Stupid Drug Wars

“bullet” Mexico: Arizona Daily Star

Mexico is mobilizing 6,400 soldiers next week to its northern states in response to a vicious drug war that has left nearly 200 people dead this year, officials said. …

Using Humvees, four-wheel-drive trucks and helicopters, the soldiers will work with agents from the Mexican Federal Attorney General’s Office to destroy drug crops in southern Sonora and launch operations against the clandestine runways drug traffickers use on the border south of Arizona.

The military buildup on the northern border will last one to two months, then the extra soldiers will leave, he said.

It comes during a tenuous time when Mexico’s powerful drug lords battle for control of lucrative areas along the border with the United States.

OK, let me get this straight. There’s violence between rival drug lords due to the profitability of the black market, so you solve that by sending in a bunch of soldiers to destroy crops and then leave? And this will do what to drug prices and profitability? And the violence of the rivals will stop? Hello? Is anybody home?
“bullet” Afghanistan: New York Times

The American military will significantly increase its role in halting the production and sale of poppies, opium and heroin in Afghanistan, responding to bumper harvests that far exceed even the most alarming predictions, according to senior Pentagon officials. …

To support the new effort, the Defense Department is requesting $257 million, more than four times the amount last year, in emergency financing for military assistance to the counternarcotics campaign, in addition to the $15.4 million in the Pentagon’s budget for fiscal 2005, which began last Oct. 1.

Cato responds:

In “Drug Prohibition Is a Terrorist’s Best Friend,” Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato’s vice president for defense and foreign policy studies, explains that “the harsh reality is that terrorist groups around the world have been enriched by prohibitionist drug policies that drive up drug costs, and which deliver enormous profits to the outlaw organizations willing to accept the risks that go with the trade.

“Targeting the Afghanistan drug trade would create a variety of problems. Most of the regional warlords who abandoned the Taliban and currently support the U.S. anti-terror campaign (and in many cases politically undergird the Karzai government) are deeply involved in the drug trade, in part to pay the militias that give them political clout. A crusade against drug trafficking could easily alienate those regional power brokers and cause them to switch allegiances yet again.”

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