If you are caught with heroine and opium on US soil, you can look forward to many years in jail. It's a big federal crime. When it comes to foreign wars, beginning with the Vietnam War, USA abandoned all pretense to the values the nation had held dear.
During that war, the Americans not only tolerated opium cultivation they created a US run airline, called Air America, to transport opium from difficult hills up country to facilitate distribution on behalf of those hill tribes the failing US military wanted to win over to help fight the communists. Never mind the opium would end up in Los Angeles or New York. In war all is "fair" right?
But of course what the US did in Vietnam was illegal, but who cares, right? In the end the war failed to win hearts and minds.
Now, we are seeing the same tiresome movie. The US military is now openly in support of opium trade again. We are condemned to watch this B movie all over again. Never mind what the US used to stand for: the rule of law, respect for humane values and all that. They read well in textbooks. It's sad to see the decline of moral values in the USA.
You want to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan? Imagine you are a young Afghan. You grow up watching GI's supporting opium in your own backyards. You then get a scholarship to Yale. Would you have much respect for Washington leaders telling the world how to behave? I doubt it.
Read this heart wrenching report on the US involvement in Afghan opium trade here.