When Mr. Stoddard arrived, he walked through the festival surrounded by a three-man British and Australian security team armed with assault rifles. “Who won the cow? Who won the cow?” shouted Mr. Stoddard, 38, a burly former food broker from Provo, Utah. “Was it a girl or a guy?” (NYT 8/26/07)As Chief Lobbyist for the Afghan Opium Growers Association (A.O.G.A.), I have been delegated to extend thanks from our member farmers to U.S. President George W. Bush for sending us Mr. Loren Stoddard, whose best idea for winning the current Opium War is to raffle off a cow.
OK, yes. AND a goat. AND a generator. A cow and goat generator, I presume. I'm sure that, as soon as they get that cow and goat generator to start generating lots of cows and goats, the member farmers of A.O.G.A. will be giving up opium growing for good.
On Wednesday, Mr. Stoddard and Rory Donohoe, the director of the American development agency’s Alternative Livelihoods program in southern Afghanistan, attended the first “Helmand Agricultural Festival.” The $300,000 American-financed gathering in Lashkar Gah was an odd cross between a Midwestern county fair and a Central Asian bazaar, devised to show Afghans an alternative to poppies.Under a scorching sun, thousands of Afghan men meandered among booths describing fish farms, the dairy business and drip-irrigation systems. A generator, cow and goat were raffled off.
One of our farmer members asked me, "Where do they find these idiots?"
"Well," I replied, "in this case, Utah. That's Mormon country. Nothing BUT idiots out there.
Of course Mr. Stoddard is probably the best that the Bush team can do. I mean, with the recent departures of Gonzalez and Rove, how many rats do they have left? Still, Mr. Stoddard is eminently qualified, according to the article in the New York Times:
Mr. Stoddard helped Wal-Mart move into Central America in his previous posting.Yes, just as Brownie was uniquely qualified to run F.E.M.A. because of his vast experience in horse show judging, Mr. Stoddard is obviously the right man to run the War on Opium in Afghanistan, what with bringing Wal-Mart to Central America and all.
But the REAL strategy behind the Bush administration's War on Opium in Afghanistan is far, far trickier than that. Their strategy seems to be to flood the world market with heroin, thus driving prices down and leaving the poor farmers with no alternative but to milk fish.
Mr. Stoddard predicted that poppy production had become so prolific that the opium market was flooded and prices were starting to drop. “It seems likely they’ll have a rough year this year,” he said, referring to the poppy farmers. “Labor prices are up and poppy prices are down. I think they’re going to be looking for new things.”Now that's 'BUSH LOGIC' at it's finest! I can just hear the conversation in the White House:
"Mr. President, who should we send to Afghanistan to head up the War on Opium?
"Well, who do we have left?
"Well, we do have this fellow from Utah who helped bring Wal-Mart to Central America.
"He did THAT?! Now how in the hell did he do THAT?! If he can bring Wal-Mart to Central America, then he's obviously the right man for ending the opium trade in Afghanistan!
"Yes, Mr. President. He already has some brilliant ideas, like raffling off a cow, for example.
"Raffling off a cow?! Why, that IS brilliant! Sign him up!
And so, once again, on behalf of the member farmers of A.O.G.A., a hearty thank you to the Bush administration for sending us Mr. Stoddard and making all of our dairy cow dreams come true.