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GAO fails to understand what it measures

The AP discusses a GAO report:

The report prepared by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, found that U.S. cocaine seizures from 2000 to 2004 increased by 68 percent to a record 196 metric tons in the “transit zone,” the area between the U.S. and South America.

But the Pentagon’s attention to armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Homeland Security Department’s focus on Hurricane Katrina threaten to undermine recent achievements, the GAO said in its report.

The report, an advance copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, offers a sobering look at the future of government efforts to stymie America’s $65 billion illegal drug habit. It notes that while drug seizures have increased, U.S. cocaine supplies and the number of users (2 million) have not fallen, apparently due to a rise in shipments.

Do they even see how clueless they appear? The government continues to look at quantities of drugs seized as if that was a measure of “winning.” And then they act baffled that the prices and availability have, somehow, not been significantly affected.
Drug traffickers treat seizures in much the same way that department stores account for shoplifting — as a normal write-off in their business.

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