The War On (Some) Drugs, Two Recent Stories
This week there were a couple of drug war stories that caught our interest. Anyone that regularly looks at these posts know that we find the war on drugs to be a corruptible counter productive waste of time money and lives. It also prevents research into the potential benefits of what are now illegal drugs. Yet here we are forty years into this war that has been a huge failure and tremendously expensive.
Just look at Mexico a country that has been plunged into open warfare because of this war. Last year there were more people killed there than were killed in Afghanistan. Our first story, from the LA Times, is connected with that war in Mexico. It tells of a government program that allowed the importation of weapons into Mexico in order to track them to higher ups. To no ones surprise a large quantity of these guns seems to have become lost and soon began turning up at crime scenes. Including the murder scene of a US Border Control agent.
“The risks of Operation Fast and Furious became apparent on Dec. 14, when Terry was killed in a shootout with bandits near Rio Rico, Ariz.
To the horror of federal authorities, two guns whose serial numbers matched guns purchased by Avila the previous January were found at the scene. Avila was promptly arrested.
In response, the department denied that any guns had been allowed to enter Mexico as part of an investigation.
“The allegation … that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico — is false,” Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Welch wrote. “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”
The department said that Project Gunrunner, the umbrella operation across the Southwest border of which Operation Fast and Furious was a part, has resulted in the seizure of more than 10,000 firearms and 1.1 million rounds of ammunition destined for Mexico since 2006.
But Grassley produced documents provided by ATF agents in Phoenix and elsewhere that showed that weapons bought by straw purchasers who were under surveillance were finding their way to Mexico, in addition to the two guns found at the scene of Terry’s shooting”
Our second story concerns an apparent attempt by officials of the federal government to interfere with newspaper editorial policy. In Washington State there is a marijuana legalization bill on the ballot and the Seattle Times wrote an editorial strongly in support of legalization. This prompted a phone call from “drug czar” Gil Kerlikowske who wants to fly out and meet personally with the members of the editorial board that signed off on the editorial. This story I came across on Alternet;
“On Friday, February 18, the Seattle Times editorial board opined in favor of House Bill 1550, which legalizes and regulates the “production, distribution, and sale” of marijuana to adults. (You can contact your state elected officials in support of the measure here.) The editorial, titled “The Washington Legislature should legalize marijuana” did not mince words.
Marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed. The push to repeal federal prohibition should come from the states, and it should begin with the state of Washington.
… Some drugs have such horrible effects on the human body that the costs of prohibition may be worth it. Not marijuana. This state’s experience with medical marijuana and Seattle’s tolerance policy suggest that with cannabis, legalization will work — and surprisingly well.
Not only will it work, but it is coming.
According to Seattle Times editorial page editor Ryan Blethen, the public’s reaction to the paper’s pot-friendly position was overwhelming.
“It is rare we publish an editorial on a hot topic and receive near universal praise. But that is what happened last week when we came out in support of Washington state legalizing cannabis,” Bethen wrote in February 25 commentary. “When people take the time to e-mail or call me about an editorial, it is usually because they do not agree with the editorial page. This editorial was different. The compliments rolled in, the discussion in the comments section of the editorial is nearing 600 and is interesting and thoughtful — which is not always the case — and so far the editorial has been recommended by about 3,000 people on Facebook.”
Yet there was is one prominent, former Seattle resident who is clearly not amused by the Times call for “a sober discussion about marijuana.” That person is the Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske.”
It’s ironic to note this takes place right after president Obama’s call for legitimate debate on this issue. Say one thing do another?