It looks like the new Afghan government is finally ready to start tackling one of the most insidious evils facing their country: opium.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — From March to August, the United Nations says, almost 90 percent of the world's opium is grown in the fields of Afghanistan. The U.N. says cultivation of opium poppies, which can be made into heroin, is up 64 percent over last year in Afghanistan.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai (search) says that's humiliating. "We should fight poppy with the same zeal as we fought the Russians. If we do not, our homeland ... will face danger again."

It would have been nice for the US to firebomb poppy fields during the invasion, but it would have been self-destructive and would have hindered the coalition of warlords that helped us overthrow the Taliban. We couldn't accomplish every type of good all at once, but let this serve an an example to people who think we should do nothing just because we can't do everything. Give us time.

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