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Too Many Wars Waged

Gary Howard
Campaign For Liberty
May 29, 2010

The “War on Drugs,” like the “War on Terror,” ends up being an undertaking with no definable victory in sight. No matter how vigorously the federal government prosecutes its “war” on drugs, people will still use drugs. No matter how vigorously the federal government pursues the “war” on terror there will still be those who want to commit terrorist acts to get their points across.

Thus, we have two “wars” with infinite reach that use the threats engendered by their very own existence to justify their actions.

In the meantime, numerous lives are lost like so much “collateral” damage–a phrase that should be abhorred by anyone who wants to think and speak seriously about such things. I would wager that damage doesn’t seem so collateral when it’s your brother, or mother, or cousin, etc.

We have now, on display, the cost of the ongoing war on drugs.

In Mexico, the violence is disastrous and spilling over the border, but the cost of drug war-related violence has already been a reality for a lot of Americans who are unfortunate enough to live in neighborhoods where such violence is the norm. The only difference now is that Mexican violence is encroaching on popular spring break destinations as well as the U.S. southern border; hence many American lawmakers are apt to take notice.

Under pressure from the U.S. government, Mexico’s government decided to “crack down” on drug gangs in its country. This only resulted in Mexican law enforcement cracking down on the gangs that don’t pay them, in favor of the ones that do.

Well, you say, “of course, because drugs lead to corruption” — no, it’s the drug laws that lead to corruption. We saw this with prohibition, and we have been seeing it with the illegal drug trade, yet many refuse to admit the obvious.

The criminalization of drug use and sale does not halt such activity. It simply creates a black market aptly taken over by criminal elements that operate on a level they know best–violence and corruption.

Mexico has become the epicenter of the drug war, just like Columbia before it. Columbia lost its infamous title, not due to any particular competence by Mexico’s drug gangs but because of the U.S. government’s intervention-which helped to weaken the Columbians, and U.S. authorities congratulated themselves. But ultimately, this only moved the problem even closer to our own borders.

The price we pay is a situation that is proving deadly for both Mexican and American citizens alike.

Now that the Obama administration is deploying National Guard troops to the Mexican border, some are torn between welcoming the needed border enforcement and realizing that the intervention will likely just move across the border in due time. This will simply lead to more problems than it might solve, and probably won’t do anything to actually secure the border.

Another current illustration of this is happening in Jamaica, where a bloody riot has gone on for days, pitting law enforcement against an alleged local drug gang leader and his supporters. This battle was incited by Jamaican authorities’ attempt to extradite the gang leader to the United States.

The Jamaican government initially refused the U.S. government’s request, but after further pressure by the U.S. State Department (I do not doubt it involved a threat of some kind), Jamaican leaders relented. The drug ‘don’ and his supporters reacted with force to the force by authorities he’s likely been working with for years – it is well known that no one wins political office in Jamaica without support of local dons. Once again, corruption comes into play and the people pay the price.

The U.S. government uses its strength and position in the world to force other countries to do what it wants. Regardless of the situation, the U.S. government feels entitled to behave in such a way.

So here’s the run down:

Since some Americans have an appetite for narcotics, and the U.S. government believes such to be its business, the U.S. government has the right to violate individual rights like property and privacy, mandate lengthy prison terms for non-violent/non-larcenous activities, turn American neighborhoods into semi-police states, create a black market that creates criminal gangs more powerful than law enforcement in many countries-ultimately corrupting the legal and political process, then coerce those countries into trying to clamp down on their drug dealers, causing epidemic violence and record murders of that country’s citizens.

That’s the logic, and it is illogical.

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