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When Defense Secretary Robert Gates told West Point cadets that you’d have to be crazy to commit U.S. troops to wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, media commentators quickly detected a slap at his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, who oversaw those conflicts.
Gates Agrees, Bush's Wars Were Nuts
According to the International Monetary Fund, however, the “informal” agricultural sector – devoted to opium production – earns about 40-50% of GDP; although, as an illegal activity, it does not register in official economic calculations (UNEP 2009). The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been monitoring the opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan since 1994 (Figure 6). The “dip” in poppies cultivation during 2001 was largely due to a strictly enforced ban imposed by the Taliban government. However, with the departure of the Taliban, followed by a period of instability, the cultivation increased again in 2002 and continued to increase until 2007 when it reached record levels, and the country became practically the world’s exclusive supplier – about 93% of the global market (UNODC 2007). Poppy cultivation, which provides many Afghan farmers with significantly greater income than other crops, drives the rural economy. The gross income from opium per hectare is US$ 3,562 vs. US$ 1,101 from wheat (UNODC 2009).
"This is a picture of my son Casey when he was 7 months old. It's an enlargement of a picture he carried in his wallet until the day he was killed. He loved this picture of himself. It was returned to us with his personal effects from Iraq. He always sucked on those two fingers. When he was born he had a flat face from passing through the birth canal and we called him Edward G., short for Edward G. Robinson.
"How many of you have ever seen your child in his or her premature coffin? It is a shocking and very painful sight. The most heart-breaking aspect of seeing Casey lying in his casket for me was that his face was flat again because he had no muscle tone. He looked like he did when he was a baby laying in his bassinet.