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Combating Mexico's Cartels

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a press conference in Mexico City on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. Clinton said that the drug cartels responsible for increasing violence in the border region are fighting not just Mexican military and law enforcement but also the United States. (AP

In Mexico, “drug war” is not a turn of phrase. It’s a war.

Eighteen thousand Mexicans have died — been killed — since President Felipe Calderon went to war with the drug cartels. That’s war.

Ten days ago, three people with ties to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez were killed. Yesterday, an unprecedented crew of top American security brass descended on Mexico City — Hillary Clinton, the secretary of defense, the director of national intelligence, the secretary of homeland security, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So, what now? This hour, On Point: War at the border. Mexico and the drug cartels.

Guests:

Joining us from Mexico City is Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News.

From Washington we’re joined by Samuel Logan, senior writer for the International Relations and Security Network (ISN), and founder of Southern Pulse | Networked Intelligence, an organization that gathers news and intelligence on Latin America. He’s author of “This is for the Mara Salvatrucha: Inside the MS-13, America’s Most Violent Gang.”

And from Vail, Colo., we’re joined by Jorge Castañeda, former Foreign Minister of Mexico under President Vicente Fox (2000-2003). He’s currently Professor of Politics and Latin Studies at New York University and a fellow at the New America Foundation.

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  • cory

    This is great news! I’m sure that this new push will result in a victorious end to the war on drugs. Our massive expenditures going back to the 80′s of men, money, and material will now result in the end of illegal drug use in America. Hallelujah!

  • libby@sertoron.edu

    I am against the Government’s taking over the Invasion Process of other nations; this will bancrupt us.

    It should be left to the market forces. If the foreign nation wants to be invaded, there should be bidding process and let the private sector deal with it.

    Abolish the Department of Offense. It is unconstitutional. State Attorney General’s sue the Federal Government, all 50 of them.

    Get Out of Other Countries (Iraq, Afghanistan)

  • Brian

    The war on drugs has been a moral and economic disaster for this country. It really needs to be rethought.

  • Brett

    libby,
    They are not Generals who happen to be attorneys! They are the leading legal advisors in a state/the country, they have general power of attorney. So, the plural is “Attorneys General.” General is an adjective which modifies attorney.

  • Janet

    The U.S. Military had a huge drug problem in the 1970′s until they cracked down on the casual drug users in their ranks. The USA needs to really crack down on the casual drug users and eliminate this problem once and for all.

  • hoodoo

    Janet, hopefully the USA has had enough of that failed approach and the citizenry as well. We just can’t afford it anymore.

  • jeffe

    Good luck. These gangs are here in the US, it’s our problem as well.

    There is no solution to this. There is to much money and these cartels seem to get more violent with every passing year. We don’t hear about it to much but the week that the American counsel was murdered I read that another 20 or so Mexicans were murdered as well.

    Janet the US does crack down heavy on drug users, our prisons are filled with them. It’s not working.

    Maybe legalizing marijuana is a good idea and just think of the tax revenue. It could be put towards the health care subsidies.

    The bottom line this country has a problem with drugs and alcohol we consume most of the worlds illicit drugs.

  • Brian

    Janet,

    They’ve been cracking down since Reagan. The result is that we now have the highest incarceration rate in the world, with almost no effect on drug use and an increase in crime.

    Fun fact: alcohol use actually went up during prohibition.

  • Tom in DC

    This “war” is such a waste of time, money, and lives. And why do we have to have “wars” on everything. It seems to be an American knee-jerk reaction to everything. If we don’t like something, wage a war on it. It’s so tiring. Let’s stop waging war on drug cartels, decriminalize drugs and focus on why Americans love drugs – whether illegal, prescription, or over the counter. What makes us the biggest users of drugs in the world?

  • Janet

    Brian – Actually, they police have a tendency to want to go after “Mr. Big” and ignore casual drug users. The former Chief of Police for LA, said the same thing back in the 1970′s..”The problem is the casual drug users, go after them)

  • Steve V

    I started my career in the Criminal Justice System in the late 60′s and retired in 2002, spending much of that time dealing with the drug problem. I have seen programs come and go with no visible success. If we could talk this thing to death we would have done so years ago.
    The most frustrating aspect of this issue is that we not only continue to try the failed programs over and over but we’re not even willing to discuss alternatives.
    And until we do so, nothing will change. We will be here next year, and the year after, on into the future with no change in sight.
    So here’s our choice. Continue failed policies or begin by talking about ALL alternatives.

  • Steve

    This is not a diplomatic, security or military issue; this is a humanitarian crisis. We are allowing terrorist cartels (for instance the family of a fallen army hero being murdered.)

    Unlike the ideological fracture driving terrorism in the Middle East, thus can be solved fr the betterment of all parties. Legalize, regulate, and tax. Every stakeholder, except the cartels, benefits.

    Save lives and tax dollars, and generate revenues to help those lives destroyed by drugs.

  • Ellen Dibble

    The cost of drug-use is not just the cost of surveillance, prosecution, jail, and probation. There is the cost of rehabilitation, layer upon layer. Google detox center or halfway house or holding house, or actually any hospital, say Arbour-Fuller in MA, and see how much resources are spent on repeated attempts to undo what one quick cheap trip on Ecstacy might do to you. It’s an industry. I prefer rehab to incarceration, since taxes could be collected along the way.

  • Carol

    These cartels are destroying a beautiful country; they destroy what ever country they are in whether we are talking about the US, Mexico and really, all other areas of the world. The mass numbers of Mexican people who are drowning in poverty need better alternatives to crossing the border and selling narcotics. We, as human beings, need to stop intervening when there is a monetary benefit to us and help because, as Steve mentioned, this is a humanitarian issue.

  • Brian

    Janet:
    http://i47.tinypic.com/b7nitd.jpg
    Most of that giant increase is due to the war on drugs. Violent crime, “serious crime,” and property crime have all been declining

  • Mark

    Janet Stated: The U.S. Military had a huge drug problem in the 1970’s until they cracked down on the casual drug users in their ranks. The USA needs to really crack down on the casual drug users and eliminate this problem once and for all.

    Uh, the US is not the military. So you’re in favor of filling our prisons with people who by small amounts of pot for personal use? Costly and will never work.

  • Ferial

    Organized crime flourished during Prohibition. When the government took control of the liquor industry, organized crime lost income (and fewer drinkers went blind). The “war on drugs” will be won when marijuana and cocaine are legalized and placed under US Government control.

  • Steve V

    Janet – I’d be interested to hear how we should “go after them” (the casual drug user). What would that look like?

  • Mark

    As a father of two daughters (young daughters), I’m more fearful of the propensity of particularly hard drugs in our society than I am the taliban or terrorists.

    I’m a lefty, but I say if Mexico can’t get it done, we need to carpet bomb regions in mexico that produce these drugs. Most drugs in the country now come from Mexico, from Cocaine, to black tar heroin, meth, all of it.

    Secondly, we need to wake up in this culture and start paying more attention, and dedicating more re$ources to rehab. Jail doesn’t work.

  • Ellen Dibble

    When people on this forum mock us and say we have guns and will use them if the ballot goes against us, this reminds me of the people in the underworld in this community. They know: You don’t have ANYTHING to do with the police, not you nor your neighbors. IT IS NOBODY ELSE’s BUSINESS. And it is a sign of huge weakness to turn outside the “enforcement” that is used within that whole underworld economy. You are brought up to be self-reliant — i.e., NOT reliant on civil authorities.
    They have plenty of money to manage their own system of “justice.” Mexico sounds just like that. Who would want to shift to the “official” route? What to tell Hillary Clinton and Gates and so on? Oh, you lie.

  • jeffe

    The U.S Military still has drug problems in it’s ranks and alcohol abuse is pretty wide spread.

    People like Janet are looking for simple answers for complex problems.

    Steve V is right we need to be open to all alternatives.

  • Chris Campbell

    While I am not a drug prude, why isn’t this situation played up on moral grounds. Would’t money be well spent on a PR campaign by the gov’t in all media showing in a very graphic way where the money spent here manafests itself in Mexico? Show the bloody bodies, the grieving families left behind and overlay it with images of people in this country and others snorting or lighting up. Lower demand, lower effects on the source.
    In the long run, and in a separate issue, legalize pot. Cocaine and others are something else, education on the difference is in order.

  • Greg

    Tom-

    Can you ask your guests what the effect would be on the cartels if drugs were legalized/decriminalized?

  • Mark

    Chris, I like your point, but that’s not going to do much for someone going through heroin withdrawal. But, if the casual user could see the total impact of their decision to purchase, some may give pause.

  • http://fromKentucky susan

    It is all about power and money. Cash for the dealer,for courts & attorney who represent those arrested. Cash for big prisons, cash for the WAR IN DRUGS. BIG CASH!
    Power for the dealer with guns and money, for the law makers lifting and shifting funds to comply with their bosses. To change things would cause
    loss of power and money.

  • Chris

    Meanwhile….U.S. television shows keep showing illegal drug use as hip, cool, normal!

  • Ellen Dibble

    Legalization PLUS taxation — which for marijuana in MA would equate whatever revenue we might get from casinos. Problem: wouldn’t the cartels just continue underground, untaxed, catch me if you can?

  • hoodoo

    Chris, it won’t work. The PTB have destroyed their integrity with years of dumb “this is your brain on drugs” ads. You cannot control demand!!

  • louise Lazare

    I don’t use drugs and I think people who use them are foolish but the demand is there because people want them. Unless we stop seeing drug use as a moral issue and spend the money being used on the futile WAR ON DRUGS for education and rehabilitation-the unwinnable war will continue and the drug lords will rule and make more money. If drugs were not illegal the big profits would vanish.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Where I intersect with the cartels has to do with me getting headache/sores-all-over-vomiting-sick day after day due to second-hand smoke from people smoking the floor below me or two floors down.
    Think of the money thrown at the tobacco manufacturers to get them to confess to bad side effects.
    I can’t get anyone activated on the bad effects of illegal drug smoke. Even my doctors — oh, that isn’t on the internet. Oh, we don’t treat cocaine allergy. And the landlords? Oh, enjoy the second-hand high. Ha-ha.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Why Hillary Clinton does not consider decriminalization? She should consider that if someone is smoking tobacco, they go outside in order to preserve indoor air. If they smoke something illegal, they stay where no one sees them. But it is HARDLY “private,” and protected as “their space.” Smokers are intruding in a terribly sickening way upon others who are trying to sleep or work or relax in the same building. Legalization at least brings this out of the shadows and gives some possibility of regulation.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If you have an outpost of a drug cartel living downstairs from you, just hope that they bring in a woman, and that the woman has a baby – a citizen, yes, but anyway – because then you can call Social Services, and though the police and the city government may seem totally helpless, the care and protection people take about four hours to be VERY effective.
    Before the end of the month, you will find that somehow you have “SCARED THEM AWAY.”
    Oh, you racist bully.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Once marijuana is decriminalized, the police cannot evict someone for smoking it in rental housing. Instead, they can harass the person to death. They can barge in at 2:00 AM on the pretense of making someone ill upstairs, and fine them a few hundred dollars, and after a few dozen such calls, the landlord can be notified.
    Few of us are actually HOSTILE to marijuana smokers. We might be seriously impacted by their habits. We wouldn’t want to harass them like that.

  • Carlos

    I grew up in Ciudad Juarez from 1982 to 2000, now I’m studying in Boston.
    Thanks for finally speaking out about the two state problem troubling my city.
    The most effective solution I believe are:
    1. Greater involvement from the US in Mexico, stricter control of illegal arms trafficking (not sales in the US as Secretary Clinton mentioned in her address), and a decrease in the demand of drugs in the US.
    2. Which is easier, allow one or two cartels to control the trafficking, and go back to pre-2000 standards, which were of peace and appeasement. It is clear to see the cartels cleaning up the street in ways that Mexican law enforcement clearly has not

    Most people I speak to in Juarez right now would opt for 2, due to their current sense of desperation.

    I believe the US has to act!

    With best regards,

    Carlos

  • Jim Hickey

    Why do we keep dancing around the central issue here. We’ve already learned – no clearly that’s not true or we wouldn’t be repeating the same mistakes. We’ve already witnessed the reality that attempts to impose constraints on victimless “crimes” – self-abuse or abasement – only result in enriching, encouraging, enlarging those entities that will profit from circumventing the constraints. Witness Prohibition and the resulting meteoric rise of organized crime that resulted. The more dear or valuable our restrictions make the commodity the greater the lengths they will go to to profit and the more violent their responses to oppostiont will be. It’s a clear economics case.

    Get away from these ridiculous morality based approaches to judging and controlling human behavior. If we won’t again make alcohol illegal, there is NO justification for keeping other drug use illegal.

    Help the addicts instead of their suppliers, as we do now.

  • http://onpointradio.org Barbara De Angelis

    We should do as Vermont Senator Aiken said in the Vietnam era: “Declare victory and go home!”
    Decriminalizing ALL drugs would remove the profit motive and give us better control of the illicit substances. We could use that money for rehabilitation. The governments of Mexico and Afghanistan would be more stable, the drug cartels would go out of business. There would be no NEED to solicit drug use among children. Alcohol producers aren’t selling Canadian Club in the school yards! People have used mind altering substances throughout history and will likely continue to do so. We all pay in so many ways: our homes and cars are burglarized, people are mugged on the city streets, our tax dollars are wasted, kids are recruited to buy and sell drugs.

    IT’S THE MONEY, NOT THE DRUGS, THAT CREATE THE PROBLEM! The only way to take the money motive out is to decriminalize all of the drugs. We could always make it a crime again if decriminalizing doesn’t work. Our political representatives are all too frightened to attempt this. Just think of what the ridiculous Right would do with this one. They’d probably lump federal assistance for addicts along with abortion assistance.

  • Ellen Dibble

    No one mentions that the “mordita” or bite, the corruption of money could easily reach into our communities. If you think of the network of “confidential informants,” it is pretty clear that there is no black-and-white line between legal law enforcement and the enforcement/power wielded by the other side of the equation, the moneyed dealers.

  • Dave

    A speaker on the program said that the violent criminals pushing drugs would just increase their other illegal activities (cargo theft, extortion, etc) were drugs legalized.

    What the speaker forgets is that prosecuting the drug trade is very difficult because neither of the two parties (buyer and seller) involved are complaining.

    Policing an activity that creates an actively complaining and identifiable victim is a much more viable enterprise. Additionally, it is much clearer ethically for law enforcement to engage in such behanvorial controls.

    Dave Heide
    Burlington, VT

  • Ferial

    Ellen, taxation … definitely. The legalization of liquor (and its control/taxation) resulted in better quality and more consistency in the product. And your question about underground competition: Do you have stills in your neighborhood that compete with legitimate bottlers? Probably not. (And besides, all those out-of-work tobacco farmers would benefit, too.)

  • Dawn

    The drug cartels seem inevitable in view of the fact that the government has not only sanctioned but supported the extreme disparity of distribution of wealth in Mexico. (which is also happening in the US). Statistics are something like 10% of the population has 30% of the wealth while 60% of the population is POOR. Through NAFTA on top of that and the cartels, who give people a way to feed their families, become the awful manifestation of the disenfranchised.

    The cartels are evil, but the governments of both Mexico and the U.S. helped to create them. Now, they cannot control their creature.

  • Chris

    Chris Campbell,

    I agree wholeheartedly with THIS part of your posting:

    “why isn’t this situation played up on moral grounds. Would’t money be well spent on a PR campaign by the gov’t in all media showing in a very graphic way where the money spent here manafests itself in Mexico? Show the bloody bodies, the grieving families left behind and overlay it with images of people in this country and others snorting or lighting up. Lower demand, lower effects on the source.”

    So that too many Americans can feel “hip”, others are suffering terribly. The price of “cool” is way too high!

    (Another) Chris

  • Ellen Dibble

    Never mind the kickback from the moral right if we nationally tried to decriminalize. Think of the reaction from the cartels! No more huge power that happens when you have to operate opposite the whole forces of the State, no more huge dollars that come when there are no regulators, no consumer protection. No more being the bully on the block. Would the king pin go down without a fight? Think of the walruses or sea lions raging. That would be the forces roaring at our senators and congresspeople. I’m not sure exactly how that would be felt. In my experience, I get vaguely threatening faxes and phone calls: life insurance and fire extinguishers, that sort of thing. I must be imagining things.

  • Gary

    Susan has framed the reason we have a war on drugs very well. War on (AKA extreme regulation) is very profitable.

    The drug war being waged since the 60′s has succeeded in its fundamental intent. To create a very profitable market.

    Real control would require an analysis of the user base, and then applying the correction at its weakest point into the drug stream itself.

    I tend to believe that the drug using population is generally constant as a percentage, and would actually drop if ALL of it were legalized. The hard abusers would die off fairly quickly (as nature intended). The casual users would either increase and die or decrease and become normal. Change the hugely and costly damaging paradigm and test the result.

    How does jailing a drug user improve our lives or his? It just converts a momentary problem into a long term expensive problem.

    To continually repeat the same failing actions again and again, while expecting a different result, reveals that the genuine propose is not victory, but stalemate.

  • JacFlasche

    Anything one grows or raises in their garden or barn should be legal for them to use themselves.

    Any drug that takes chemical or industrial processing should be controlled by the same system as prescription drugs.

    Doctors should be allowed to prescribe substances for the sole reason of increasing the life pleasure of their patients: like hairloss pill, erection pills, toenail fungus pills, etc.

    Mankind has always used substances to alter his consciousness. Some to lower it(booze} some to heighten it (mushrooms).

    Making drugs illegal is big business. We have created the first criminal billionares with our ludicrous laws.
    We have added to the corruption of our gov with the wealth these criminal control, and it seems we are about to surrender our 2nd amendment rights because of criminal violence in a country where there is total gun control — and suprise suprise — all the criminals have guns. If you have a room full of hundred dollar bills you will always be able to get a gun, and if no one else has them, your guns will be much more impactful. The war on drugs has no concern to end the drug problem only to perpetuate the war on drugs — which pays their salary and graft. The war that the war on drugs is fighting is to keep things like they are. History proves this.

  • Chris

    As with any war, whoever is providing the weapons is making a killing. Since that is certainly a US source, I think it is upon the US to look at the sources of all these weapons.

  • Mark

    Why aren’t we also talking about Anheiser-Busch?

  • Joe

    “Anything one grows or raises in their garden or barn should be legal for them to use themselves.

    Any drug that takes chemical or industrial processing should be controlled by the same system as prescription drugs.

    Doctors should be allowed to prescribe substances for the sole reason of increasing the life pleasure of their patients: like hairloss pill, erection pills, toenail fungus pills, etc.

    Mankind has always used substances to alter his consciousness. Some to lower it(booze} some to heighten it (mushrooms).

    Making drugs illegal is big business. We have created the first criminal billionares with our ludicrous laws.
    We have added to the corruption of our gov with the wealth these criminal control, and it seems we are about to surrender our 2nd amendment rights because of criminal violence in a country where there is total gun control — and suprise suprise — all the criminals have guns. If you have a room full of hundred dollar bills you will always be able to get a gun, and if no one else has them, your guns will be much more impactful. The war on drugs has no concern to end the drug problem only to perpetuate the war on drugs — which pays their salary and graft. The war that the war on drugs is fighting is to keep things like they are. History proves this.”
    Posted by JacFlasche, on March 24th, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    I’m with Jac. Let me grow my own poppies, and arm my self and I will take care of the scumbag from Mexico selling black tar in the park myself. I will not need rehabilitation and I will be able to hold a regular job.

    And history proves this too — Jac

  • Janet

    It’s the general acceptance of abusing alcohol and drugs that got us into this bad situation. I don’t think our society would prosper if we legalized drugs. Perhaps, if more financial fines were put on casual drugs users would be a good start. After all, as of yesterday it’s illegal not to have medical insurance so why not tax drug abusers?

  • gina

    Portugal decriminalized all personal drug use in 2001. Apparently it’s going well.

  • Scott Trask

    The only guest lacking was Charles Bowden. Please have him on in the future to talk about his new book. He’s a straight talker, which is rare in the Age of Spin.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If we tax tobacco because of the cost to society, it might make sense to tax cocaine and heroin for the cost to society — except that nobody legally sells it, so where exactly would that cash register be ringing?
    Also, I don’t think overdoses from illegal drugs have quite the same impact as overdoing it with alcohol, for instance. Once I found a man who had a heroin overdose slumped down in our hallway, eyes rolling around in his head. I think his girlfriend might have knocked on my door for help, or a friend. I had never met either of them. I remember finding out that although the police take people who have had too much alcohol into protective custody, they cannot do the same for someone with a drug overdose.
    That’s all I recall. Perhaps things have changed. But if the laws say you’re on your own if you use illegal drugs, you get to lie there till you die or revive, well, maybe the rate of taxation should reflect that.

  • gina

    Oops, clicked submit too early!

    More re Portugal:
    Drug overdoses are down, new HIV cases are down, and contrary to skeptics’ predictions, Lisbon has not become a drug mecca.

    Here’s the wikipedia page; scroll down for a link to a 2009 Scientific American article about it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_Portugal

  • Brett

    In places in the US where marijuana has become legal, and growers are allowed to produce crops for the “industry,” activity (within the legal structure of the “industry”) by way of drug gangs, cartels, illegal importing, etc., has gone by the wayside. In California, the legal activities (for the purposes of medical uses) have brought in much needed taxes, the prices compared to the illegal stuff are much lower, the “dispensaries” sell only products from legal sellers, and on and on.

    The problem with cartels being involved in marijuana sales in California is because it is still illegal for non-medical use, so the Black Market is still able to thrive. If California were to completely legalize it and allow small, tightly regulated businesses to produce it, the cartels would not have much power (except for the fact that our (US) people who wield a lot of power also are paid by organized crime to continue the system of illegal drug activity; it keeps a lot of people, from law enforcement to politicians, in business. No consumers would pay three times as much for a product that is illegal than its legal equivalent!

    Anyone who doesn’t believe this doesn’t know anything about marijuana use, both legal and illegal. First of all, most of the marijuana consumption in the US now is from domestic products. People prefer domestically grown marijuana to the stuff smuggled in from Mexico. The cost is more expensive to the consumer simply because it is still part of the Black Market. If this component were removed, we could solve a lot of our law enforcement and economic problems (taxes revenues, new industries, jobs, less need for revenues for law enforcement) not to mention energy problems (hemp could be grown for everything from fuel, textiles, plastics–the possibilities are compelling). Law enforcement could focus on more important issues, renewable/sustainable energy technologies could be developed, and growing and consumption could be regulated better.

    I don’t smoke myself (asthma, allergies), but the people I know who do, have done so for 30-40 years, are successful in their lives, have businesses, stable marriages , pay taxes, are good neighbors, are civic minded, promote community health, etc. The only thing that makes them criminals is their marijuana use! I’ve never heard of anyone dying from an overdose of marijuana, I’ve never seen anyone loose control of their lives from daily use of marijuana (although I’ve seen countless lives ruined from daily use of alcohol). The people I know who have been regular users their whole lives have great health habits and are very healthy (unlike people I know who have used alcohol their whole lives). Marijuana is no more a “gateway drug” than, say, dish soap; there is no proven causality. Some people who use marijuana are going to do other, dangerous drugs; some people who use soap in dishwashing are going to also do dangerous drugs. We wouldn’t make an absurd statement like the use of soap in washing dishes leads to heroin use.

  • Brett

    “Perhaps, if more financial fines were put on casual drug users [it] would be a good start. After all, as of yesterday it’s illegal not to have medical insurance so why not tax drug abusers?’ -Janet

    This statement is further proof of this commenter’s lack of understanding of the real world. It is NOT now illegal not to have medical insurance, for one thing; besides, if drugs are kept illegal, it is you and those who do not use drugs who are taxed now for those who are arrested for illegal use. If drugs were legal, it would be the user who would be taxed.

  • joe

    It’s the general acceptance of abusing alcohol and drugs that got us into this bad situation. I don’t think our society would prosper if we legalized drugs. Perhaps, if more financial fines were put on casual drugs users would be a good start. After all, as of yesterday it’s illegal not to have medical insurance so why not tax drug abusers?

    Posted by Janet, on March 24th, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Draconian measures do not work. Witness China’s death penalty for drug dealers. They are still executing people.
    Janet is one of the kind of people that no matter what the facts–she doesn’t get it. What she is suggesting is a replay of exactly what didn’t work in the sixtys and seventies. Corrupt cops use these laws to advance there careers, believe me I spent time in prison when a scumbag wanna be DEA informant mearly turned in drugs and said I sold them to him (James Monyhan from Allentown Pa.) I never even had a beer with this bad cop. Due to the course Janet is preposing I ended up entirely alienated from American culture. Janet you are a fool and suffer form a disease known as “the in ability to see past your knee jerk reactions to reality.” You are the problem because you make the corrupt system we have possible by believeing crap.
    All the studies ever done have proven that decriminalization of all recreational drugs sees only a slight initial increase in use which soon reverts to the old levels of usage or less. So do you want a corrupt system with drugs or a more enlightened one with drugs; that is your only real choice. The the belief that drugs could be beaten out of existence with laws and guns stupid, nieave, and the reality of our present situation demonstrates that it does not work so stop being a fool.

  • gina

    Scott Trask, thanks for your mention of Charles Bowden. View a very interesting interview (with written transcript) from March 16, shortly after the consulate shootings, here: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/16/charles_bowden_on_the_war_next

    His description of Juarez sounds like hell on earth …

  • cory

    Ellen (and others suggesting decriminalization),

    I don’t think we’ll see decriminalization or legalization anytime soon. American exceptionalists will decry this as weakness and therefore un-American. We are not very good at admitting our mistakes in America and the drug war has been a colossal one.

    The Netherlands have a relaxed attitude towards soft drugs, universal health care, free college education, 6 weeks of vacation a year, and paid maternity OR paternity leave. Why is it again that so many American “patriots” are violently opposed to being more like the Europeans?! I can only arrive at the conclusion that we are not very bright.

  • cory

    A show of hands for who wants to live in “Janet’s world”?

  • jeffe

    cory you are so right, at least in my view.
    The interesting thing is that among the 18 to 25 year old’s in the Netherlands drug use is not as anywhere near the level it is here. One has to wonder why? It’s not that they can’t get drugs if they want to. Some of the theories I have read have concluded it’s about education, and the lack of mystery about drugs. They are not illegal so the thrill of doing something illegal is less prevalent.

    This is not to say they don’t have drink and drug problems there, they do. However they deal with it as a social problem instead of a criminal one.

    The Dutch are just more civilized on some things. Except football supporters, you do not want to mess with them.

  • wavre

    Most of the industrialised countries have universal healthcare and are healthier than us,

    They have also decriminalize and regulate drug use and have less drug related crimes and cases of overdose.

    Why can’t we follow their good example????!!!

    This is why:( from a previous post from Susan?I just cut and paste it)

    “It is all about power and money. Cash for the dealer,for courts & attorney who represent those arrested. Cash for big prisons, cash for the WAR IN DRUGS. BIG CASH!
    Power for the dealer with guns and money, for the law makers lifting and shifting funds to comply with their bosses. To change things would cause
    loss of power and money.”

  • JacFlasche

    You are right wavre;
    Susan is correct.

  • Janet

    Joe – I don’t see any advantage to legalizing drugs. We should just go after the casual drug users and tax them heavily when they are caught. They get the thrill of using drugs and the reward of paying more taxes when they are caught.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Janet, do you have close friends who live in a neighborhood where drugs are used and dealt? If so, you know there are plenty of victims of one sort or another, children who are sick all the time and don’t know what it means to feel good, adults who maintain constructive relationship with their neighbors, but basically live under the obligation of keeping all police peace-keepers out of the neighborhood. There is too much to be sacrificed. It is a lose/lose situation. There is nothing casual about it.
    In some places, the word “casual” might apply, to the user, not to those above, to the left, to the right. The neighborhood is skewed, obligated to ignore, and if someone is caught and taxed, there is the devil to pay by anyone suspected of spilling the beans. The status quo protects the casual users, in some ironic way, and costs the neighbors, costs the taxpayers.

  • http://avon2players.com dave

    This is NAFTA’s underbelly. WQatch my play on the subject at Avon2players.com

    I hope you like it!!!!

    Let me know!

    THanks

  • Jim Hickey

    Why is it again that so many American “patriots” are violently opposed to being more like the Europeans?! –> –> I can only arrive at the conclusion that we are not very bright. <– <–

    Posted by cory, on March 24th, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    The truth of that statement and the reality it foists on the country escapes most people. Bell curves illustrate the distribution of various characteristics and properties under consideration in whatever population is being studied. In the area of intelligence, it is clearly shown that more of the population is less intelligent than any of us would want to be perceived to be.

    Jefferson recognized that as counter to the idea of a democratic form of government as the fact might be, most of the citizenry are not equipped to do very well at governing, and therefore was not in favor of universal extension of the franchise.

    I apologize; I digress from my original intent of showing why Cory's conclusion is easily supported; as a whole, the nation is not very bright.

    And thus we see all around us the tyranny of stupidity imposed upon the individuals that are bright enough to perceive it. Which is why I am not hopeful for our future.

  • dave

    Calderon is backing El Chapo. Everyone in Mexico knows it.

  • Brett

    “We should just go after the casual drug users and tax them heavily when they are caught. They get the thrill of using drugs and the reward of paying more taxes when they are caught.” -Janet

    Well, at least some of the law enforcement used to “catch” the “casual drug user” would be paid for by others (as in tax-paying citizens who don’t do drugs…like you…get it). This idea has little difference from “throw ‘em in jail!” really in the sense that it punishes people, both the user and the non-user. And, it does nothing to stop the activity of having drugs illegal (dealers who don’t pay taxes on income, violence associated with those types of crimes, etc.). If it is legalized it is more pro-active, less reactive. I know these concepts have nuances to them, and they are hard to absorb because they are not black and white.

    Also, If only funds collected from those caught were used to fund police action in catching them, then this would set the stage for police corruption and brutality. It is already the case in many rural counties where police depts. can get funding for helicopters and specially outfitted police cars, etc., if they prove they have sufficient crime to warrant such funding. It is pretty easy to make people criminals first and ask questions later. It is also easy to plant evidence, make a small grow field look like it is a multi-billion operation, an so on. But, I guess you like the idea of using fear and creating “enemies” to bolster the use of militaristic measures in society.

    Not wanting to make drugs legal is an opinion that is your right; taxing criminals when they are caught and using more law enforcement $ to step up efforts to catch them is absurd, however. It might make you feel more American, like fighting terrorism, but how much can you live your life on the “ignorance is bliss” motto?

  • keedo

    Look ahead. Say you can determine what happens in our nations moves this insane ‘war on drugs’ to an end? What would you set in motion now, with what goals?

    For 1 thing, I’d get people busy “rewilding” (‘Return of the Wild, Jan 7) and rebuilding the dirt (www.dirtthemovie.org)

  • Chris

    All this blather about “the Guns coming from the United States SSouth to Mexico” is BULL! I watched these programs on sicovery channel and saw a Mexican Army Colonel describe a fully automatic M203, 40mm grenade launcher as being from the USA…yeah, we made it, then either shipped it to a South American Country’s Army then they either sold it or was stolen from them to a blackmarket! Then he shows a Nazi-era MG 42, belt fed machinegun and says that it too comes from the USA, again BULL! You cannot buy belt-fed machineguns, 40mm grenade launcher tube attached, full-auto M16′s, hand grenades or any other of that stuff legally or illegally in the USA – that stuff is coming from the South of Mexico – we dont produce Gold-plated AK-47′s people!! stop blaming their gun problems on us, that stuff does not come from the United States and if you say it does, Prove it!

  • Sally

    Could you speak about the MtyMx (Monterrey Mexico) festival which went on this weekend. The promoter (Todd P) mocked bands (20 year olds) who canceled due to the violence and unpredictability. Todd P said Mexico is “just as violent as New Orleans”. If you really want to make a change in Mexico, support schools and jobs.

  • david

    The solution to this evil, give into it. That is what we have been doing for years. Our nation does not have the stomach to do what is necessary to stop all this. Otherwords; rid the camp of this evil so it will bring fear to the people. This will never happen though. California is about to make happy-weed legal, it may be on next ballot.
    My Med group works I-85, Atlanta is the SE hub for drugs. According to our friends,the state police, tons of drugs pass through our area each week from Mexico.
    Come visit me, I can show you a dozen crack dealers within a few miles of my house. The county police are bought off, I know who they are too. The sheriff gets a kick-back. A real nice situation to live in.
    Solution, do nothing as we have done for years and watch our kids become crack heads, or! take the trash out.
    Top income makers for Mexico: Remittances, or contributions sent by Mexicans living abroad, mostly in the United States, to their families at home in Mexico, are a substantial and growing part of the Mexican economy; $245,358,191,000 as of 7pm CST. In 2004, they became the second largest source of foreign income after crude oil exports, roughly equivalent to foreign direct investment (FDI) and larger than tourism expenditures. Illegal drug trade comes in as a big income maker.
    Results: Mexican officials may be reluctant to cut off a money maker. America will dump a ton of money we don’t have into a country that ought to clean up it’s own crap!
    Just my thoughts on the subject.

  • AC

    Chris, there are plenty of articles about gun seizures on the U.S. border to Mexico (people going from the U.S. into Mexico). Although the 90 percent figure often cited may not be accurate since only a portion of the guns recovered are sent for tracing, there is no doubt that a portion of the cartel’s weapons come from the U.S. where they are bought at gun dealerships or gun shows in the border states.

  • AC

    Janet,
    According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime it is drug addicts, not casual users, that create demand for drugs. Even if we crack down on casual users (which we have been doing unsuccessfully) as you suggest, addicts will still create demand for drugs and drugs will continue to flow into the country.

  • Micahel

    The War on drugs will never be won, just look at our prison systems, the % of people in jail at the cost of 30k a year for non-violent crimes(often weed) very rarely will you win someone committing a violent crime after smoking a joint, the drug trade is really only Lucrative because it is illegal, your never going to arrest everyone dealing when this is the case, so logic dictates arresting everyone is not going to solve the problem. It’s funny to hear some complain and go on about how bad it is and blah blah blah, yet are taking some type of pill, medication, for whatever ills them. Legalize, regulate, and create clinics and education for people who get additive to it, far cheaper than arresting the person, spending 30k a year for them, plus salaries the people to guard them, the taxes they are not paying while in jail.

    As for the MS13 Gang and many other drug dealing gangs only took to what Reagan preached ” Free market without regulations from government” often setting a CEO type leader, and a board of directors, and down the line. Making decisions on how to maximize profits. Since cops are corrupt dirty pigs equally as corrupt of some cartels there no shortage people willing to deal, hide,cover to not feel poor, to be able to buy a nice car, cloths. Many Gang leaders and cartels run just like a corporation, buy off whoever needed(wink wink lobbying in a way).

  • Michael

    AC and others,

    the Diane R show talk about this today about that 90% #.

    http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2010-03-24/law-enforcement-and-border-security-mexico

  • Michael

    “very rarely will you witness,hear, see, someone committing a violent crime after smoking a joint,

  • Greg Bammerlin

    Tom, I listened intently to the comments by Mr. Castaneda on your program earlier today and am still amazed at his remarks. It struck me that the former Foreign Minister was taking advantage of another opportunity to justify the absolute lack of courage and foresight exhibited by the Fox administration in addressing the drug issue in his country. In short, by doing absolutely nothing to confront the growing cartel problem, they actually encouraged it by turning a blind eye and neglecting to do virtually anything to address the issue. In doing so they left a disaster for Mr. Calderon who has shown the courage to do what he feels is necessary to address the situation – and in return Castaneda does nothing but hurl insults at him for trying.

    Incredibly Castaneda seemed to be ignorant or oblivious to the fact that the leaders of these cartels are not simple lawbreakers but ruthless criminals who will stop at absolutely nothing to build their empires. Yes there has been a dramatic increase in deaths resulting from the “war on drugs” but he seemed to indicate that without this declared war everything would be fine. What an incredible lack of awareness to the world of drugs. He surely must be aware that these cartels operate in a world of fear, retaliation and murder regardless of whether or not the government has declared war on them. Does he think that young people will not be lured into and killed by the lifestyle it represents? Is he actually condemning the current government for trying to stop it? Does he think that extortion, bribery, theft, death threats and executions will go away if the government refuses to get involved? Does he think that was the case when he was in office and ignored the situation entirely?

    I am amazed that he looks at this situation from such a condescending position. After years of permitting this monstrous behavior while he was in a position to do something about it he now criticizes Mr. Calderon from the safe harbor of New York University. If I were a citizen of Mexico subjected to the brutal existence of trying to survive in an area controlled by a cartel I would have a very difficult time considering Mr. Castaneda as a patriot of my country.

  • Brett

    It seems that much of the drugs coming into this country are doing so because of crime organizations corrupting officials in law enforcement, shipping and governments of other countries (of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a dishonorable mention to our own government). Because the drugs are illegal, a Black market industry is able to thrive. Take away the Black Market industry, the corruption and cartel activity will go away.

    If we were to remove marijuana from the mix as an illegal drug, we would take care of 75% of the Mexican cartels’ drug activity. Since cocaine comes from mostly from South America, and mostly from Columbia, it also seems that this problem should be within a narrowly focused effort on our part. It seems heroin is the most problematic activity to get a handle on, and our military strategy in Afghanistan is to appease the growers…so, a much tougher row to hoe. Heroin’s hold seems to ebb and flow as decades roll by, but it has remained a constant problem for almost a century.

    The “war on drugs” that Reagan put a lot of effort and resources into (and has remained essentially intact since) has not worked; in fact, it caused our illegal domestic pot industry to grow and flourish–no pun intended–because once law enforcement tightened restrictions on illegal imports that came from Columbia and Jamaica in the ’70′s, the policies created a cottage industry for domestic growers.

    (As an aside, the conservative pundits who say that marijuana has become a bazillion times more potent than it was in the ’60′s and ’70′s, and is therefore more of a societal threat, are fear mongering. They are comparing US domestic marijuana–which was almost nonexistent and of very low potency–from those times to US domestic marijuana now. If they were to compare most marijuana from those days that was available–which came from Columbia and Jamaica–to US domestic marijuana today, there would be no increase in potency/ increase in “danger.”)

    I find it interesting that Reagan’s policies were able to stop all marijuana coming from Columbia and Jamaica, but they did nothing to stop cocaine and heroin coming from Columbia??? Cocaine, both powder and crack, in fact, were at epidemic proportions in the 1980′s. Granted, it is easier to smuggle cocaine and heroin, but I believe the problem is in the fact that drugs are illegal and this gives rise to corruption and criminal activity.

    As much as I don’t condone drug use, it seems the only smart solution is legalization.

  • Brett

    david,
    I suppose we can agree that there is corruption among law enforcement officers/officials. We can also agree that it is clear that some drugs come from other countries, get smuggled in (crack comes from cocaine powder, which comes from cocaine paste, which comes from coca leaves, which comes from South America). Most pot comes from growers inside the US, however, although some comes through Texas/the Southwest from Mexico. I heard a statistic (either on the show or elsewhere in the past day, I can’t remember) that 75% of drug cartel activity in Mexico is from marijuana trafficking. I guess that leaves 25% of their trafficking to heroin and cocaine combined (Mexico doesn’t deal directly in cocaine, but it does in terms of indirect trafficking). Mexico makes some narcotic analgesics that are considered “bootlegs” in the US, but this isn’t a widespread problem.

    So, the widespread problems with drug activity in the US seem to be heroin (which to some extent comes from Mexico and also comes in large part from Central and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia), cocaine (South America) and marijuana (grown in Mexico and in the US). Marijuana doesn’t come into the US from anywhere else outside the US than from Mexico.

    We can also agree that the solution is NOT to dump a bunch of money into Mexico in an effort to combat smuggling of these drugs.

    As to the rest of your thoughts on this subject, it is unclear what you mean by either “do nothing as we have for years” or “take out the trash.” I don’t want to be presumptuous, so could you clarify?

  • Ishmael

    The comment from the Nam vet about tolerance for drug imports was totally mishandled: discussion should have gone the direction of which “high-ups” in the US government are patrons of illegal drugs, not on the Mexican side. That’s the part of this that this cuddly, cowardly interview failed to examine.

    Legalization is the effective way to proceed, incidentally, IF people want to be successful against both Taliban and south-of-border cartels (but, too many in too high places have “other” interests);
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/04/15/wasted_0

  • Ellen Dibble

    I would like to understand WHY government — local, state, and national — do not see that legalization will end the war on drugs, and give a better handle on the problem — taxes, regulation. From a personal point of view, I want it carefully analyzed what the effects of secondhand smoke are on people within the same building, so that doctors who deal with environmental illness can begin to address the effects in rental housing, and especially on children who get their brains wacked day after day by second-hand smoke. It is insidious and disabling — if not to you, certainly to others. And the “others” seem unable to organize the way people organized against Philip Morris half a century ago.
    You can’t address the victims (not the users but the non-users) until you legalize.
    Are people in government and law enforcement ignorant or corrupt? Money and lawless violence are clearly opposing legalization — as I see it now.

  • Roxana

    I am from Mexico and one of the long term solutions I see in order to reduce violence and crime is an Economic improvement in my country. I support totally the idea of use military force in order to capture criminals from these well armed criminal groups. However I think that isn’t enough. Increasing jobs opportunities and quality of Education will definitively attack the problem from the roots.
    As this is a bilateral problem, legalization would be a another long term solution that will help. Drug addiction isn’t combated by stopping cartels but by attacking a social and health problem in our societies.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/5BWNNLJWBDCXZ2ZJFBDONCP3YQ noname999777

    The reason that the personal use of intoxicants isn’t made safe and sane by governments is because it puts every aspect of their use in the entire community’s hands.  It is much more profitable on virtually every level to maintain control over this sensitive manifestation of a very plainly demonstrated social need by the few in power who can most profit it from it.  

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