...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



The opium war that never ended, a truth mash-up:

The White House's push for another 10 years (at least) in Afghanistan — already the nation's longest war — could make waves.
The administration is pushing for a security deal with the Afghan government that would allow U.S. troops to stay there until "2024 and beyond."
Afghanistan's booming narcotics trade risks splintering the country into a "fragmented criminal state" if the government and its western allies do not step up efforts to tackle opium production, a senior UN official has warned.
Opium farming in Afghanistan, the world's main producer of the drug, hit a record high this year, with farmers harvesting a crop worth nearly $1bn (£610m) to them, and far more to the traffickers who take about four-fifths of the profit.
By any definition, this is 10 more years of war, no matter what the White House says. If President Barack Obama proposed sending 8,000 troops to Syria, where they would carry out combat operations, any rational person would rightly see that as launching a war.
Jean-Luc Lemahieu, outgoing head of the UN office on drugs and crime in Afghanistan, believes opium production is likely to soar beyond this year's record levels before it falls – and that the transformation of the country's corrupt economy will take up to two decades.
"If we are not careful then Afghanistan has a real risk of becoming a fragmented criminal state," Lemahieu told the Guardian after five years grappling with corruption and neglect of the narcotics problem in Afghanistan.
The war in Afghanistan is extremely unpopular: The share of Americans who think the war wasn't worth it reached 67 percent in a July Washington Post-ABC News poll. During seven years under President George W. Bush, 630 Americans were killed in Afghanistan. During Obama's presidency, 1,671 troops have been killed, 127 of them this year — even as the war was supposedly winding down. That's more than any year but one under Bush.
And the war's goals remain unclear. White House press secretary Jay Carney said in 2012, "The reason why U.S. troops are in Afghanistan in the first place is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al-Qaida." But when I asked the Defense Department, in March of that year, about the last time U.S. forces killed an al-Qaida affiliate, the answer was 10 months prior.
"This is about the illicit economy taking over the future of a country in which you have invested 12 years," Lemahieu said.
"You cannot separate this out as something from one side or another. Not all in the Taliban are happy about the drug business, but undeniably many of them are involved. Not all in the government applaud the corruption and the drug business, but undeniably many are involved. And the ones who are involved on both sides know each others' phone numbers, they find each other."

sources respectively:
George Zornick/ChicagoTribune 02.Jan.14
Emma Graham-Harrison/The Guardian 05.Jan.14
As a puzzle it looks pretty straightforward, like with El Busho's "Mission Accomplished", the puzzle there is the absurd nonsensicality of the statement in light of what was happening. So Bush was an idiot and nothing he was saying had any value, truthwise. Puzzle solved.
Unless, oh, unless it really was an accomplished mission, whatever the whole picture, in Iraq, then and now, that that was what was intended. Then yes, accomplished mission. But that requires a cynicism that's too dark for most of the hopeful, and it leads to really uncomfortable questions. But, you know, maybe that's the job.
So, the puzzle of Afghanistan is solvable if we consider intentional the present state of things. All that's required is an assumption that the same background players are operating in both puzzles. Doing what they're doing for themselves at the expense of everyone else, who they have no respect for, no fellowship with, seeing only pawns and tokens, from the junkies on the street to the soldiers in the body bags, from the children watching drones above them while they work in the fields of necessity in Afghanistan, to the mothers of radiation mutated infants in Fallujah. The decisions that are causing this inhuman wreckage are being made by creatures who don't have a sense of shared humanity with the victims of their decisions.
Solves the puzzle of what the hell is this shit, but doesn't solve the more pressing question of what to do about it. Besides talking about it as honestly as possible, even if it hurts and scares you.

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