Dear Obama, using the American military won’t stop drug trade

Mr. President (and by extension your advisers), there aren’t too many ways to say “this is a stupid idea” better than saying “this is an extremely short-sighted and ridiculously stupid idea”.

What idea you ask? This misguided policy that I recently read about which states the the US military will expand its drug war in Latin America.

Normally, I would go on this rant about how after a trillion dollars spent since the start of the War on Drugs, the US government is no closer to an end.  Or the obvious reality that for all those involved within the drug trade that have been killed or incarcerated, the trade has only grown larger and more resourceful.  But, in this case, the terrible idea is that the American military is being used directly as a policing force.

Now, I’m sure that the governments in Latin America desperately need help in removing the corrupting and violent presence of drug organizations from within their borders.  As these drug organizations thrive, they inevitable subvert the power of government and stagnate the progress of their people.  However, while the drug trade exists and thrives simply because of Western (and particularly American) demand, this is not an area for military involvement or personnel deployment.

Benevolent deployments like humanitarian aid, nation reconstruction and protecting human rights, are all reasonable excuses for military action.  Likewise, wartime deployments make perfect sense when confronting a direct national threat.  Conversely though, the military is not a law enforcement body.  They should not be used as a more powerful Drug Enforcement Agency to supplement another country’s enforcement of their drug policies.

Now, Mr. President, this isn’t the first time that the military has been used in Latin America with regard to drug trade.  However, the time has come to figure out how to actually fix the problem and not try to shoot the problem.  Too much money has been spent and too many lives have been lost to continue doing the same thing previous presidents have done thinking that it will beget different results.

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