Tuesday, June 29, 2010


US Senate Resolution 570 passed the senate today. To summarize:
"Calling for continued support for and an increased effort by the Governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Central Asian countries to effectively monitor and regulate the manufacture, sale, transport, and use of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in order to prevent the transport of ammonium nitrate into Afghanistan where the ammonium nitrate is used in improvised explosive devices."

This is noteworthy for no other reason then the following line:
"Whereas it is illegal to manufacture, own, or use ammonium nitrate fertilizer in Afghanistan since a ban was instituted by Afghan President Hamid Karzai in January 2010;"

Wait. Stop.
It is illegal to use Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer in Afghanistan, since the start of this year?

Empirically, what has the effect been?

April 8, 2010: "The number of IEDs in Afghanistan climbed from 429 in March 2009 to 989 in March 2010."

The success of this program is on par with Mr. Wood's marriage.

You're asking right now, who cares. Ammonium Nitrate, Miracle Grow... its all a wash in the end and the ban is trying to save lives. But there are reasons Ammonium Nitrate is a oft used substance.

Slate: "For starters, ammonium nitrate is inexpensive to manufacture. The process involves nothing more complicated than mixing together ammonia and nitric acid; the first batch of the stuff was synthesized way back in 1659 by German chemist Johann R. Glauber. A ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer costs, on average, about $100 less than a ton of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer, one of the best alternatives.
It's not only farmers who prize ammonium nitrate, however. A low-density powder containing the chemical is vital to the construction industry, which considers it preferable to dynamite. Ironically, one of ammonium nitrate's attributes is its stability—it won't explode unless it comes in contact with both a hydrocarbon (such as fuel oil) and a detonation source.

It's cheaper to grow food with, and its safer for mining. Both of which are done in Afghanistan.

At the risk of sounding cliche,
When you outlaw fertilizer, then only outlaws will have fertilizer.


Solameanie said...

And I thought you were going to refer to the other kind of fertilizer coming out of Washington and other world capitals.

I see Chicken Chow Mein is back again, too. ;P

Palm boy said...

Nope, I stayed away from that angle :D

So he is... I doubt its an effective marketing strategy, so I figure capt. ramen will leave sooner or later.