Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Drugs Wars: The Killing that Politics Won't Stop

I don't like to cite the Telegraph much as it's global-warming denialism (amongst other things) annoys me muchly. However in the 7th March Magazine they had a good article about the drug wars in Mexico. I can't seem to find a link to it on their website. Anyway, the article covers familiar territory - the killings, rampant police corruption, the decent into chaos. The article claims that more people are dying in Mexico's drug wars than in Iraq. It is a nightmare for the people living there. This article giving a flavour of events, 'Mexican drug wars create demand for hitman and acid baths'.

The article had a very interesting paragraph as part of a section on how the problems might be solved;

"So what about legalisation? Presumably it would have the same effect as repealing prohibition against alcohol in the 1930s; the end of the black market, the withering away of organised crime and violence associated with bootlegging. By removing the profits from drug trafficking, legalisation would remove the lion's share of Mexico's ailing economy, but all of this is moot because legalising drugs in America is a political impossibility."

Sadly also here in the UK. Witness the mess over simply changing cannabis from class B to class C and back again: Lots of comment from the political elite and zero difference on the street.

Perhaps it is no surprise that drugs are often found linked to black-ops and covert intelligence? Witness the Iran-Contra affair - the US intelligence trading drugs for money for hostages for weapons to support their flawed foreign policy;

[Iran-Contra] began as an operation to improve U.S.-Iranian relations, wherein Israel would ship weapons to a relatively moderate, politically influential group of Iranians; the U.S. would then resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of six U.S. hostages, who were being held by the Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah. The plan eventually deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages. Large modifications to the plan were conjured by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.

Given legalisation/decriminalisation would solve the problems prettily easily - but deprive the political class of a powerful tool of fear and money - is that why such an obvious solution to such a major problem is never tried?


Anonymous said...

I believe the majority of politicians agree that the war on drugs is lost and prohibition should be repealed but they do not want to be the first to say so. If they do, their opponents will label them as "soft on crime" and there goes their ability to get re-elected. The people must lead and then the politicians will follow.

anarchist said...

I agree with the sentiment. Thanks.