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by Peter Moskos

May 11, 2008

Losing the drug war

You probably heard about the mass of San Diego State University students arrested for drug dealing. That college students take drugs shouldn't be a big surprise for anybody who went to college. College students drink, too. Nor, if it weren't for the guns involved, would I see it as a big problem.

The far more worrisome news comes from Mexico. On May 8, the acting chief of Mexico's police force was assassinated by drug gangs. That's huge. We don't have an equivalent of that position here. This is the chief of all police for all of Mexico.

On May 10, The number two policeman in Ciudad Jauarez was killed. The sixth senior policeman killed in Mexico this week.

The war on the drugs is not being won.

Killing police chiefs is not a sign of desperation and defeat. It's a high-stakes sign of domination and control. God bless any non-corrupt police officers in Mexico. Would I risk my life for paltry pay to fight the war on the drugs? No.

To me, 75 college students--idiot frat boys, mostly--getting arrested for drug dealing is funny.

Drug dealers defeating the police force of Mexico is not funny. It is entirely possible that drug cartels will take over the Mexican police and to some extent, the entire elected government.

Losing Mexico is a price way too high to pay for the privilege of continuing to fight the endless war on drugs. Especially when the solution--legal drug regulation and an end to drug prohibition--is so simple.

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