May 2, 2011

J.D. JOHANNES REPORTS FROM AFGHANISTAN: Osama Bin Laden’s Death: The Helmund View. “Al Qaida has long since become an organization with no need for a leader–even a symbolic one. In the canal country of the Helmund river, the opium poppies provide more revenue to fuel the Taliban and Al Qaida than Bin Laden’s long since spent millions and fund raising. Opium sloshes billions of dollars around Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Emirates. The Marines and Brits know this, which is why the news, while welcome and gratifying, is not celebrated with cheers.”

UPDATE: Roger Kimball: Osama Bin Laden, Good Riddance.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Ben Samuels writes: “Sounds like a good argument for legalizing the opium trade in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Burma/Thailand/Laos. It would undercut the Pakistani/Afghans growers a lot. Then offer them a profitable alternative and 90% of the problem is solved. It would surely be a lot cheaper than maintaining a standing army!”