National Geographic : 2011 Jun
LETTERS I read your report on the ongoing struggle to eradicate poppy growing in Afghanistan with great interest but also with sadness. This campaign is funded by the Western allies but seems largely unsuccessful and brutal. Rather than using force against the growers, who are mostly poor farmers, why don't we buy the crops ourselves and turn it not into heroin but into medical morphine, for which there is great demand? That way we remove the crops and the farmers from the clutches of the drug lords, while at the same time giving the farmers a legitimate source of income. MIKE DAVIS Cheltenham, England EMAIL email@example.com TWITTER @NatGeoSociety WRITE National Geographic Magazine, PO Box 98199, Washington, DC 20090-8199. Include name, address, and daytime telephone. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. Opium Wars February 2011 not to plant it. They must realize that opium can't make them rich, even if it makes them more money than other crops. ERIC MEI Suchow, China "Opium Wars" presents the growers, users, U.S. military, Afghan police and politicians all working at cross-purposes as the bewildered U.S. taxpayer looks on. The author tells of progress in police stations built and highways paved at great cost---but the images of Afghans watching their crops being destroyed tell the true story. If they pick up arms to defend themselves and feed their children, who can blame them? DONALD LYON Brownsville, Oregon Relics to Reefs I enjoyed reading about the ships. I served aboard the U.S.S. Muliphen (AKA-61), eventually sunk off Port St. Lucie, Florida, in 1989. At one of our ship's reunions, one of my buddies brought a film he had obtained of our ship after a few years underwater. During its showing, one of us mournfully said, "Look at our poor home with the fish swimming in and out of her." Another crew member piped up, "Better her without us than with us." FREDERICK M. RODRIGUEZ Western Springs, Illinois I advise the current Afghanistan government not to refer to the federal strategy against opium as a war. Instead, it's like fighting cancer: prevention coupled with treatment, accompanied by research. EVAN DALE SANTOS Adelanto, California The only way to stop people from growing opium is to enhance their standard of living---not support them with more money when they promise Corrections DECEMBER 2010, WILD: FLOWER BEDS In the short article about bees that build nests out of flower petals, the bee shown was incorrectly identified as a female. • Commendations Criticisms F E E D BA C K ese graphics re ect the most common words found in your letters about our February issue.