In her incisive March 16 column, The Slaughter On The Southern Border, Michelle Malkin again asks why both President Bush and Obama supported the failed Merida policy of subsidizing Mexican law enforcement. She writes:
"With bipartisan support, the Bush administration handed over $1.6 billion to help Mexico control its border chaos in 2008. The crime-fighting package known as the "Merida Initiative" funded helicopters, surveillance equipment, computer infrastructure, the expansion of intelligence databases, anti-corruption initiatives, human rights education and training, and an anti-money laundering program for our southern neighbors.
"President Obama accelerated the release of Merida Initiative cash to Mexico and tossed even more taxpayer funding into the mix. All of this while our own measly border enforcement initiatives have been shortchanged, demagogued or completely abandoned.
"Critics of the Merida Initiative (including yours truly) warned that lax oversight would lead to inevitable plundering of the money by corrupt Mexican government officials and more unabated bloodshed. Calderon cried 'racist!' and demanded that the aid be forked over with no strings attached: 'Give it to me. And give it to me without conditions,' he told Congress."
One of my friends, when we were discussing this deplorable situation, said: "I guess we will have to invade Mexico." Talk about adding another bad idea to the Merida Initiative!
Perhaps the most important or doing so: is that if drugs were cheap, the addicts would not have to steal to get their fixes. Imagine! If you want to ruin your life on drugs, do it! On the cheap. So long as you don't drive a car or commit other felonies, getting blotto on your own time and place is OK!
Not only that, but one of America's leading social commentators, Nobel economist, the late Milton Friedman once noted that present policy causes drugs of the worst quality to be sold to the users. [Prohibition and Drugs, by Milton Friedman, Newsweek, May 1, 1972] American manufacturers could satisfy the demand we created and get better quality for it, drugs that can be taxed like Jim Beam and cigarettes at a time when we need the money.
Why do we persist in thinking that drug busts or attacking the powerful cartels mean progress? We, the USA users, have created the market. But we won't take responsibility for this reality.
When will we gain the wisdom of our grandparents, who finally in 1933 realized that Prohibition wasn't going to work?
We repealed, with the 21st Amendment the ill-fated 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, which had been ratified in January, 1919. It was the only US Constitutional Amendment ever to be repealed by Congress.
Maybe as we get a bit farther down in our depressed economy, we will be smart enough to do the same with drugs.
Repealing all the dangerous drugs prohibitions will take the huge cash flow away from all the present marketers of those drugs, not only Mexico but the Taliban and other drug selling criminals. Today's Prohibition equivalent of the Al Capone Mafia, the MS 13 gangs and others, would be crippled without this money. And don't forget, the main pushers in America are 14-17 year old kids, often killed in the street-sale melee that our present laws create.
If you really want to get the truth about this sensitive issue, go to the web page of LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (motto: Cops Say Legalize Drugs) and learn about this 10,000-member nonprofit organization, composed mainly of law enforcement officials, ex-cops and judges. (Milton Friedman was, prior to his death a member of LEAP.) In their YouTube presentations, they will powerfully and eloquently tell you about why this idiot War On Drugs initiated under President Nixon in the early 1970s must be ended.
How lousy is the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) record: Per Wikipedia:
"In 2005, the DEA seized a reported $1.4 billion in drug trade related assets and $477 million worth of drugs."
"However, according to the White House's Office of Drug Control Policy, the total value of all of the drugs sold in the U.S. is as much as $64 billion a year, making the DEA's efforts to intercept the flow of drugs into and within the U.S. less than 1% effective. DEA maintains 21 domestic field divisions with 227 field offices and 86 foreign offices in 62 countries. With a budget exceeding 2.415 billion dollars, DEA employs over 10,800 people, including over 5,500 special agents".". [Wikipedia: Drug Enforcement Administration— Impact on the drug trade, accessed March 24, 2010]
LESS THAN 1% EFFECTIVE. We spend $2 or $3 billion a year to stop $64 billion, which by the way represents just about the annual sales of one large S&P 500 company, but only stop ONE PERCENT of $64 billion.
Taxable drugs, less cost, less crime. What's the down side?
Oh, sure, there is always a downside. Less profits for the drug sellers, less graft for those officials on the take on both sides of the border, and less business for teen age inner city drug dealers. But this would not mean that a person using drugs who commits a vehicular homicide for example would not be prosecuted.
The legalization of marijuana is in the process of happening in many US jurisdictions. As the Wall Street Journal's front page story on March 19 reports:
"Medical marijuana is now legal in 15 states for patients suffering certain conditions, including, in Colorado, chronic pain. More than 60,000 Coloradans have doctor recommendations allowing them to buy marijuana; physicians are approving about 400 new patients a day. Pot shops have popped up all over, including at least 230 here in the Mile High City." [In Mile High City, Weed Sparks Up A Counterculture Clash]
So why not opt for the full legalization of all drugs now? It's what the money-fat so-called drug "king pins" fear most
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.