“Operation Smack-y Freedom” ?


In a recent post at The Darn News, a local blog that makes rolling Shadyside drunks seem like community service, self-described “contributor”, Highland Ave, whose largely fictional posts range from elitist to cryptofascist , shocked me with his apparent concern for the residents of Garfield. He also praised the valiant efforts of the enlightened, publicly subsidized artists who make the journey up Penn Avenue from Lawrenceville, to their colonies, er, galleries, as they play urban manifest destiny, and then go home. Much the same way drug addicts treat Garfield. They both show up to get their fix, and go home, leaving the locals to deal with their messes. It’s very different than being a neighbor or resident. Restoring a home, and interacting with the existing community is not the same as transplanting your insular social clique into subsidized elitist art spaces.  Then it made sense when I looked at Highland Ave.’s blog profile, and it listed his location as Afghanistan and his profession as ‘government’. If he is one of the 13,000 some odd crusaders, who are entrusted to oversee 90% of the world’s opium, he would be concerned with areas that stock their product. Can they list Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as reference in civilian life?

The US has a long and storied tradition of ensuring that the drug trade can flourish in their sphere of influence, having taken over for the Brits. From Air America, (not the stupid liberal radio station) to Iran Contra, to unsubstantiated, but not unreasonable claims that the CIA encouraged and fostered drug addiction amongst Soviet troops in Afghanistan, to the 90’s upsurge in Colombian heroin, at the same time US military advisers, hardware and dollars were pouring in, to the Afghans taking the market back from the Colombians, after the Taliban market interference was removed, by what will always be “Operation Infinite Justice”, to me.

Yet somehow I was surprised by recent report that perhaps inspired by the US entrepreneurial spirit, rice farms southwest of Baghdad have been replanted with poppies. I’m sure that the appearance of US complicity in the drug trade is just a misunderstanding, but try telling that to those whose lives, families, and communities are decimated. I’m not sure how the stuff gets to the US, but I’m sure that low-level drug dealers have their own fleets of ships, planes, and helicopters.