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Stopping the Poppy

For almost 240 years, the United States Marines have been involved in protecting the United States of America from dangers here and abroad. As their Marine Hymn states, they “have fought in every clime[ate] and place where we could take a gun.” They protected citizens against the British, against pirates, and against Spain, Japan, and many other countries. Their motto, “Semper Fidelis” often shortened to “semper fi” is Latin for “always faithful” or “always loyal.”

In more recent times, the U.S. Marines have been in over in the Persian Gulf area as part of Operation Enduring Freedom since 2001 and part of Operation Iraqi Freedom since 2003. At first they were on the borders of Afghanistan, but since 2009 they have been inside the country as well.

A story from April 17, 2012 told about a group of U.S. Marines from Hawaii who are currently serving in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan in a very important role. They are fighting the drug trade.

They use helicopters to help them locate the crops and storage locations for poppy so that they can confiscate the crops before they can come to harvest. They don’t destroy the fields, for fear of alienating the local farmers. But they do plan to confiscate the crops so that they cannot be smuggled out of the country.

Some might ask the question: what gives the U.S. Marines the right to take the crops that belong to people from another country? Well, there is believed to be a connection between the sale of those poppies and the insurgents, or enemies, that the USA is fighting against. To stop their sales will hopefully stop their cash flow and make it more difficult for them to fight. Of course, stopping any amount of drugs from getting to the USA or any other world market means that there is less of it to go around and less of it to cause addictions or overdoses.

Some people have reacted negatively to this news, wondering why our military men have to work as narcotics agents half way across the world. No doubt it is a question that will be batted around quite a bit; one can hope that at least they will succeed in this mission.


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