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Marines' Mission: Destroying Poppy

Marines who raided a bazaar in a Taliban stronghold in southern Helmand last weekend were left with an unusual problem: What to do with the 4,000 bags of opium poppy and explosives material uncovered during the raid?
First, they tried to burn it, but that failed.
Next, they considered bombing it, but the Air Force declined.
So the Marines hauled the sacks out to the desert and waged an all-out campaign destroy them with their own weaponry. They blasted the pile with fourteen shoulder-fired missiles, lobbed several mortars at it, and finally blew it up with C-4 explosives.
It took a full day, and surely mystified Afghan herdsmen encamped in the area, where there has been no significant presence of Afghan or coalition forces.
Perhaps it counts as target practice.

By Ann Scott Tyson  |  July 22, 2009; 4:13 PM ET
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most boring video ever to feature guys shooting missiles, way to go post!

Posted by: obblehit | July 22, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

In the dead tree version, it doesn't say "the Air Force declined" to bomb these bags of seeds.

It says they dropped "a half-ton bomb" on the pile.

Please try to get the same government propaganda into both the print and web versions, because "covering the spread" doesn't work in journalism. The goal is accuracy, remember.

I will say this about the story. Whether we buy the "all-day, all-out Marine assault" story or the "1000 pound bomb" story, it's a perfect illustration of the futility of the so-called "war on drugs".

The Afghans give thanks for blowing up all those explosives in the middle of their field. The nitrates will serve as excellent fertilizer next growing season.

Posted by: laboo | July 23, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Nothing but a load of smart ass remarks, arrogance and self-serving sanctimony.

Unless you are willing to give up all you have to sit in 120+ heat to fight for what you believe in, you should tone it down.

But I suppose you think the marines should check for fingerprints, canvass the neighborhood, read the suspects their rights, give them lawyers and when they are acquitted in our judicial system, send them back to the province where they can go back to blowing up US Marines and providing the drugs that will destroy the lives of millions of people in the world.

I just hope to God the Taliban buddies of your who are abusing women, terrorizing their fellow citizens and building the war chest to kill massive numbers of innocent people around the world don't hurt you or anyone you love.

Posted by: thuff7 | July 23, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Great, we're spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money to be in Afghanistan so we can destroy their poppy plants. What an excellent use of our military. The war on drugs is an even bigger joke then the war on tera (bushspeak). Our country can't afford adequate healthcare, yet we can send our military around the world to destroy drugs?

Posted by: miknugget | July 23, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I was under the impression that the US was not going to destroy the poppy industry in Afghanistan until it had some way to replace the local economy. I'm aware that the Taliban make money off this enterprise, but so do poor tribesmen. Now they will have no income and have to rely on the Taliban for their food and other necessities. Or is our government sending them money for taking their only cash crop? Does anyone know?

Posted by: clairevb | July 23, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Uh, Thuff7 you need to get over your self-rightous ignorance, and you need to do it yesterday. 1) Our soldiers protect a democracy, not a dictatorship. Our citizens are the reason we founded this government, you're knuckle-dragging intimidation belongs elsewhere. 2) Evolve past your jar-head brainwashing and take some history classes. 3) Opiates comprise a large class of pharmacological medications; these "drugs" could have saved more lives than your (unfounded) "millions" of victims. 4) Your disdain for constitutional rights illustrates why you are a greater threat to our national security than those drugs ever were, you don't understand the country you serve or its history. Domineering and intolerant attitudes like yours pollute our national psyche. Evolve.
-From someone who has served with plenty of time in 120 degree heat.

Posted by: DPoniatowski | July 23, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Where has it ever worked that destroying the livelihood of an indigenous population resulted in military victory? Taliban recruiters must be laughing. Afghanistan is an albatross around Obama's neck.

Posted by: fatman985 | July 23, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

They should have disposed of the poppy seeds the old-fashioned way.

Put it on bagels!



Posted by: bs2004 | July 23, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

You left out the part where the marines standing in all the smoke said they were really enjoying their stint and may never leave, and could care less if Obama is a fraud now.
Inhaling deeply they all seemed very happy.
Obama-frauds famous Poppy war of 2009.

Expansion of the free needles program to follow soon on American streets.
Contact your local black panther unit for more details.

Posted by: dottydo | July 23, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I understand that we don't necessarily keep enemy spoils when we sack/invade foreign occupied areas. Ever since the raid on Saddam's palace, we've learned a valuable lesson in recovering enemy items. With that said however, something seems wrong with escalated bombing of poppy seeds and enemy munitions. Based on how this story is written, if fire, 14 shoulder-fired missiles, several mortars, and C-4 failed to destroy it, what would've been next --- small scale nuclear weaponry? Apparently 4000 bags of poppy seeds and enemy munitions are stronger than I thought.

Anyways, since they couldn't keep the items and had to "dispose" of them to keep them out of enemy hands, why not turn the items over to the Afghan government and have them "dispose" of it.

Posted by: qrobinso | July 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

DPoniatowski, thanks for saying what I was going to post (except for the use of "you're" where "your" is correct, lol). As for thuff7, flag material is usually transparent so don't try hiding behind it.

I do scratch my head at bombing the seeds, though, Just two seeds escaping the bomb, plus all the nitrates that laboo points out will go back into the soil, will ensure a future crop. Maybe they should have ground them up into powder instead. Or dissolved them in 6M sulfuric acid. I dunno. Anything but wasting munitions.

Posted by: bucinka8 | July 23, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

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