Sunday, November 30, 2008

Drug war a flop, say Mexican, US officials

Hard to say what effect such things have on public policy, though it's certainly evidence of the erosion of consensus among elites around the drug war, but from the Los Angeles Times, we see reference to a new analysis from well-credentialed sources telling us:
The United States' war on drugs has failed and will continue to do so as long as it emphasizes law enforcement and neglects the problem of consumption, a Washington think tank says in a report co-chaired by a former president of Mexico.

The former president, Ernesto Zedillo, in an interview, called for a major rethinking of U.S. policy, which he said has been "asymmetrical" in demanding that countries such as Mexico stanch the flow of drugs northward, without successful efforts to stop the flow of guns south. In addition to disrupting drug-smuggling routes, eradicating crops and prosecuting dealers, the U.S. must confront the public health issue that large-scale consumption poses, he said. ...

The report, which is the work of Brookings' Partnership for the Americas Commission, offers especially pointed criticism of the way the drug war has been waged.

Contrary to government claims, the use of heroin and cocaine in the U.S. has not declined significantly, the report says, and the use of methamphetamine is spreading. Falling street prices suggest that the supply of narcotics has not declined noticeably, and U.S. prevention and treatment programs are woefully underfunded, the study says.

"Current U.S. counter- narcotics policies are failing by most objective standards," the report says. "The only long-run solution to the problem of illegal narcotics is to reduce the demand for drugs in the major consuming countries, including the United States."
Relatedly, the outgoing US ambassador to Mexico had harsh words for the American drug war, reported the Dallas News (Nov. 27):
"As U.S. ambassador to Mexico, I've tried to be honest with both Americans and Mexicans alike, and the truth is, Mexico would not be the center of cartel activity or be experiencing this level of violence, were the United States not the largest consumer of illicit drugs and the main supplier of weapons to the cartels," Mr. Garza said during a recent speech in Texas. "The U.S. and Mexico must fight these criminal organizations together, or we will fail together."
See related coverage from the New York Times.


Anonymous said...

I can't count the number of well meaning Americans that say "I just use a little here and there, it doesn't cause any problems". Some actually feel their use of drugs does not effect the drug culture and war on drugs. Until the average American wakes up and understands how they created the illegal trade of drugs, law enforcement will not work, to stop the drug problems. Most simply think the drug problem is not THEIR problem.

Anonymous said...

Busybodies wielding prohibition like a club, screaming, "War", instigating violence, death, corruption, and mayhem IS the "Problem".

Anonymous said...

The big pharmacutical companies in the U.S. have a large stake in continuing the idea that drugs will take care of all our problems.

Legal or illegal, drugs are not our friends and should not ever be considered good for us! Sure, we benefit tremendously from our healthcare system and drugs are an important part of that.

The idea that we can abuse our bodies and not suffer any consequences because drugs will thake care of us is promulgated every day by the drug industry.
Healthy lifestyles do more to ensure good health and wellbeing than any drug ever will!

The War on Drugs is destined to fail and the drug lobby has no reason to care, laws will not change and citizens will continue to consume all the drugs they can get their hands on.

Anonymous said...

Commenters like the above feel it is OK for 'them and their friends', to use drugs, and wonder why the thugs down the street are killing each other, to determine who sells the drugs to 'them and their friends'. Its not their fault that they use drugs....others just don't understand...gee its our right to stay high as a kite.

Anonymous said...

Similar to the housing/economy crisis. Give everyone a fancy home they can't pay for, then wonder why the economy imploded. Individual responsibility in America is at its lowest. Use all the drugs you can, enjoy life; to hell with others lives, who get caught in your irresponsibility.

Anonymous said...

In Sad Recognition of the

.....which fails to provide a safe and humane environment for the fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters of Abilene who are incarcerated there. Awarded by Diane Wilson and Diana Claitor co-founders of the Texas Jail Project in Abilene, Texas, October 15, 2008

Abilene, Tx is also the focus of a Study of Small Town Justice continued:

It seems several people may not agree that Abilene,
Taylor County, Texas is a "Friendly Frontier".

They essentially credit the city's law enforcement with systematic or consistent victimization of residents lacking political influence. Anecdotal evidence suggests minorities and poor Caucasians are prime targets. Reportedly every component of Taylor County's legal system contributes to the problem (i.e. the police and sheriff departments, state and federal prosecutors, state and federal courts, public defenders, and private attorneys). Woeful tales of injustice shared by some current and former Taylor County, Texas residents, have a common theme. Many attest to retaining or being appointed an attorney who promises, but ultimately fails to zealously challenge for them the apparent wrongs of area government and/or big business. Watch the National Press Conference held last week in Washington. Read more at...

Anonymous said...

True, demand will drive the drug trade, trim demand and the cartels wither.
False, 'the southward flow of guns' is the other part of the equation. Nonsense. No bottom line watching drug operation would spend large dollars in US for semi auto weapons when the corrupt Mexican police and military, as well as Hugo's guns & ammo, can supply machine guns at bargain basement prices.

Anonymous said...

In response to the think tank's report, no sh!t. What kind of education and publicity will it take to get Americans to understand that drugs kill them, their relationships, and scores of people in Mexico? Drug use is not a victimless crime, and Mexicans and impoverished minorities in violent neighborhoods are the ones who get butchered so that people can squander their money on avoiding their problems. I don't know if there's any point in legalizing drugs because there will always be a black market for some illegal, cheaper variation of legalized drugs. Maybe the only way to keep criminals from profiting is to make drugs legal AND free, which is obviously not the solution.

We need more drug treatment and more mental health treatment, and people should be more willing to seek therapy or healthy alternatives to the escape offered by drugs. As sad as many drug users' lives may be, they most likely don't live in fear of being kidnapped and dismembered like their Mexican victims.

Anonymous said...

To 11:35, Americans will never wake up and understand, so it's best to craft a policy with the assumption that drug use will continue. Any other policy is based on a false perception that the use of drugs will change. Also it's important to understand that those people wouldn't be dying if we didn't have a policy of blanket prohibition.

To everyone else, you can try to pretend like drug use will stop, but it has always taken place and always will. I blame the policy. We need to emphasize demand reduction, not supply reduction while thinking outside of the box. Yes drug users deserve some of the responsibility for what's going on in Mexico, but nothing is going to change their consumption. Recognize that.

What should be done:
Strictly tax and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and up to strip the drug cartels of those profits. This is a good first step and will cut into revenue more than any single move without threatening public safety. Texans need to get over their paranoia on marijuana and separate it from harder drugs.

Focus more money on treatment and education for all drugs rather than spending so much on incarceration for low level drug offenses. This will further reduce the demand for illicit drugs which hurts cartel profits again.

Anonymous said...

"Until the average American wakes up and understands how they created the illegal trade of drugs."

Anonymous at 11/30 11:35, why don't you explain it to us, truthfully, so we can "understand"?

Anonymous said...

"What kind of education and publicity will it take to get Americans to understand that drugs kill them, their relationships, and scores of people in Mexico?"

Maybe more lies and obfuscation would help them get that understanding? More threats? More bludgeons? More prisons with grossly inadequate staffing? More Americans being sold into prison/slave labor, and prison for profit, making a few people wealthier?

What will it take to get Americans to understand that it's the PROHIBITION that's causing the killings you speak of?

Even unregulated, illegal drugs, themselves, actually kill fewer people each year in this country than legal pharmaceuticals, taken exactly as prescribed.

A truth that you are managing to blind yourself to is that it's quite apparent that a lot of people use the "drugs" you speak of without it killing them and their "relationships"?

There is a break in your understanding that someones use of a product, even a "forbidden" one, kills someone else they are no where near. Does my shopping at Wal-Mart mean I killed that poor man in Long Island on Black Friday?

Anonymous said...

Yoy're simply trying to justify to yourself, your illegal use of drugs. If everyone stopped using illegal drugs, the thugs and crime would go away. Simply, for those who can't understand! Perhaps some of your minds are so twisted from using illegal drugs, that you fail to comprehend anything.

Anonymous said...

1225: You need to sleep it off....let the drugs lose their effects before you engage your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

11:37 and 11:45

Nice try at minimizing the words of someone who disagrees with you. But it's not an argument that makes you "right". In fact, it's not an argument at all, it's only an attempt at a desperate ad homonym attack and it only shows that you can't face the truth or debate logically against it.

If someone disagrees with you, they must be on drugs?

Anonymous said...

"Drug use is rampant, crime is rampant, families are torn apart. We must have law and order if our society is to survive." And I have a plan, first we demonstrate against the druggies and their families. We allow them three days to sell off their property and relocate. Those that remain and cannot change we will relocate them, to a more controlled location for work and education.
my plan is in my book, all you need to do is substitute the words drug user for juden. A. Hitler, author of the best selling book of the 1930's Mein Kamp.

Seriously, folks, prohibition has never worked, you can't legislate morality. See the site for more information.

No I don't use drugs.

Anonymous said...

"Yoy're simply trying to justify to yourself, your illegal use of drugs."

Actually, no. I'm not.

I'm stating my perception, grounded firmly in reality, that it's prohibition and all that it breeds, like corruption, inflated profit for some on both sides of the issue, distrust, fear, gang wars, overflowing prisons, the black market, etc., that's causing greater harm than the drug use itself.

That perception did not come from "using illegal drugs", as you irrationally claim, but from looking at the harsh reality of what is happening.

Anonymous said...

"Until the average American wakes up and understands how they created the illegal trade of drugs ...".

I know! I know!

"They created the illegal trade of drugs" when they made it illegal!

Anonymous said...

Funny the ambassador from the United States to Mexico made his comments while on his way out of office.

Typical politician.

Both American consumption and Mexican corruption will ensure this problem for years to come.

Anonymous said...

"If everyone stopped using illegal drugs, the thugs and crime would go away."

Fifty years or so ago, in this area of Texas, I never heard of anyone using illegal drugs or facing arrest for using them, but we definitely had our share of "crime and thugs", as you put it.

When more human behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, it only follows that we have more "criminals" and more people for people like the commenter who said that, to call "thugs".

I really shouldn't bother commenting on such statements. Something my mother used to tell me just came to mind. "Don't approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction."

Not that I'm saying the person who made that statement is a fool or anything. I'm just saying it came to mind.

If I were tempted to say anything about the state of that commenter's thinking processes, I'd have to say I do find them to be exceptionally naive.

Anonymous said...

I think the commenter was referring to criminals/gangs and others who sell drugs as 'thugs', and not the normal, respectable citizens that only misuse illegal drugs, as a past time, or to lose themselves from their worldy guilt, and hard days at work; or to impress their peers.

Anonymous said...

President Nixon, in all his wisdom, created the most catostrophic and costly social program in U.S. History. His "War on Drugs" has been a miserable failure on all counts.Our prison system has increased five fold since it's inception. Yet, crime rate has not diminished. In fact, it's gotten worse.
It's a war we cannot win. Who loses? We all do.