William F. Buckley, arguably the top conservative to have come out against the War in Iraq, isn't much cheerier when he turns his gaze to Afghanistan. He notes that despite U.S. occupation, the (illegal) opium-poppy crop is up about 50 percent, making Afghanistan supplier of some 92 percent of the world market for such plants.
After detailing the popular resurgence of the Taliban–"It is as if in 1950 the German people had drifted back toward life under Nazism"–he concludes:
God works in mysterious ways, among them His failure to act at all. Mr. Bush acknowledges the complexity of the terrorist problem, but his triumphalist rhetoric is at odds with realities that have us wondering what to do about poppies, let alone devising means of educating 30 million people in the depredations of life under such a regime as is nevertheless making its way back to power and popularity. Sometimes bedevilment shakes its unruly head and says: Give those people the poppies and require them to inject themselves every day with their delirious substance.
All right, all right, one gets carried away. But what can the leader of the free world do, beyond reiterating our homilies?