Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Stupid Terror War Pulls Troops Away From Stupid Drug War

Burdened U.S. military cuts role in drug war
I bet Tony Montana is loving life lately...

Air and sea patrolling is slashed on southern smuggling routes.
January 22, 2007

WASHINGTON — Stretched thin from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has sharply reduced its role in the war on drugs, leaving significant gaps in the nation's narcotics interdiction efforts.

Since 1989, Congress has directed the Pentagon to be the lead federal agency in detecting and monitoring illegal narcotics shipments headed to the United States by air and sea and in supporting Coast Guard efforts to intercept them. In the early 1990s, at the height of the drug war, U.S. military planes and boats filled the southern skies and waters in search of cocaine-laden vessels coming from Colombia and elsewhere in South America.

But since 2002, the military has withdrawn many of those resources, according to more than a dozen current and former counter-narcotics officials, as well as a review of congressional, military and Homeland Security documents. Internal records show that in the last four years the Pentagon has reduced by more than 62% its surveillance flight-hours over Caribbean and Pacific Ocean routes that are used to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and, increasingly, Colombian-produced heroin. At the same time, the Navy is deploying one-third fewer patrol boats in search of smugglers.

The Defense Department also plans to withdraw as many as 10 Black Hawk helicopters that have been used by a multi-agency task force to move quickly to make drug seizures and arrests in the Caribbean, a major hub for drugs heading to the United States. And the military has deactivated many of the high-tech surveillance "aerostats," or radar balloons, that once guarded the entire southern border, saying it lacks the funds to restore and maintain them.

The Department of Defense defended its policy shift in a budget document sent to Congress in October: "The DOD position is that detecting drug trafficking is a lower priority than supporting our service members on ongoing combat missions."

Members of Congress and drug-control officials have said the Pentagon's cuts and redeployments have hamstrung the U.S. drug interdiction effort at a time when an estimated 1,000 metric tons of inexpensive, high-quality cocaine is entering the country each year.

The cutbacks continue at a time when the Pentagon has officially reclassified the drug interdiction effort as part of the broader war on terrorism, citing intelligence showing growing ties among terrorists, drug dealers and organized-crime syndicates.

"In the post-9/11 world, where both securing and detecting threats to our nation's borders have become critical national security objectives, we cannot continue to neglect the fact that narco-traffickers are breaching our borders on a daily basis," according to a report that was quietly issued last month by the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources.

The weakening of the U.S. drug interdiction effort comes just as U.S. authorities have had some major successes in the drug war, led by the Pentagon's Joint Interagency Task Force-South, based on Key West, Fla. Authorities have seized increasing amounts of cocaine since 2001, including a record 300,000 pounds in 2005, although records show that seizures dropped off sharply in 2006, to 230,000 pounds.
What you're seeing here is a scramble by bureaucrats to cover their budgets and perceived importance in the eyes of Congress.

"Congress is afraid of Terrorims? Okay, give them Terrorists. Run some ads that say buying drugs funds Terrorism. We'll make 'em give us more Anti-Drug funding if we have to dress up as Terrorists and fly drugs into the Capitol Building"

Incidentally, "1,000 metric tons"? REALLY? Because 1000 metric tons = 2,204,622 pounds of pure, uncut cocaine.

That's 45.5 grams of pure coke for every one of the 22 million Americans estimated by the DEA to have ever -tried- Cocaine in their entire life. Since the powder that reaches the street often contains no more than 12% pure cocaine, those original kilos have now been fattened to some eight kilos, thus increasing all 22 million coke-trying Americans share to 363 grams per year, or 8/10ths of a pound of cocaine per user. Assuming that a whopping 50% of those who ever try coke once become steady users, that means the government is claiming that these 11 million American cokeheads are consuming a pound and a half of coke per year, or 727 grams. At $80-$100 or so per gram, according to Google, that means I'm supposed to believe that the AVERAGE cokehead is spending a whopping $72,700/year on coke.

Sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on this.

The Drug War is the War On Terror version 1.0; an excuse for the Government of this country to declare war on its own people and to strip us of our freedoms in the name of "winning" an unwinnable war.