02 July 2007

Redneck Heaven

It is a commonplace in political theory since Isaiah Berlin and Kenneth Arrow wrote in the 1950s (at least) that "not all good things go together without remainder." I do not know if anyone has argued the related thesis that not all bad (or questionable) things go together. It turns out, though, that a good number of the latter seem to co-exist without terribly much strain. Here are two photographs from a slideshow in the on-line version of The New Yorker this week.

"A DynCorp security employee watches over the A.E.F.
destroying poppy fields in Uruzgan" © Aaron Huey

"The DynCorp crew at the A.E.F. base in Tirin Kot" © Aaron Huey

The slideshow accompanies an article by Jon Lee Anderson entitled "The Taliban's Opium War" that explores the anti-opium poppy program undertaken by the Afghan Eradication Force operating within the Afghanistan Department of the Interior. Anderson depicts a simmering cauldron of official corruption in the Afghan government, friction between the U.S. officials and their putative Western allies, a Taliban protection racket aimed at generating revenue, rampant opium production fueled by the lack of economically viable alternative crops, and good old American mercenaries brought in to oversee eradication. Now there is recipe for policy success if ever there has been one!

Anderson quotes one of the DynCorp mercenaries as saying: “This is redneck heaven. You get to run around the desert on A.T.V.s and pickups, shoot guns, and get paid for it. Man, it’s the perfect job!” Nothing like putting a bunch of yahoos out there to really antagonize pretty much everyone you might need to rely on as well as those whom you really ought to be driving out of power. I really don't think you could make this stuff up.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Stan B. said...

Something about plantations...

03 July, 2007 01:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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03 July, 2007 12:51  

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