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Time: Four Decades Later, It's Time to Scrap the Dead-End Drug War

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-11 09:54 AM
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Time: Four Decades Later, It's Time to Scrap the Dead-End Drug War
Four Decades Later, It's Time to Scrap the Dead-End Drug War
Posted by Tim Padgett Friday, June 17, 2011 at 5:00 am


I recently returned from the desert city of Durango, Mexico, where forensic officials are still trying to identify some 240 corpses discovered this year in mass graves. More than 200 other bodies have been found in similar fosas across northern Mexico. All were victims, many of them innocent victims, of the drug-trafficking violence whose barbarity seems bottomless. But it's fueled in large part by the just as endless American appetite for illegal drugs – which itself is due in no small part to the fact that our anti-drug policies are so narrow-mindedly focused on battling supply instead of reducing demand.

Americans can summon all our gringo chauvinism and lament how savage things have gotten south of the border. Or we can wake up and acknowledge that we've helped los narcos dig the mass graves that are scarring Mexico's landscape and its psyche. And today is the moment to start that mea culpa. June 17 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's call for the “drug war,” which has since cost the U.S. $1 trillion. The best way to commemorate it is to admit that the war – at least the way we're fighting it now – is lost.

By that I mean no disrespect to the anti-drug agents and prosecutors on the front lines, many of whom I've come to know and admire over my 22 years covering Mexico's drug-cartel crisis as some of the bravest and brightest in our government. But our obsession with incarcerating every drug offender we can find at home and eradicating every coca leaf we can find abroad – without helping American addicts get adequate treatment or Latin American farmers find viable alternatives to poppies – simply makes the work of drug interdiction harder, if not futile. We've got to find another way, one that costs us less money and fewer lives.

More rehab, less lockup: First, let's concede that the Global Commission on Drug Policy – founded by the former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, countries where drug blood is spilled in industrial quantities – got a lot of things right when it announced this month that the worldwide war on drugs has failed. Its most important point was that the U.S., Europe and other drug-consumption centers have to change how they look at the crisis: as more a health problem than a criminal problem. Two-thirds or more of Washington's $15 billion annual anti-drug budget is spent on conventional interdiction, but half should be going to drug rehab and other demand-reducing devices – especially in this fiscally perilous age. Since as early as 1994, research has shown that the societal costs of the drug war, from prison cells to productivity loss, drop appreciably more – 14 times more in one Rand Corporation study – when a dollar is spent on drug treatment instead of on law enforcement. If you need another convincer, consider that more than half our federal prison population today consists of drug offenders, yet the U.S. is still the world's No. 1 per capita consumer of illegal drugs, to the tune of $65 billion a year.

More:
http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/06/17/four-decade...
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somone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-11 09:58 AM
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1. Recommended
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-11 10:02 AM
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2. One of the lies the US gun lobby peddles is that Mexico's carnage isn't fueled by weapons smuggled..
Ban the big guns: A good way we can help Mexico's cops is to make sure they aren't outgunned. One of the bigger lies the U.S. gun lobby peddles is that Mexico's carnage isn't fueled by weapons smuggled from the U.S. It's no coincidence that Mexican drug violence began to spike in 2005, a year after George W. Bush let the U.S. ban on assault weapon sales expire. This month, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives concluded that 70% of the guns confiscated by Mexican authorities the past two years came from north of the border. Which doesn't surprise me, since I've been to enough gangland murder scenes in Mexico in recent years where investigators have pointed out that rounds were fired from U.S.-made M-16 assault rifles, which many narcos prefer to Russian-made AK-47s because of their accuracy. If we want to see less killing south of the border, reinstate the assault weapon sales ban.

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/06/17/four-decade...
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-11 10:09 AM
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3. The Drug War is not about Drugs.
If it was about drug abuse, they would have given it up as a failure long ago.
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Harry J Asslinger Donating Member (93 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-11 10:19 AM
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4. Glad to see the WOD getting exposure +rec
Engaging in this perpetual "war" certainly slakes the thirst of the MIC and the PIC, which has grown on the soil of this Prohibition.

Jimmy Carter wrote an op-ed "Call Off the Global Drug War" for the NYT over here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/17/opinion/17carter.html...

Someone should post it; I have too few posts to do so.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-11 10:25 AM
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5. I will
thanks for the link.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-11 10:58 AM
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6. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, Judi Lynn.
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