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It’s always the money

Nice little article in Time by Aileen Teague, a Ph.D. history student, about the impact on Mexico of the U.S. war on drugs.

How Our War on Drugs Undermines Mexico

But here’s the key point:

And yet last year’s federal drug war budget — topping $25 billion — and the continued efforts of U.S. institutions abroad in the name of drug control, remind us that a war on drugs is still alive and well.

The current system is propped up by many different U.S. and Mexican institutions—police forces, the military, the CIA, the State Department, etc.—each with its own set of interests. Methodical funding cuts would have to be made alongside fundamental revisions of the roles these institutions play for real change to take place. For all of the talk of marijuana legalization and an end to the war on drugs, policies along these lines have yet to be established, let alone brought more fully into the global drug debate.

Exactly. For long-term meaningful change, it’s the budgets we hae to tackle, and there are very entrenched interests involved. I’ve been through some government budget excercises before and it’s rather amazing how hard it can be to cut agencies’ funding – it becomes a political nightmare regarding affected jobs and communities rather than being about actually spending the money in ways that provide value in terms of the larger picture.

Of course, if the DEA continues to piss off the Senate, maybe it’ll get a little easier to start making the kinds of cuts we need to make.

And it doesn’t hurt for us to raise the issue of wasteful spending on the corrupt drug war every chance we get.

Personally, when talking about fiscal implications, I prefer talking about savings from eliminating drug war wasted and corruption rather than talking about tax revenues from legalization, even though I realize that it’s the mere hint of talk about cutting budgets that gets the lobbyists who protect drug warrior jobs out of bed each morning.

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9 comments to It’s always the money

  • Servetus

    Eliminating drug war waste and corruption eliminates the drug war because that’s all it really is, waste and corruption.

  • claygooding

    You have too take into account that the drug market feeds a lot of families in Mexico and the corruption money keeps the politicians from ending it.

    Same as here.

    I wonder how many families of federal employees involved in the drug war are living on the blood money?

  • divadab

    It’s doubly hard to change the federal edifice because the legislators are more concerned with scoring political points and serving their clients than doing actual practical governing. The War on Drugs is a corrupt subsystem of a larger corrupt system that pretends to be democratic but is really a permanent secret government. Only tangentially related to the government as presented on the teevee.

  • “I’ve been through some government budget exercises before and it’s rather amazing how hard it can be to cut agencies’ funding – it becomes a political nightmare regarding affected jobs and communities rather than being about actually spending the money in ways that provide value in terms of the larger picture.”

    My full comment on that brilliant statement is in my most recent journal post… https://spiritwave.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/real-people-doing-really-wrong-things/

    For your reading convenience, here’s a nice small taste of the content immediately following that aforementioned brilliance…

    You will probably often read me stating that prior to achieving national presidential status, Mr. Obama claimed the war on some drugs to be an “utter failure”. An incomplete set of logical points suggests (typically how logic is leveraged btw and fwiw) that upon reaching the most nationally powerful position (at least in presentation), a righteous press towards ending that war makes perfect sense.

    When I say abusive favoritism, that “political nightmare” is a prime example. We do not need to talk about evil power figures horribly laughably enjoying the destruction of our nation by judicial strangulation due to an internal (not national) agenda-driven complexity in law that never stops branching into our “free” lives. We do not need to demonize proponents for the war on some drugs (most of whom apparently make their living from that war), even though they most certainly unethically demonize us.

    We do need to communicate the whole truth (and nothing but) with those proponents and the rest of the public, and demonstrate those proponents’ lives are demonstrably dedicated to an evil perpetual machine that presents itself as “protagonistic”, but obviously remains permanently the antagonist defying public safety (drug abuse has not diminished and law abuse has, and continues to, ruin many lives).

  • Servetus

    A new drug war objection has emerged due to the executions in Bali. Drug war tyranny has caught the attention of human rights volunteers working throughout the world to eliminate the death penalty. Some of the volunteers are mothers whose sons or daughters fell prey to death penalties meted out for drug trafficking. The mother of one of the Bali Nine is featured in an article entitled “Mothers of Resistance” by Samantha Serra:

    10 May 2015 — Christine Rush has known the pain of a son sentenced to death. She is the mother of Scott Rush, one of the “Bali Nine,” a group of nine Australians convicted of drug smuggling in Indonesia. Her son was 19 at the time of his arrest. He was eventually able to overturn his death sentence on appeal, and is now sentenced to life imprisonment. Two of the Bali Nine, however, remained sentenced to death, and on April 29, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad as they sang “Amazing Grace.”

    Christine and her husband Lee have had to carry a heavy burden surrounding the case: It was their concern for their son that led them to reach out to a friend – asking for help – which then unleashed the chain of events that led to the arrest of the nine in Bali. They had hoped their son would be detained before leaving Australia; they say they were told he would be stopped before boarding the plane to Indonesia. But that never happened[…]

    In Cuba, Australia, Central America and around the world, women remain on the front lines of justice work. All these mothers of resistance – with their courage and determination – are warriors in the fight for a better and more equitable tomorrow for the next generation.

    Christine and Lee Rush made the mistake of trusting the authorities, authorities who were mere robots fueled by moral panics and government disinformation designed to repress minorities and youthful rebels. The Rush family and others are paying the penalty for that trust. The authorities are paying a price as well. With the plight of the Bali Nine, prohibitionists have drawn death penalty abolition groups into an alliance with activists protesting the drug war.

    • Hope

      “Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad as they sang “Amazing Grace.””

      Oh, my God! (Not an expletive.)

  • kaptinemo

    The pressure being created by reform is flushing all the prohib parasites out into the open. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the loudest voices in support of it are those who are its greatest material beneficiaries.

    A point underscored by Kevvie’s not-very-skillful attempt to hide those fat-cat material beneficiaries donating to his ’cause’ behind a 501c4 PAC group. It won’t work; the basic principle stands: the grifters will be outed by their own efforts to conceal themselves. A point which can be made without any ambiguity.