Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s war on drugs has been an absolute failure in that country. Last year, more than 6000 murders were committed linked directly to the drug war in Mexico – which was two times the number from the previous year. Kidnappings, beheadings and other atrocities are on the rise in Mexico, involving not just drug addicts, but innocent bystanders, police officers, judges, and other government officials. Of course, because of the proximity of the United States to Mexico there is a fear that the violence will spread to our soil. Based on news reports this week, the fears are more than justified and they soon may become a reality.
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) Mexican drug cartels have a distribution network that involves at least 230 U.S. cities. Recent arrests by American law enforcement of Mexican drug traffickers in California, Minnesota, Maryland and Stow, Ohio indicate the threat is nationwide and located in urban as well as rural areas. The NDIC believes the Mexican cartels are “the greatest drug trafficking threat to the U.S. as they control most of the U.S. drug market and have established varied transportation routes, advanced communications capabilities and strong affiliations with gangs in the United States”.
Because the drugs being distributed are illegal, other illegal activity accompanies their distribution. There has been an increase in police discoveries of grenades and other military-style weaponry headed for Mexico in the U.S. The Phoenix police are inundated with reports of home break-ins, hostage takings, and kidnappings. Last year, the Maricopa County attorney’s office said such cases rose to 241 from 48 in 2004. Many of the incidents involve heavily armed assailants with survival and huge profits on their minds.
It is clear that the situation on our streets is about to spiral out of control unless something different from current policy is done. The Mexican drug cartels effectively use their huge drug profits to arm and supply illegal immigrants and established gangs in the U.S. to carry out their trade. As the economies of both Mexico and the U.S. continue to deteriorate from the worldwide economic crisis the labor pool for the cartels will expand as individuals seek new ways to feed their families. Illegal immigration from Mexico will skyrocket even more. Money for drug interdiction and crime prevention will be short as localities already feeling the pinch of the economic crisis go broke and Washington is paralyzed by the need to fund with a bankrupt treasury so many other needs in the nation. With high profits from the illegal trade in the U.S., cartels will make our neighborhoods into battle zones. Left with little help from the government, Americans will increasingly be forced to take the law into their own hands. They will be no match for the well-financed, ridiculously armed thugs that will roam our streets.
But, America does have the ability to prevent this scenario. First, we must bring home the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops serving abroad to protect the country they swore an oath to protect. This not only will save Washington hundreds of billions of dollars annually, but their services are needed to maintain the integrity of our border with Mexico and keep the bad guys out.
Second, the federal government should repeal all drug prohibition laws and leave the matter to the states where it belongs under the 10th Amendment. The Obama Administration is to be commended for announcing this week that federal raids on medical marijuana facilities in the various states will be stopped. This is a great first step, but more needs to be done. Ultimately the people, through their state lawmakers, must decide what regulations on drugs are appropriate for their state. As some states legalize currently illegal drugs and experience a decline in violence other states will follow. Making illicit drugs legal will eliminate the profit bonanzas of the cartels and destroy incentives for illegal immigrants and gangs to terrorize our neighborhoods.
In June I wrote a post that beseeched American voters to consider a presidential candidate that would end the War on Drugs. That didn’t happen, but now faced with the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression and drug violence about to spill over into our country from Mexico perhaps President Obama will seize the moment and end a catastrophic policy that has senselessly ruined many lives, brought lawlessness and disorder to our streets, and threatens the very existence of our civil society.Powered by Sidelines