By Joe Campbell
February 12th, 2009
As drug violence spirals out of control in Mexico, a commission led by three former Latin American heads of state blasted the U.S.-led drug war as a failure that is pushing Latin American societies to the breaking point.
“The available evidence indicates that the war on drugs is a failed war,” said former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, in a conference call with reporters from Rio de Janeiro. “We have to move from this approach to another one.”
The commission, headed by Mr. Cardoso and former presidents Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and César Gaviria of Colombia, says Latin American governments as well as the U.S. must break what they say is a policy “taboo” and re-examine U.S.-inspired antidrugs efforts. The panel recommends that governments consider measures including decriminalizing the use of marijuana. [my emhpasis]
The complete report (which I haven’t yet reviewed) can be found here (pdf).
The key point is the one I highlighted in the passage above – not only is the Drug War failing – but it is, according to these prominent ex-politicians – and “There’s no one so brave and wise as the politician who’s not running for office and who’s not going to be”) – pushing these neighbors of ours to the breaking point. Which is part of the reason the Joint Operating Environment report by the Department of Defense saw the sudden collapse of Mexico as a possibility in the next year.
The War on Drugs isn’t just failing. The War on Drugs isn’t just causing us to imprison a greater percentage of our population than any other in the world. The War on Drugs isn’t just eroding our laws and institutions. The War on Drugs doesn’t just undermine the War Against Terrorism. The War on Drugs isn’t just making our efforts in Afghanistan harder. The War on Drugs isn’t just wasting law enforcement resources, and costing America gold medals.
No – it is also destabilizing nations right next to us.
This is what makes a reevaluation of our Drug War a national security priority.