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So how’s that "war on drugs" going?
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Misha Glenny has spent the last 3 years traveling the world and researching that question. The verdict: The same one Harry Reid reached about Iraq. The war on drugs has been lost.
Thirty-six years and hundreds of billions of dollars after President Richard M. Nixon launched the war on drugs, consumers worldwide are taking more narcotics and criminals are making fatter profits than ever before. The syndicates that control narcotics production and distribution reap the profits from an annual turnover of $400 billion to $500 billion. And terrorist organizations such as the Taliban are using this money to expand their operations and buy ever more sophisticated weapons, threatening Western security.
Nice huh? You need to read the whole article, but suffice it to say, we're our own worst enemy when it comes to trying to legally control behavior. As we learned in the '20s you can legally prohibit whatever you want, but that won't stop the market from functioning. All it does is ensure that criminals will have employment and become rich. And as Glenny points out, that's precisely what this war has done.
The problem starts with prohibition, the basis of the war on drugs. The theory is that if you hurt the producers and consumers of drugs badly enough, they'll stop doing what they're doing. But instead, the trade goes underground, which means that the state's only contact with it is through law enforcement, i.e. busting those involved, whether producers, distributors or users. But so vast is the demand for drugs in the United States, the European Union and the Far East that nobody has anything approaching the ability to police the trade.

Prohibition gives narcotics huge added value as a commodity. Once traffickers get around the business risks — getting busted or being shot by competitors — they stand to make vast profits. A confidential strategy report prepared in 2005 for British Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet and later leaked to the media offered one of the most damning indictments of the efficacy of the drug war. Law enforcement agencies seize less than 20 percent of the 700 tons of cocaine and 550 tons of heroin produced annually. According to the report, they would have to seize 60 to 80 percent to make the industry unprofitable for the traffickers.

Supply is so plentiful that the price of a gram of heroin is plummeting in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom. As for cocaine, according to the UNODC, the street price of a gram in the United States is now less than $70, compared with $184 in 1990. Adjusted for inflation, that's a threefold drop.
You have to wonder when we'll actually wake up to the fact that other than imprisoning a large portion of our population for an essentially non-violent crime, all we've managed to do over the years is fatten the wallets and increase the power of criminals.

And the government's effort is the usual inefficient but expensive and ineffective boondoggle we've come to expect. For instance, consider "Plan Columbia", "$4.7 billion worth of drug-fighting assistance that the United States gave to Colombia over the first half-decade of this new century."

What did the GAO find?
According to the Government Accountability Office, 70 percent of the money allotted to Plan Colombia never leaves the United States. It is used to buy U.S.-built helicopters and other weapons for the military, and a large chunk is paid to the security firm DynCorp. Britain and other E.U. countries have so far resisted spraying Afghan poppy fields with chemicals. But for several years, DynCorp has been spraying the herbicide glyphosate on thousands of acres of coca in Colombia.

The impact of the eradication program has been negligible at best. The FARC not only continues to control a swath of territory the size of Switzerland in south-central Colombia, but it has established itself in the north as well. The United Nations has identified coca plantations in 24 of the country's 32 provinces, whereas it was grown in only six when spraying began.
Impressed? Yeah, me too. And, of course, we all know who the narco-bosses have now teamed up with throughout the world. Yup, they've become a conduit which helps fund terror organizations.

So what's to be done? Unfortunately there's a political reality that needs to be addressed which is, of course, the largest and most intractable problem we face:
In Washington, the war on drugs has been a third-rail issue since its inauguration. It's obvious why — telling people that their kids can do drugs is the kiss of death at the ballot box. But that was before 9/11. Now the drug war is undermining Western security throughout the world. In one particularly revealing conversation, a senior official at the British Foreign Office told me, "I often think we will look back at the War on Drugs in a hundred years' time and tell the tale of 'The Emperor's New Clothes.' This is so stupid."
No kidding. But here we are repeating history because, apparently, we didn't learn from it previously.
 
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Interesting. I used to work for DynCorp, but for their postal division, nothing military.

The government’s best laid out job is to protect us from the criminals. Those who violently attack people are pretty easy to hunt down and those who swindle and cheat the system eventually get caught. So, the government expands what is considered a criminal so that their level of reach expands.

This isn’t a conspiracy theory. I don’t believe there’s a smoky room filled with stodgy old white men debating how to further their grip on society. I see it as a simple evolution of handing someone power - they’ll feel justified in expanding it regardless.

The drug war is just part of that need of government to expand its reach. Because we constantly give our representatives the power to "protect us" from things like second hand smoke and cheap guns, why shouldn’t they feel that they have the right to expand that control over to what hole you can poke or what drugs you can take?
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
The War on Drugs may be failing, but the chances that laws banning the use of many drugs will not be overturned any time soon, no matter how loudly this is shouted. There are simply too many concerns that voters have that will not be easily changed.
 
Written By: CR UVa
URL: http://TheRedStater.blogspot.com/
There are simply too many concerns that voters have that will not be easily changed.
Of course that’s the intractable political reality I mention. That doesn’t change the nature of the beast as described though. It’s a loser, it is getting worse and it is now threatening our security as well. Time to rethink this and, as mentioned, pay a little attention to history instead of mindlessly repeating a previous failure.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Admit it. You’re just mad no one sent you a bong from the festival.

:)
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I’ve never been a fan of legalization of drugs but maybe there is some merit to it. Education about the danger of drugs should begin at home and for those who fall through the cracks .... the money saved from the WOD and an overloaded prison system can be used to help addicts at a fraction of the cost.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
The same one Harry Reid reached about Iraq. The war on drugs has been lost.
One cannot help but wonder if the observations aren’t equally valid on both subjects.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
As we learned in the ’20s you can legally prohibit whatever you want, but that won’t stop the market from functioning. All it does is ensure that criminals will have employment and become rich. And as Glenny points out, that’s precisely what this war has done.
The problem starts with prohibition, the basis of the war on drugs. The theory is that if you hurt the producers and consumers of drugs badly enough, they’ll stop doing what they’re doing. But instead, the trade goes underground, which means that the state’s only contact with it is through law enforcement...
You could just as easily be describing the labor market and the smuggling of illegal immigrants here.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
If you can guarantee Recreational Drugs Use or Pulic Assistance but not both, then I might get onboard. Otherwise no.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
OK, since people insist on making the comparison,
The DEA lied, people died.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
One cannot help but wonder if the observations aren’t equally valid on both subjects.
Yes, perhaps they are equally valid, but I’ll give the Iraq War a little more time, but the WOD has has decades to prove it’s pointlessness and inefficacy.
You could just as easily be describing the labor market and the smuggling of illegal immigrants here.
Agreed, it’s the market stupid, as long as the market is there, it will be served.

I think the difference is that you may be able to close the market for illegal employment, but we are not ever going to eliminate the market for narcotics, so we need a different way to deal with it, not spending hundreds of billions of dollars each decade on it would be a start. Freeing everyone in prison who is guilty of drugs only crimes would be a good next step.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
I think the difference is that you may be able to close the market for illegal employment, but we are not ever going to eliminate the market for narcotics
We can never eliminate the demand side for illegal narcots, but in theory we could put the narco-syndicates out of business on the supply side. After all, we control Afghanistan. We could provide all kinds of drugs at a lower price and more reliable purity, driving the crime syndicates out of business and propping up the Afghan economy at the same time.

With respect to the market for illegal labor we could close it by removing the burden from employers of administering various different entitlements, so that there would no longer be a significant cost difference between hiring an employee on the books or hiring one off the books. If there was a level playing field at least we would finally know for sure which jobs Americans didn’t want to do.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
With respect to the market for illegal labor we could close it by removing the burden from employers of administering various different entitlements, so that there would no longer be a significant cost difference between hiring an employee on the books or hiring one off the books. If there was a level playing field at least we would finally know for sure which jobs Americans didn’t want to do.
A level playing field is the necessary to eliminate the market of illegal labor, but getting there won’t be easy, and almost certainly would not include eliminating SS, Medicare, etc. I expect it would be prohibitive fines for those that do hire illegals and of course, enforcement.

I like the entitelment elimination suggestion though, it’s a nice thought.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Another problem with legalisation is that we go from this situation where the state is wastefully using massive police powers to harrass a few to a new situation where the state will be profitting (through taxes) on the sale of mind altering and addictive drugs to the many.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Aldo:
You could just as easily be describing the labor market and the smuggling of illegal immigrants here.
Cap:
Agreed, it’s the market stupid, as long as the market is there, it will be served.
Aldo, Cap: Here’s a little something to chew on. Thai fruitpickers were flown into the Yakima Valley here in Washington State. The illegals got pissed and sued AND WON. Where is Buttcrack Jack when you need him to explain that no job is guaranteed?
Read and discuss.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
A federal judge this week found Los Angeles-based Global Horizons, and growers Valley Fruit Orchards of Wapato and Green Acre Farms of Harrah, both in Yakima County, in violation of state and federal labor laws,
Are you suggesting that these companies were not violating laws?

As far illegals particpating in the outcome, it’s clear that this "status" thing is a widespread opinion.

I have often wondered why, when we know someone is illegal, people do nothing about it... now I know, they are not in violation of any laws just for being in America, regardless of whether they entered illegally.

It really does make sense now, that no one except INS can do anything with illegals, because they are NOT illegals, and they hadn’t been since they successfully crossed the border.

Interesting,

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Cap said:
A federal judge this week found Los Angeles-based Global Horizons, and growers Valley Fruit Orchards of Wapato and Green Acre Farms of Harrah, both in Yakima County, in violation of state and federal labor laws,

Are you suggesting that these companies were not violating laws?
No Cap, I’m suggesting that the market place is not the utopia you make it out to be. There is a lot of politickin’ goin’ on which clearly corrupts the market place. You had to know how deep Cesar Chavez’ UFW was into this and how much politicians were "swayed" by their "arguments." Of course, on the opposite was agribusiness and Global. Looks like big business lost again.
I just think it’s kind of interesting. I moved here from Alaska and had no idea this was going on in Washington. Flying fruit pickers in from Thailand. Amazing.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://

If you can guarantee Recreational Drugs Use or Pulic Assistance but not both, then I might get onboard. Otherwise no.
Amen. You can also add being "under the influence" of anything, including alcohol, as an aggravating circumstance to any crime. Run over someone with your car while stoned, go straight to the chair for murder one.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
No Cap, I’m suggesting that the market place is not the utopia you make it out to be.
If you think I consider the market to be a self policing utopia, you don’t know me very well.

I generally argue that the market is incapable of policing itself, as there are ALWAYS external influences like politics and other interests seeking advantage. In other words, there is no such thing as a free market, there has been, and there never will be. It is always corrupted in some ways, sometimes by the very construct of the market itself.

My main argument about illegal immigration is that pressure must be brought to bear on the labor market, to make it prohibitively expensive to hire illegals, and also to make illegals easier to identify (this part scares me), in order to close the labor market to illegal immigrants. If this were accomplished, then they simply would not be coming, and border enforcement would be rendered irrelevant.
Looks like big business lost again.
Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://

 
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