U.S.-led “war on drugs” questioned at U.N.
Leaders from Central and South America want the US led war on drugs debated at the United Nations.
(Reuters) – The presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala all called for a vigorous global debate of anti-narcotics laws at the United Nations on Wednesday, raising new questions about the wisdom of the four-decade-old, U.S.-led “war on drugs.”
Although none of the leaders explicitly called for narcotics to be legalized, they suggested at the U.N. General Assembly that they would welcome wholesale changes to policies that have shown scant evidence of limiting drug flows while contributing to massive violence throughout Latin America.
“It is our duty to determine – on an objective scientific basis – if we are doing the best we can or if there are better options to combat this scourge,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said.
The War on Drugs is one we lost years ago. There are not fewer drugs and they are not more expensive. What it has created is violence and drug cartels.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who leaves office on December 1 after spending much of his presidency locked in a bloody battle with drug-smuggling gangs, called on the United Nations to lead a global debate over a less “prohibitionist” approach to drugs.
Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina echoed Calderon’s call and went even further, saying that “the basic premise of our war against drugs has proved to have serious shortcomings.”
The speeches, which were a few hours apart, constituted some of the most public challenges to date of anti-drug policies that have been mostly unchanged since the 1970s.
Well, at the very least, it makes sense to recognize the fact that the War On (Some) Drugs has been a vast and monumental failure for the vast majority of the 40-odd years that we’ve been fighting it. Here in the United States, it’s led to massive increases in crime and strengthened the position of various criminal gangs in the same manner that Prohibition strengthened the power of the Mafia in the 1920s. It’s led to massive increases in our prison population and ruined the lives of countless numbers of mostly young black men thrown into prison for little more than mere possession. It has led to further erosion of civil liberties in the name of “fighting crime” as well as a dangerous militarization of the police as they adopt tactics more appropriate to a military squad then a police force. Politically, it has led to a rise in public corruption just as Prohibition resulted in countless police and government officials being “in the pocket” of the bootleggers and willing to look the other way on smuggling for a share of the profits of the criminal enterprise. Through it all, drug us has not decreased one bit. Indeed, it has demonstrably increased nearly every year since President Nixon took the nation down this path.
Here in Oregon vast areas of public land are off limits to hunters and hikers because heavly armed cartel members are growing marijuana and law enforcement doesn’t have the resources to patrol it. A majority of the border problems in the Southwest are now drug related.
This is just another war we can never win.
Cross posted at Middle Earth Journal