Thursday, December 1, 2011

Losing the "War on Drugs"

The U-T is reporting on the discovery and shut down of an elaborate tunnel between Tijuana and Otay Mesa as a great victory in the war on drugs.   The tunnel ran 612 yards from Mexico to the United States and dropped 40 feet underground with wood shoring and a rail and elevator system.  Here is some video.

The tunnel “took massive resources and massive amounts of time to construct and plan and build, and we were able to shut it down before it became operational,” Benner said at a news conference.

This week’s 32.4-ton marijuana seizure was the largest confiscation associated with a single tunnel, Benner said. Its estimated street value is $65 million.
Look at the resources available to the drug runners and the value of their product. It seems obvious that we have done little as a nation to stem the flow of drugs.  Law enforcement happened to find this tunnel and seize some pot, how much more was missed?  I would like to reiterate what I wrote earlier about the negative impact of the war on drugs and the case for legalization.

  • Cost. Effectively winning a war on an inanimate substance requires huge resources that we just don't have. Drug legalization would simultaneously put the drug kingpins out of business while vastly reducing the need for law enforcement spending on interdiction, etc. Those resources could be split between returning the money to the taxpayer and more effective policing elsewhere.
  • Control of the Border. The steady flow of narcotics across the border makes securing the border much more difficult. While the bandits that traffic in human beings are violent enough, adding the military paraphernalia of the drug cartels has made border enforcement a nightmare. The nation needs to solve the border security issue, the cross-border flow of drugs makes this that much more difficult.
  • Death. Americans keep dying in the war on drugs. Either innocent bystanders or government agents are regularly dying at the hands of the drug cartels. The money to pay for their weapons would dry up if drug manufacture were normalized.
  • Freedom. This is the ultimate Tea Party issue. We believe in free markets, except when we don't, like in the case of drugs. But drug use is not different in any significant way from alcohol or tobacco use (or Four Loko use) for that matter. We don't interfere with Americans' rights to recreational activities, even if some of them overindulge. When people overindulge, we hold them accountable and get them help, if necessary (and I don't mean government help, I mean the kind of help you give to friends.)
Note to those who fear that kids will be able to get drugs more easily if legalized.  Drugs are illegal now, and as a consequence are easier for the youngsters to obtain than booze, where businesses seek to keep their licenses by limiting sales to minors.

No comments:

Post a Comment