« To Err is Human (Political, Clinical) | Main | A Simple Question (Historical, Political) »

August 08, 2007

A Predictable Development (Historical, Political)

An item in today’s Salon exposes a phenomenon that would have been eminently predictable to anyone able to connect the  required dots: there is now a thriving market providing locally produced heroin to American military personnel in Afghanistan.  

One way to encompass several of those dots at once would be by reading a book by Alfred McCoy in any of its updated editions. Originally focused only on Viet Nam and researched as his PhD thesis at Yale, it became the first Politics of Heroin, originally published in 1974, but only after the intervention of a then-young NYT editor who just happened to be a fellow Yalie.

Apparently stung by his critics, McCoy, who had gone on to an academic career at Wisconsin, devoted an entire sabbatical to updating his research into CIA connections with drug trafficking in both Central America and Afghanistan. That was the 1992 version I read and, to my naive dismay in 1996, could not provoke the NYT, Washington Post, or LA Times into recalling as they were coordinating a scurrilous attack that drove Gary Webb from his job at the San Jose Mercury News and, ultimately, to (a questionable) suicide.

So much for a “free press;” it's almost enough to make one a conspiracy theorist. Come to think of it, the Salon article didn't mention any of those readily available historical links...

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at August 8, 2007 08:09 PM