Friday, September 5, 2008


Villagers say the U.S. does not understand how complex alliances, violence and even drugs play out in their culture. The eyes of elderly Malik Bakhtiar well with tears as he recalls his brother's arrest by U.S. troops for apparently running a drug laboratory in his home. In certain regions of Afghanistan, people grow opium for their livelihood.

"They don't understand us," Bakhtiar says. "Every house has a gun. Every house has opium."

If America loses in Afghanistan, it will be because we insisted upon making the Afghan people our enemy in the war on drugs rather than our allies in the war on terror. Unfortunately, that is an unpopular view and embraced by almost no politicians.