Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bullets from the Drug War

[One-year update: I posted this a year ago. Right now, the Secretary of State, the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other American top brass are in Mexico City trying to spin this. Let's see if any of what I said a year ago needs to be revisited.]
  • The US has lost the "War on Drugs"
  • The losing side is usually not the one to decide when a fight is over or how it ends
  • Unlike other recent defeats, this lost war is a defeat followed by an invasion
  • Mexico is the natural staging area for the invasion (inconvenient though it is for the Mexicans)
  • New franchises are being set up to service the North American drug market (which is the biggest in the world)
  • The CIA has to eat, and all they know how to do competently is run guns and drugs and control thugs; they get a seat at the table
  • The narcs have to eat too, and all they are trained to do is deal (with) drugs; they get a seat at the table too
  • As the federales grow weak in the US and Mexico, the battle lines will advance north of the border, leaving Mexico a quiet and largely intact backwater
  • This is an inter-US conflict, because Americans are the most avid consumers, sellers, and prosecutors of drugs
  • Life in the USA gives everyone a pain that is for many people simply not survivable without drugs: either alcohol, pharmaceuticals or illegal drugs
  • Illegal drugs are far more cost-effective than either pharma or alcohol — government-licensed industries which are either excessively lucrative or taxed heavily
  • As Americans give up hope, they will need to self-medicate in ever-larger numbers
  • They will be far more able financially to afford illegal drugs than either pharma or alcohol.
  • Illegal drugs (and moonshine) are two very large post-collapse enrepreneurial opportunities within the fUSA/бСША [Orlov 2005]
  • This is no longer a war against drugs; it is now a contest between alternative drug distribution systems
  • One alternative is a centralized, paramilitary organization run by CIA remnants, former military, and former police
  • Another alternative is ethnic mafias, which will diversify into many other kinds of trade.
  • The third, nautrally most cost-effective alternative will be provided by informal, local distribution networks based on barter, which will be all that is left once the dust settles
  • The downside of all this is that it will be hard to find anyone sober enough to operate a light switch
  • The upside to that is that the national electrical grid goes away, so there will be very little demand for competent light switch operators


Matt Conlon said...

You mentioned Americans losing hope... There's a huge amount who don't even know they should be hoping for anything. I wonder what percentage of America is just blissfully unaware?

Unknown said...

I like your comment about American life causing so much pain that it essentially requires medication. I think of this every time I see a homeless person. They may not have access to pharmaceuticals effective for their level of pain. Virtually everyone I know takes anti-depressants now,for a variety of ailments including anxiety, depression, ADD, OCD, and so on. Most of these are just normal variations of mood and character, I think. But a pathological society pathologizes everyone, so that we're too numb to rebel.

Larkin said...

I remember just before the mid-sixties people started thinking that maybe it was foolish to be jailing all these people who had committed what they called victimless crimes. Drug use, homosexuals and porno producers. Next thing you know people started dancing, blowing bubbles, having sex without hiding and encouraging outlaw art to come into the open.

I miss those days and yet many people look back at this period with shock and horror.

Well that's how I look at this period and its mania for locking not only people but young people up and issuing long life destroying sentences for what? Victimless crimes.

For some reason these behaviors inflame people and politicians exploit and pander to people's fears. In this way bad laws are made and in doing this they lay down the foundation of a police state.

22 years ago William Burroughs appeared in the film "Drugstore Cowboy" with Matt Dillon. The old man played a drug addicted reprobate x-priest. Right up his alley.
Quoting him from the film, he said, "I predict that politicians will use the hysteria about drugs to set up an international police force."
Well, he was right...

Anonymous said...

Is America truly the land of the free?

Once a man discovers he has enemy does he immediately react hastily or does he devise a plan, assess his alliances, and prepare for battle? Many of us out here who truly believe that African-Americans, Hispanic, and poor Whites do not share the same enemies in than I implore you to go read "The New Jim Crow," by Michelle Alexander.

The US has the highest prison population in the world - the top ten are:
1 United States of America 2,085,620
2 China 1,548,498
3 Russian Federation 763,054
4 Brazil 330,642
5 India 313,635
6 Ukraine 198,386
7 Mexico 191,890
8 South Africa 186,739
9 Thailand 168,264
10 Iran 133,658

Why is "the land of the free" the home of so many incarcerated people?

Notice no EU countries on the top 10 list? - We should pay close attention to how the governments there consider the welfare of their people more than corporate earnings.

If you are ready for the truth please read this article in it's called the “The New Resurrected,” you will not be disappointed.

Unknown said...

I don´t know if Mexico will become a quiet backwater. Generally ther will be less violence, but illegal drug trafic (as long as it is illegal) breeds all kinds of corruption in society. A few months ago I heard of bars where zetas came and closed and took wichever girls they liked with the. Yes there will be peace but in many cities and towns we will be quiet and bullied people as narcs get more and more into other ´´buisness´´.

Anonymous said...

"Right wingers will use drug hysteria to set up an international police apparatus" - WSB

To be exact.

And notice that Cuba isn't on the top ten list either, not just the EU...

Justin Fischer said...

The last two points had me giggling at work. I love the Russian gallows humor, God help me.

ted said...

As your only reader in Mexico (as per the "geovisitors" feature)(I am an American) I feel compelled to respond to your post. While the article describes the effects
of the drug war in the United States, it makes little mention of the war in Mexico.

Mexicans from all walks of life (from what I have seen, and the many people whom I've talked to)
feel embarrassed for their country, slightly frightened (at the destabilization of their country), financially troubled (tourism levels have significantly dropped), and angry at F. Calderón/PAN for plunging the country into a what cannot be called anything less than a full fledged domestic war.

The north of Mexico has become a slaughterhouse in urban areas,
and in the state of Michoacán, violence has spiraled to unprecedented levels with many people brutally murdered. A tragic corollary is an increase in the violence against women, in the form of beheading, torture, and severance of body parts after death.

Yet the narcotics trade has enriched Mexico with an influx of billions of dollars in foreign currency. This money provides employment and lucrative opportunities not otherwise available to extremely poor farmers and workers. An entire "narcoculture" has emerged (complete with patron saints) and will not disappear quickly. In short, the narcotics economy here is extremely complex, changes quickly with extreme violence, and is intricately intertwined with the "legitimate" economy. As such, some of your points are in danger of being gross oversimplifications of what is in reality a damned knotty problem.

From the view down here, a few of your criticisms are not quite true:

1."As the federales grow weak in the US and Mexico, the battle lines will advance north of the border, leaving Mexico a quiet and largely intact backwater"

I would disagree. The United States has so far proved to be quite effective at keeping the worst effects of the drug war from beyond its borders. As I stated above, Mexico has been turned into a battleground, not a "quiet backwater," and without a change in US policy in regard to illegal drugs/the narcotics trade it will remain so.

2. "This is an inter-US conflict, because Americans are the most avid consumers, sellers, and prosecutors of drugs"

Again, the US "drug war" has destroyed urban communities in the United States (see Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Oakland, Albuquerque, St. Louis, et al), but has left the majority of the country somewhat removed (but not untouched) from the worst effects of the "war." I would like to again posit that US authorities will continue to prosecute the drug war away from the majority of the population and in a foreign country where the worst violence is barely reported to the US populace.

Not to kick a dead horse, but "collapse" will not be confined to the contiguous borders of the US. In Mexico, collapse is (and since the imposition of NAFTA) already in progress and will continue to affect the security, economy, and society of the US. said...

Per capita incarceration rankings would help tickle these ideas out.

Energyscholar said...

Here's a wikipedia List of Countries by Incarceration Rate. USA is #1 both by rate of incarceration and by by total prisoner count.

Med Dog said...
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Dana Seilhan said...

Larkin, did you seriously just say the porno industry is victimless? Oh, so they're taking photographs of mannequins?

There's a very narrow category of people who pose for and act in porn who choose to be there and like to be there AND are old enough to be there.

Everyone else is either (1) there out of desperation, (2) there through coercion (same thing), (3) underaged, or (4) some combination of some or all of the previous.


Even when that narrow class of people is involved who likes being in porn, consents to being in porn and is old enough to be in porn, they are still putting across the concepts that people (women in particular) are masturbation objects, bodies are for sale, and sex is a commodity.

I am not going to say I'm a saint who never looks at the stuff. I've been isolated for the last five years, have zero hope of finding a new sexual partner (much less a full-blown boyfriend or husband) anytime in the near future, and hey, I get frustrated occasionally.

But I don't pretend there are never any victims. I'm not stupid. Or heartless.

Ditto for prostitution. In fact let me go ahead and put this idea out there: just because YOU like it doesn't mean it's not hurting anyone. If that's how we gauge a "victimless crime," count me out.

By the way, drug use isn't always a victimless crime either. In case you didn't notice, people don't get high in a vacuum. I was in the Army for a few years and raised by alcoholics before that. I know from being affected by other people's drug habits. I lived it.

I'm not saying everything should be banned. I have no opinion either way because, except possibly for caffeine (it seems to prevent major migraines for me), I can live without recreational drugs. I'm sorry that some other people think they can't, but gee, that's really not my problem. I can live without drunk drivers and abusive parents and drunken rape attempts. Thanks anyway.

(And no, before anyone wonders, I'm not a humorless harridan who faints at the thought of sex. Just the opposite, actually. OK, actually, sometimes I'm a harridan. But it ain't a permanent condition.)

Fungus the Photo! said...

How can the banking system lose the war? They have morphed so that what is now the apparent system is bankrupt, knowing that the taxpayer will fill the coffers again. But the capital within has been withdrawn from tax payer control. It still exists. To the extent that the "other side" uses banking and they do, they will lose it all whenever the sytem wants that to happen. Those who do the work: grow and distribute are "saving" money for when they retire. Sound familiar? Same OPM system, different clientele. Those with cash will still have something until the physical currencies are changed.