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Corporate Successes in the Drug War

The US Congress funds the drug war each year despite knowing for decades about the war’s ineffectiveness and disastrous consequences. How and why such a war continues has long been a matter of debate:

To say that the war on drugs has failed is not understanding something. It is true that for 40 years, the war on drugs has failed in its stated objectives. Everyone knows that prevention and treatment is the most efficient way to address the drug problem, and that foreign operations are the most inefficient way. One has to wonder just what is in the minds of the planners given the amount of evidence that what they are trying to achieve doesn’t work. … The drug war has not failed. … Its consequences are intentional both within the United States and in the hemisphere.—Noam Chomsky, 2012, [Quote–Kindle p. 19].

In his 2019 book, Drug War Pathologies, Embedded Corporatism and U.S. Drug Enforcement in the Americas, Jamaican born author and researcher Horace A. Bartilow says the consequences may not have been intentional. He provides statistical and other evidence that focuses blame for the current drug war on transnational corporations doing business primarily in Latin America:

While drug prohibition is an important component of the U.S. national security state (National Security Act of 1947, P.L. 114-113, Sec 101, 50 U.S.C. 3001), it has evolved into a larger corporatist regime that is predicated on protecting the operations of free market capitalism. American drug enforcement has now become the security face of corporate capitalism and is an important vehicle for leveraging corporate penetration into foreign markets … as well as facilitating international cooperation to combat threats to capitalism that arise from drug trafficking. The principal actors in this corporatist regime are American transnational corporations. The regime also includes policy think tanks, some members of Congress, civil society organizations, religious and political leaders in the African American community, and foreign governments that partner with the United States in the overseas prosecution of the drug war. [Kindle p. 2]

American policy makers, and the larger drug enforcement regime to which they belong, are addicted less to the drug war’s policy failures than to its budgetary successes, in the sense that they have been largely successful in their perennial ability to increase the drug war’s budget. [Kindle p. 21]

With the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allowing dark money donations to politicians, transnational corporations operating in Latin America will have many new opportunities this political season to further exploit the drug war and its victims.

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10 comments to Corporate Successes in the Drug War

  • Daniel Williams

    As someone who has followed Hillary Clinton since the Watergate hearings, the only truth she’s ever uttered is when asked about ending the drug war and said it’d never happen because there’s “too much money in it.”

  • Son of Sam Walton

    Drug money keeps Iraq at war, which keeps their economy so low that it is cheaper to turn Iraqi oil into plastics. And if Bangladesh represents a 3rd world country, then this means Afghanistan is a 6th world country, thus the workers in the mines receive less money. Apple and others have to pay China less money for products when China gets their gold, copper, and lithium from Afghanistan (The New York Times/WSJ).

    If drugs were legalized, then the War on Terror would not exist, being that 60% of their total income comes from drugs. And keeping war in a region lowers the cost of their exports and it allows corporations to exploit weaknesses found in the laws. If American oil workers are making a bit more than minimum wage, then it is better to turn that expensive oil into heavy lubes and fuels. But if holes in the law can pay Iraqi oil workers far less than they should be paid, then much of that oil can go into plastics used in our products and packaging.

    Opiates finance the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, since drug money is 100% protected from economic sanctions and HSBC is more than willing to launder it for both Mexicans, Al Qaeda, and the Russians.

    Marijuana will save us from oil based plastics, which will force politicians to come up with new excuses to go to war and if we legalize drugs, they’ll have to find brand new enemies capable of being financed decade by decade, a war worthy of our very large, very long, and very intrusive presence.

    I Remember this 2018 story of Basra youth (vastly unemployed in the richest city in Iraq) with students who have wonderful chemical engineering degrees who cannot get a job and how one PhD lucky student invented a brand new kind of job never ever seen before in the history of the world: trucks/vans that can sell hot drinks and snacks out of it around the city . . . vehicles that act as restaurants.

    Because these Roach Coaches were created out of more dire needs (to simply live, as apposed to thriving), we’ll go ahead and claim Iraqi millennials as being the first to offer the world the idea of using vehicles to cook and sell food out of. And thus it is so.

  • primus

    I have a friend to whom I have told the story of the Swiss approach to heroin addiction. I know there exists a summary of the story, but I cannot yet find it. I directed him to Drug War Facts.org but it is a bit wordy, and I fear he won’t take the time to wade through it. Currently a safe injection site is proposed for my city, but there is significant push-back. If I could direct people to a well written summary of the benefits of this approach I would use it to help my friends understand. Any help is appreciated.

  • primus

    strayan; thanks, that is exactly what I wanted.

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