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What are the alternatives?

Thomas Black and Jens Erik Gould have written a curiously bizarre article for Bloomberg.com: Calderon’s Waning Power Lends Urgency to Obama Meeting on Drugs
This article dramatically demonstrates the disconnect when people are unable or unwilling to discuss the options available. The article is about the fact that Calderon may lose power and how that will affect the “success” of the drug war.

“My concern is that Calderon has three years left,” said Michael Braun, who stepped down last year as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s chief of operations. “Everyone has to work as hard as we can, to make as much headway as we can, because we don’t know what’s coming next.”
Time may already be running out after Calderon’s party lost its leading role in Congress in mid-term elections in July, said Jorge Chabat, a political science professor at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching in Mexico City.

Check out the next passage:

Should the National Action Party lose the presidency in 2012, Mexico might revert to its traditional nationalism, pulling back on collaboration with the U.S. and halting the bloody war on drug cartels unleashed by Calderon, he said.

The supposedly scary news is that there might be a halt to the bloody war. Do they realize what they’re saying?
Ah, but then, if you remember, according to our drug warriors, violence is a sign that we’re winning…

The crackdown also has stoked almost 10,000 drug-related murders in the past 18 months as weakened gangs battle for drug routes and retaliate against police.

Weakened. Right. Hmm… Their ability to corrupt the military and police doesn’t make them look all that weak to me. And as long as there is demand, there will be supply, which means that no matter how many cartels are taken down, more will be there to replace them. So this violence solves nothing.
What about other ideas?

“We should rethink a strategy that’s more effective,” Manlio Fabio Beltrones, Senate leader for the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI

And how do the article’s authors react to the notion that there might be another approach?

A PRI victory would probably reverse Calderon’s steps drawing closer to the U.S. to curb the $17.2 billion of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs the U.S. Justice Department estimates cross the border annually.

Because, of course, in their minds there can be no option other than fighting the drug war (despite its failures), so any other option is unacceptable by definition, without even hearing it.
The conclusion of the article is really astonishing. Check out the pathetic plea, here:

Mexico’s only choice is to “grind this out,” Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, said last week in Mexico City.
“What are the alternatives?” he said.

Oh, my. Can you believe that? He knows that the current strategy is horrible, but plaintively wishes that someone would give him an alternative. We’d be happy to, but unfortunately, the answer isn’t in his vocabulary.
….
Things are a little crazy in my neighborhood right now. There’s a fire about three blocks away that’s been raging out of control. After work, I carefully drove over near there to check it out. Not pretty. The firefighters are hard at work, armed to the teeth with assault weapons, fighting the flames. Yet the fire continues to spread.
A block away from the fire, I spotted the fire czar, who was overseeing the attack on the fire, and I asked him how it was going.

“It’s really tough. We’ve been laying down a lot of firepower, yet the fire keeps lashing out and causing more destruction. It’s got to be weakened — nothing could take that kind of punishment unscathed — and it must be that weakened condition that’s causing it to become more violent.”

I asked if he had tried anything else besides shooting at the fire.

“Of course! We’ve tried everything. Grenades seemed to have some good impact and the fire would temporarily subside, but then it would build right back up, and we were losing a lot of people due to the shrapnel.
“Nothing seems to be working. If only there was some other solution.”

So I asked him. Had he tried… water.

“That’s not in my vocabulary…. Seriously, anything at all,” he pleaded in between burst of automatic weapon fire. “Doesn’t anybody have any ideas? We’re losing ground here every minute.”

So I sighed and went home. The fire should reach here later tonight.

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1 comment to What are the alternatives?

  • Price

    Let’s see….No medical use despite all the scientific research available world wide….and we want to put them in charge of health care….Look how they are addressing the sick and dying now…those living in constant pain….they throw them in jail claiming their medicine doesn’t qualify. They throw docs in jail for trying to alleviate pain…Hmmmm. Perhaps they will shoot our animals if we try and get an unscheduled x-ray…Why, given the history of how the government has refused to accept cannabis as medicine despite 3,000 years of clinical trials…..why, why, why, would you want them to take over your health care…think people