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by Peter Moskos

February 15, 2011

DEA Does Good

I just wanted to write that headline... because I don't think I ever has.

But I'll some give credit where credit is due. From the New York Times.
A group of men agreed to assist the Taliban in a conspiracy to ship narcotics through West Africa to the United States and with the proceeds buy weapons for use against American forces in Afghanistan, federal prosecutors in Manhattan announced on Monday.

The charges stemmed from a sting operation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, in which paid informants posed as representatives of the Taliban and discussed arrangements for the proposed drugs and weapons deals with the accused conspirators in meetings in West Africa and Eastern Europe.
“This alleged effort to arm and enrich the Taliban,” [US Attorney] Mr. Bharara said, “is the latest example of the dangers of an interconnected world in which terrorists and drug runners can link up across continents to harm Americans.”
I'm against people seeing weapons to kill US soldiers. There. How's that for a non-controversial statement?

Of course, and I guess it needs to be said once again: Drugs wouldn't be supporting terrorists if these drugs were legal and regulated and taxed. It really is that simple. We can support terrorists and have drug prohibition; or we could legalize and regulate the drug trade and not give support to terrorists. That's the choice we make. Personally, I'd pick the latter. Apparently, that makes me crazy.


Anonymous said...

I've wondered for a few years what it would cost the US government to just outright buy the entire heroin crop in Afghan, then take it out in a field and burn it. There are two big positives I see to this. First, it would deny a major funding source to the Taliban. Second, it would keep it from reaching our streets. Not that I'm under any illusions it would bring about any "victory" in the War on Drugs, but it wouldn't make it any worse. Whatever the upfront purchase costs are, surely they'd be recovered in downstream medical, legal, and incarceration costs.

Sgt. T

PCM said...

I'm sure it would cost a lot less than fighting in Afghanistan.

But don't forget, that when the Taliban controlled the country, for a year, the year I just happened to be a cop in the Eastern, heroin export from Afghanistan dropped to pretty close to zero. They said heroin was un-Islamic (they've since changed their minds). Now *that* was a war on drugs.

And it didn't even cause a ripple in US prices. Our heroin comes from South of the border. You would think the market would be more global, but evidently not too much heroin crosses the big oceans.

I suggest the Afgan government buys the heroin. And then sells it on the world market. Just like what happens today, but minus the government part.