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September 2007



Cost-benefit analysis


MEXICO CITY Ö A government-run human rights commission accused soldiers of rape and torture today and recommended the army be pulled out of Mexico’s nationwide drug war.

What’s a little rape and torture? After all, isn’t it worth some raping and torture if it means that the Mexican government is able to make it look like they’re making a valiant though unsuccessful effort to make it a little bit harder for Americans to buy Mexican pot?
I mean, it’s just rape and torture. It’s not like they’re killing anybody.

The fourth case already has been widely reported. On the night of June 1, on a deserted highway in the western state of Sinaloa, soldiers opened fire on a pickup truck packed with people, killing two women and three children.

OK, but they’re not killing a lot of people. And nobody important. Just women and children…

Weller is leaving

A follow-up to yesterday’s post — A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller has confirmed that he will not seek re-election.

The absurdity of not being allowed to even consider all the options

The United States Government Accountability Office has prepared a report U.S. Assistance Has Helped Mexican Counternarcotics Efforts, but Tons of Illicit Drugs Continue to Flow into the United States
It starts out by assessing the realities:

According to the U.S. interagency counternarcotics community, hundreds of tons of illicit drugs flow from Mexico into the United States each year, and seizures in Mexico and along the U.S. border have been relatively small. The following illustrates some trends since 2000:

The estimated amount of cocaine arriving in Mexico for transshipment to the United States averaged about 275 metric tons per year. Reported seizures averaged about 36 metric tons a year.
The estimated amount of export quality heroin and marijuana produced in Mexico averaged almost 19 metric tons and 9,400 metric tons per year, respectively. Reported heroin seizures averaged less than 1 metric ton and reported marijuana seizures averaged about 2,900 metric tons a year.
Although an estimate of the amount of methamphetamine manufactured in Mexico has not been prepared, reported seizures along the U.S. border rose from about 500 kilograms in 2000 to highs of almost 2,900 kilograms in 2005 and about 2,700 kilograms in 2006. According to U.S. officials, this more than fivefold increase indicated a dramatic rise in supply.

In addition, corruption persists within the Mexican government and challenges Mexico‰s efforts to curb drug production and trafficking. Moreover, Mexican drug trafficking organizations operate with relative impunity along the U.S. border and in other parts of Mexico, and have expanded their illicit business to almost every region of the United States.

Now, any sane person, business, or organized entity, when confronted with a picture that dire, would sincerely want options — all options.
But the United States Government isn’t sane, so even a major accountability report is not allowed to consider certain options.
This report goes on for over 40 pages, detailing all the failures of the drug war. The corruption. The waste. The lack of results.
And at the end of all of that, here is the totality of the GAO’s recommendations:

To help counter the increasing threat of illicit drugs reaching the United States from Mexico, we recommend that the Director of ONDCP, as the lead agency for U.S. drug policy, in conjunction with the cognizant departments and agencies in the U.S. counternarcotics interagency community, coordinate with the appropriate Mexican officials before completing the Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy‰s implementation plan to help ensure Mexico‰s cooperation with any efforts that require it and address the cooperation issues we identified. To help maximize ongoing U.S. assistance programs, such efforts should include, but not be limited to (1) promoting greater cooperation and coordination between Defense and the Mexican military services; (2) agreeing to a maritime cooperation agreement; (3) resolving the personnel status issue to allow aerial patrols along the U.S.-Mexico border to resume; and (4) reviewing Mexico‰s overall aviation requirements for interdiction purposes and determining how best the United States can assist.

If only we cooperated better, it would all be fixed. Right.
And of course, not once were the words “legalize” or “regulate” included in the document. Because actually considering real solutions is not allowed.

[Thanks to Hit and Run]

Open Thread

“bullet” I was planning on writing about New Zealand drug warrior Jaqui Dean, who was completely taken in by the Dihydrogen Monoxide joke and moved to ban water, but Steve R at Transform is all over it. Just go there and read (complete with copies of letters). “bullet” Read about LEAP’s Howard Woolridge’s short conversation […]