Wednesday, May 14, 2008

WSJ's O'Grady gets it

The U.S. Role in a Mexico Assassination

May 12, 2008; Page A13

Stories of campus drug use in the U.S. are so common that last week's arrest of 75 alleged dealers at San Diego State University was shocking chiefly due to the number netted. The occasional big bust aside, the long running drug war has become almost background noise. At least in this country.

American nonchalance about drug use stands in sharp contrast to what is happening across the border in Mexico. There lawmen are taking heavy casualties in a showdown with drug-running crime syndicates. On Thursday the chief of the Mexican federal police, Edgar Millán Gómez, was assassinated by men waiting for him when he came home, becoming the latest and most prominent victim of the syndicates.

What the activities of the San Diego students demonstrate is that here in the land of demand, the "war" isn't taken nearly as seriously as in the land of supply. The Associated Press reported that when undercover agents decided to investigate drug dealing on the San Diego campus, they were surprised at how easy it was to "infiltrate" the crime ring. All they had to do was to reflect interest in a given substance and suppliers appeared.

The transactions at the university went on "in front of dorms, in parking lots or behind frat houses, sometimes in broad daylight in full view of surveillance cameras," the AP reported.

It's no secret that the narcotics trade is like a roach infestation. If you see one shipment or dealer, you can be sure that there are many others that go undetected. That's why such brazen behavior at the university should be disturbing to America's drug warriors. The signs of an infestation are everywhere, making a joke of their 40-year claim that any day now they will wipe out American drug use.

Yet if prohibitionists should find this lack of results troubling, imagine how Mexico must view it. That country doesn't even produce cocaine, but it became a transit route to the U.S. when enforcers had some success in curtailing supplies coming through the Caribbean in the late 1990s.

The rest of the article here.


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