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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:24 AM
Original message
US waves white flag in disastrous 'war on drugs'
US waves white flag in disastrous 'war on drugs'

After 40 years, Washington is quietly giving up on a futile battle that has spread corruption and destroyed thousands of lives

By Hugh O'Shaughnessy
Sunday, 17 January 2010

After 40 years of defeat and failure, America's "war on drugs" is being buried in the same fashion as it was born amid bloodshed, confusion, corruption and scandal. US agents are being pulled from South America; Washington is putting its narcotics policy under review, and a newly confident region is no longer prepared to swallow its fatal Prohibition error. Indeed, after the expenditure of billions of dollars and the violent deaths of tens of thousands of people, a suitable epitaph for America's longest "war" may well be the plan, in Bolivia, for every family to be given the right to grow coca in its own backyard.

The "war", declared unilaterally throughout the world by Richard Nixon in 1969, is expiring as its strategists start discarding plans that have proved futile over four decades: they are preparing to withdraw their agents from narcotics battlefields from Colombia to Afghanistan and beginning to coach them in the art of trumpeting victory and melting away into anonymous defeat. Not surprisingly, the new strategy is being gingerly aired in the media of the US establishment, from The Wall Street Journal to the Miami Herald.

Prospects in the new decade are thus opening up for vast amounts of useless government expenditure being reassigned to the treatment of addicts instead of their capture and imprisonment. And, no less important, the ever-expanding balloon of corruption that the "war" has brought to heads of government, armies and police forces wherever it has been waged may slowly start to deflate.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-wav...
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
1. If this is true, why is the US expanding its bases and military role in Latin America?
Answer: to restore American hegemony in the region, by force if necessary!
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Webster Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. One reason is that Venezuela has lots of oil.
The U.S. wants to steal that oil.
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
14. You two seriously need to get in touch with reality.
Because you sound like a bad parody of fringe DUers.
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Webster Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. The reality where oil doesn't enter the equation?
Sure pal, I'll get right on it. :eyes:
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. Actually, YOU seriously need to get in touch with google.
This is just one note from SouthCom. Heard of them?

Energy is another factor involved in the economic linkages within the hemisphere.
According to the Department of Energy, three (Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela) of the
top four foreign energy suppliers to the U.S. are located within the Western
Hemisphere. According to The Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Energy, the U.S.
will need 31 percent more petroleum and 62 percent more natural gas in the next two
decades.

As the U.S. continues to require more petroleum and gas, Latin America is
becoming a global energy leader with its large oil reserves and oil and gas production
and supplies. We must work together to secure these energy resources and the
supporting infrastructure to enable regional prosperity.

http://www.southcom.mil/AppsSC/files/0UI0I1175252190.pd...

And a few more links to get you goin'.

http://www.wola.org/index.php?Itemid=2&id=661&option=co...

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/AUK503A.html

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Webster Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
2. About time!
I think I'll shoot some heroin to celebrate. Wish I could score some of that famous Afghani stuff. :P
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
4. So it finally dawned on these weasels that they are bankrupting everyone with this folly? nt
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
5. I will need some confirmation.
It was my understanding the the U.S. was thrown out of Bolivia by the very popular President Evo Morales, and the the US is simply "relocating" it's "Narco" Forces to Colombia (right wing puppet state) and building NEW bases on the border with Venezuela to harass and undermine their very popular President, Hugo Chavez.
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
6. "war on drugs" = welfare jobs program for police state entities nt
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endless october Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
7. step in the right direction
legalize pot first, then move to other "drugs."
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Cartoonist Donating Member (188 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
8. What's he saying?
Due to technical reasons, I can't read the rest of the article. The bit posted here gives me the impression that Hugh is unhappy. Instead of saying "coming to their senses" he says "waves white flag". Most distressing to me is the phrase "useless government expenditure being reassigned to the treatment of addicts". I guess he wants to continue the "the expenditure of billions of dollars and the violent deaths of tens of thousands of people".
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. No, far from it
He's saying the expenditure on "capture and imprisonment" is what was vast and useless, and he's happy the money will go to treatment instead. Also in the piece we have:

"Prepare to shed a tear over the loss of revenue that eventual decriminalisation of narcotics could bring to the traffickers, large and small, and to the contractors who have been making good money building and running the new prisons that help to bankrupt governments – in the US in particular, where drug offenders – principally small retailers and seldom the rich and important wholesalers – have helped to push the prison population to 1,600,000; their imprisonment is already straining federal and state budgets. "

"For the lives and sanity of millions, the seeing of the light is decidedly late. The conditions of the 1920s, when the US Congress outlawed alcohol and allowed Al Capone and his kin to make massive fortunes, have been re-created up and down Latin America."

The last paragraph of the whole piece reads:

"This year should be the year that common sense vanquishes the mailed fist in an unwinnable war against an invisible enemy."
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Tutankhamun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
9. The second to last paragraph could be the basis for the lede in its own story.
The president of Ecuador has ended America's lease on a large airbase on the Pacific, where the American government was engaged in a bloody struggle against the region's increasingly powerful left.

That smells like an interesting story.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
11. Kicked, recommended and I couldn't agree more with the last sentence.
"This year should be the year that common sense vanquishes the mailed fist in an unwinnable war against an invisible enemy."

Thanks for the thread, Judi Lynn.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
12. K&R
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
13. K&R.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
15. My heart leaped with joy that he knew something about the corrupt, failed US "war on drugs"
that I hadn't heard of--that it is in fact being ended, if slowly. But, alas, after reading the article to its conclusion, I don't think he has some kind of insider or investigative reporter knowledge that this might be true. I think he is more just hoping that it is--and maybe trying to influence it to be.

I see almost no signs that the U.S. is ending this horrendous policy, even at a slow pace, and rather compelling evidence that the U.S. is actually ramping it up. There are two powerful forces keeping it going, and President Obama doesn't seem to have the power to buck them (if he is inclined to) and I expect absolutely nothing from the allegedly Democratic Congress on this matter. These impregnable forces are: 1) The "military-industrial complex" itself and its war profiteers, added to it now the "prison-industrial complex" and the "justice system-industrial complex"; and 2) the CIA and other powerful drug cartels (including probably the Bush Cartel). I don't see any sign of any of them giving up their "gravy train" nor of anybody pressuring them to do so.

THEN we have the hard evidence of recent U.S. escalation of the corrupt, failed U.S. "war on drugs":

1) SEVEN new U.S. military bases in Colombia, NO LIMIT on the number of U.S. soldiers and U.S. 'contractors' who can be deployed there, NO LIMIT on diplomatic immunity for U.S. soldiers and 'contractors,' and U.S. military use of all civilian airports and other facilities in Colombia. The Colombian government and military, supported by multi-billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, are heavily into the drug trade--and are also into rightwing paramilitary death squad murders of union leaders, community organizers, human rights workers, peasant farmers and others who get in the way of the big drug/crime networks or of U.S. global corporate predators;

2) The sneaky U.S. supported rightwing military coup in Honduras, where grass roots activists are also now being murdered. The Pentagon thus secured its military base in Honduras, allegedly for the "war on drugs." The rich, rightwing elite and the military in Honduras are notorious for drug trafficking. They are now in charge.

3) The U.S. has also reconstituted the U.S. 4th Fleet in the Caribbean, has added bases in Panama, and has a whole "Southern Command" plan for "full-spectrum" military operations in Latin America, with the first justification being the U.S. "war on drugs."

4) The U.S. State Department's continued demonization of the Chavez government in Venezuela, the Morales government in Bolivia and the Correa government in Ecuador, continued efforts to overthrow these governments, failure to acknowledge their major drug interdictions, and lying about them that they somehow favor drug, crime and "terrorist" networks. Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador have thrown the U.S. "war on drugs," the U.S. military, the USAID and other malevolent U.S. entities out of their countries. The big drug networks have thus lost their protector and anti-dangerous drug efforts have thus improved, while decriminalization of beneficial plants proceeds (most advanced in Bolivia regarding the sacred plant of the indigenous, the coca leaf). And I am not being sarcastic. Wherever the U.S. "war on drugs" goes, drug traffic and a lot of other crime, increases. I think the U.S. "war on drugs" is protecting the big crime networks.

5) The U.S. government is still opposing decriminalization of medical marijuana in the states, let alone decriminalization of all marijuana, or any other police state, "gravy train," prohibition.

It may be that the U.S. "war on drugs" changed, from being simply a VERY BAD policy, to being a CRIMINAL policy, under the Bush Junta, and it is possible that the Obama administration is just finding this out, and is considering at least a house-cleaning. That's what this writer suggests. And maybe he does have some investigative reporter hints that this is the case. But he doesn't say much about it, and the other evidence that he marshals is mostly regarding the rebellion in Latin America, not that the Obama administration is listening to them. The Obama team has been obdurate about not listening to Latin American leaders on everything that's come up in that region thus far. They have shoved U.S. bully power in Latin American leaders' faces, and have pursued a course set by fascists like Jim DeMint (Puke-SC) and John "death squad" Negroponte.

Really, my heart leapt. If there is anything I most want to see in my lifetime it's the end of the U.S. "war on drugs." If you add up all the costs and all the carnage, it is arguably worse than the Iraq War. But Mr. O'Shaughnessy has not convinced me that there is any change coming, and I suspect that, in fact, the Pentagon is planning to use the "war on drugs" to escalate to a region-wide corporate resource war. They may have to empty the prisons here, for "cannon fodder" and because they've bankrupted state governments. That doesn't mean that they've finished with U.S.-inflicted horror in Latin America.

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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
16. About fucking time.
But we still need to legalize pot and probably cocaine in order to start fixing our gang problem. So long as there's a black market, we're going to have problems with gang violence.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
17. I hate to say it, but I think this is a "pipe dream". As PeacePatriot points out, there's no
solid evidence that the drug war is de-escalating.

My skepticism comes from the HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS that are being made up and down the line by traffickers and drug law enforcers--but mostly up the line. Certainly the coca and poppy farmers aren't reaping the riches of the crops they grow.

Drug profitability comes from ILLEGALITY. Tax-free dollars made on an underground economy where profits run in the 100's of times the cost of growing and processing the drugs, are the reason we will probably never see a realistic drug policy in the Corporate States of America. Just look at who benefits: Police and drug enforcement agencies receive hundreds of millions of dollars of funding for personnel, weaponry, high-tech surveillance gear including helicopters. Plus they can confiscate property (homes, land, automobiles, boats, etc.) of accused--yes, accused but not necessarily convicted--drug law violators. Then there's the graft and corruption element of buying off the appropriate "authorities". Next we have the legal/judicial branch of the beneficiaries. Lawyers, judges, magistrates stay fully employed and well-rewarded for their efforts at "putting away" or defending the drug law violators. Farther up the line we have the Prisons-for-Profit Cartel, that newly-privatized element of "law and order" that is reaching deeper and deeper into the hip pockets of the U.S. taxpayers. Oh, how about the folks who manufacture all of that weaponry, high-tech gear, aircraft, etc? Many of them are also military contractors.

Did I mention the pharmaceutical giants? Why would anyone pay for a synthesized form of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, if they could grow the real thing in their own back yard or bedroom? How about Customs personnel? Could any of these paragons of virtue be on the take?

Last but not least, consider the politicians and religious leaders. Politicians are the ones who are wined, dined, cajoled, and bankrolled by the movers and shakers of the above "industries". Religious leaders make millions pontificating on the evils of drug use and how it undermines morality. Imagine how little leverage they would have if folks saw that these drugs were not the devil's tools they are portrayed to be.

European nations that have decriminalized drug use and implemented drug rehabilitation programs and needle exchanges see an immediate reduction in violence, property crime, and HIV AIDS. Imagine how a major reduction in those three areas would affect the funding for our ANTI-drug programs.

There's an excellent book out that goes into this topic in great detail. It's written by a Professor Emeritus of ECONOMICS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill named Arthur Benavie. The book is "DRUGS: AMERICA'S HOLY WAR" It's short but packed with valuable information.

If the journalist who wrote this article is correct, we could be on the verge of a huge step forward into a more enlightened, compassionate, and livable society. I hope he's right.




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mojowork_n Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. The "Reality Check" response.
Thanks. I think you have eminent justification for feeling cautious and skeptical about all this. (I'm going to check out that Arthur Benavie book, believe me.)

But I also think the poster (thanks, Judi Lynn) deserves big props for paying attention, and relaying the report. The "drug war" is anything but black-and-white/simple/straightforward. One websearch you might want to do is for Catherine Austin Fitts' multi-part series, "Narco-Dollars for Dummies." She's not the world's greatest writer, style-wise -- it'll take a little patience to wade through some parts of her commentary. She labors a bit from initial hypothesis, to possible deductions, all the way through her very logical conclusions -- but it ultimately just adds to the impact, when you consider that what she's writing about may very well be accurate and justified. Given her background and experience and the story she tells. (Jump to the chase and start your search at http://www.scoop.co.nz /

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winyanstaz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
18. If true this would be good for the world...
We need to look closely at those nations that have legalized drugs like Holland...and model ourselves after the one that works the best.
We will save a fortune on prisons and courts etc..and free the police to go after violent crimes etc.
It could be win/win for America...
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
19. Recommend
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