How Do You Fix a Failed Drug War? Redefine “Failure”

There appears to be a problem with Americans’ peripheral vision that makes us unable to see anything to our south. However, the real, hot drug war raging in Mexico has finally bubbled to the point where even we can’t miss it.

We probably never would have noticed – nor even acknowledged the role played by Americans’ insatiable appetite for illicit drugs including marijuana, which makes up about 60% of Mexico’s drug trade – if it weren’t for the inevitable expansion of that war into our own country.

The explosion of violence, most recently reported by The Washington Post, is shocking and heartbreaking. One thousand dead just this year. Two thousand guns flowing into Mexico from the United States every day. Mexican drug cartels operating in more than 230 U.S. cities, up from 50 as recently as 2006.

And federal law enforcement’s take on this spiraling chaos?

“The violence we see is actually a signpost of success,” Drug Enforcement Administration intelligence official Anthony P. Placido told the Post.

Now, I admit that international drug enforcement is not my area of expertise, but I seem to remember from my own stint in the military that we usually considered increasing violence to be a bad thing.

I’d be willing to write this off to being just one DEA guy with a tin ear and a delusional, rosy outlook, but this isn’t the first time federal law enforcement has made this assertion. In February, an anonymous official told the Wall Street Journal, “If the drug effort were failing there would be no violence” in Mexico.

So we could reduce the demand for illegal drugs – and therefore the violence associated with their trade — by ending marijuana prohibition and regulating the drug’s manufacture and sale in the U.S. Except that would be seen by our federal law enforcement officials as a failure.

Maybe it’s just me, but I could accept that kind of failure.

20 thoughts on “How Do You Fix a Failed Drug War? Redefine “Failure””

  1. Wait…their kidding right?

    Seriously? The war on drugs wouldnt be a success if there was no violence?

    I’m speechless.

  2. This is how drug warriors always frame this issue. Success on the domestic front means more arrests and larger seizures. Success in Mexico means increased gang violence, which apparently indicates “instability” or whatever they want to call it.

    In every case, more crime means the war is being waged more effectively. And we’re the whack jobs.

  3. If we want to put the drug cartels out of business AND put some money into the public treasury, we need to stop spending $20,000 a year to lock up a marijuana user and start collecting sales tax on the individual’s purchase of this widely used and relatively safe product.
    In lieu of sales tax on the grow-your-own group, we could consider a $100 per year permit for a dozen plants.
    It’s time to put the criminal drug dealers out of business and let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.

  4. Sad to see how these people use their failures to legitimize their programs and fool the unenlightened people. Luckily we all can smell this B.S. and realize that true success will be the end of violence and giving Americans their rights back. It appears the general public is beginning to sift through all the rubbish and seeing the light. I will leave all the lies to the DEA and other agencies that need to somehow legitimize their failures as successes.

  5. War on Marijuana’s success is the reason for the cross border violence eh?

    Funny how they failed to mention that the war on marijuana in mexico has been SO successful that police officers had to retire and go into hiding with their families, elected officials had to step down and do the same, and now amercian troops have to be deployed at tax-payer expenses to try to contain it.

    The Drug Enforcement Agency is the biggest joke I have heard of yet and was implemented by the most crooked polititian in US history… Maybe the true meaning of DEA was lost along with those watergate tapes eh Mr.President?

    And ofcourse the DEA is fighting nails to the wall to keep pot illegal… can you imagine how many of them are going to lose their job due to lack of work once marijuana is legalized?

    During the great depression when prohibition on alcohol was still active, the united states government tried everything in their power to stop the criminal underworld build by Al Capone and Lucky Luchiano… they even resorted to locking Capone up on tax evading charges. STILL the only thing that drove the mafia and local gangs out of gangland was the shortage of work when Alcohol became legal.

    Wake up and smell the green-buds Mr.Obama… The time to act is now.

  6. I imagine it won’t be long until Obama appoints the new head of the DEA? I wonder who he has in mind.

  7. I think maybe we should consider an aspect of war that has been recorded over the life of many wars in the past. It’s a normal tactic to wait and let the enemy destroy itself as long as they’re moving in that direction. After the smoke clear (most of the fighting stopped) that’s the best time for war lords to attack. So expect actions from the United States to come about after things calm down a bit South of the USA’s border.

  8. The American government has all the blood from the violence on it’s hands. The DEA is drunk on it.
    Marijuana is not a drug. It is a plant put on Earth by GOD.
    Quit calling it a drug.
    I will never pay a tax for marijuana. I see no reason to give tax dollars to the same scums who cause the violence and death now. I would buy a one way ticket for Bush, Walters and all the DEA to Iraq. Banishment should be their future.

  9. We need to be aggressive into getting issue of legalizing marijuana to the president. We need to make things happen. We as team can get marijuana legalized! I really want this done. We need to pound the truth more than the DEA tries to pound the lies into the public. We should not accept this, this is not freedom. We are not hurting anybody! Be aggressive people. Tell others about this site. Spread the truth, preach it! We as Americans fight hard for freedom that we are not recivieving. Our Government is wrong for this and it needs to be change. We are doing good. BUT WE HAVE TO DO BETTER to get legalization of marijuana as soon as we can. For FREEDOM!

  10. The public policy goons at the DEA are once again grasping at straws to justify prohibition. This “violence is a signpost of success” notion should be publicly challenged as soon and as vehemently as possible in order to prevent it from becoming an established argument comparable to “marijuana is a gateway drug” and “prohibition protects the children.”

  11. The ridiculousness of the “drug war” is illustrated by the absurdity of the federal officials’ commentary regarding the violence being caused.

    The current policies on marijuana use force a person to go to an illegal drug dealer to obtain it or grow in their own homes and fear prosecution. Marijuana IS a gateway drug when the opportunity to make more money on something more harmful and addictive is available to those who profit from sales now. At the drug dealer’s place of business, a person not only may, but probably will, be offered a multitude of other things. Things like meth, Xtascy, shrooms, liquid acid or LSD, ect.

    If marijuana were legal, it would be more effective in curbing the dangerous drug use by the mere lack of opportunity to purchase the “hard” drugs that the Federal government’s drug war should be focused on.

    In addition to that, our country is in a major economic crisis. The legalization and taxation of marijuana would generate significant tax dollars. Hopefully, our politicians will stop wasting millions of dollars in fighting a losing battle and come up with a more effective and reasonable plan.

  12. Wow, just wow.
    its hard to come up with comment to follow all of these.
    so ditto
    just showin support

  13. “violence is a signpost of success”

    Amazing. I guess this is our country’s new motto. Welcome to the land of liberty.

  14. PEACE is a signpost of success for our side. They want MORE violence to justify their jobs and their huge budgets. I’d say we are securely holding the moral high ground here. The entire criminal justice system and our policymakers have lost much credibility and therefore some level of legitimacy in the eyes of those they mean to govern, based on their unjust denial of liberty. The more they fail the more they persist, meanwhile destroying many happy lives. When someone lights up a j they are they are merely living LIFE, enjoying LIBERTY, and they are definitely in PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. The DEA is tryin to alienate our “inalienable rights.” Aren’t we supposed to rise up in defiance of tyranny or something?

  15. All the folks should meet at the courthouses in the country at 420 every Sat. to demand legalization of marijuana.

  16. That would be kinda fun. Anyone see the 700M that we are using to combat cartels? It’s like we can’t spend the money we don’t have fast enough.

  17. Unfortunately, as of today, Obama seems to think he can just fix this problem near our border by just sending more armed soldiers down there to “stop the violence.” Well it sounds to me like they are just asking for more trouble. They also mentioned a plan to poison acres of carrizo cane to make it harder for the smugglers to hide. Hmmm a new “agent orange” and the destruction of acres of plants? Sounds like a new peaceful greener future for me and my children doesnt it?
    Wake up Mr. President.
    Cant you just see the headlines “Marijuana saves America”

  18. Obama smoked marijuana as a teenager. I wish he would realize the truth and legalize marijuana or see what is best for the Americans.

  19. As a nation we have the choice between either spending $20,000 a year to lock up a marijuana user or collecting sales tax on the individual’s purchase of this widely used, relatively safe product.
    To collect taxes from the grow-your-own community, we could consider a $100 per year permit for a dozen plants.
    It’s time to put the criminal drug dealers out of business and let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.

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