Oh yeah... McCain sucks, too.

Juan Cole posted a great blog entry on the perils of voting for John McCain today on his always interesting blog, "Informed Comment". (As Aidan Monaghan points out in this blog entry, Obama has issues too, but not for the strawman reasons that McCain spouts in his public comments. As far as Clinton goes, a vote for Hillary is a vote for the Clinton dynasty, and all the baggage it entails.)

I would like to enhance Cole's blog entry with a couple segments from the 1995 documentary, "Dealing With the Demon". In the first segment, the human toll of drug trafficking is depicted. Cole refers to one million heroin addicts in Pakistan as a result of supporting the Mujahidin in Afghanistan, this documentary segment claims two million. The number is probably even higher now, as the sheer quantity of opium harvested in Afghanistan has skyrocketed. (This first segment is also interesting because an NBC news report from 1986 clearly explains how the Reagan adminstration had decided to supply the Mujahidin with Stingers and according to "one administration source, the CIA would be responsible for training the guerillas in their use". Oops! The official line these days is that the CIA never directly trained the Afghan Arabs.)

The second segment continues with an examination of the interconnected CIA, ISI, and drug trafficking warlords like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Both segments feature commentary from a sorely missed expert on Pakistani affairs, Dr. Eqbal Ahmed. The second segment features a brief comment from fromer DEA agent, Michael Levine. (There is a lot more background on the history of the opium trade in the full one hour episode you can view/download here.)

Segment One

Segment Two

I disagree with Cole about the use of the term "blow-back" as he uses it, because contrary to conventional wisdom, it doesn't appear that contact with the Mujahidin was ever actually severed by Western interests after the Soviets left Afghanistan. Covert use of the Mujahidin was carried unbroken through the Clinton adminstration, as documented here by Nafeez Ahmed, and here by Michel Chossudovsky.