer killed and maimed Americans.
6. It might even be cheaper. Soldiers, tanks, planes, humvees, night vision goggles, bullets, Predator drones, etc. are really, really, expensive.