Sunday, January 18, 2009

Do we STILL want to try the same old solutions?

From this morning's Houston Chronicle:

MEXICO CITY — Indiscriminate kidnappings. Nearly daily beheadings. Gangs that mock and kill government agents.
This isn’t Iraq or Pakistan. It’s Mexico, which the U.S. government and a growing number of experts say is becoming one of the world’s biggest security risks.
The prospect that America’s southern neighbor could melt into lawlessness provides an unexpected challenge to Barack Obama’s new government. In its latest report anticipating possible global security risks, the U.S. Joint Forces Command lumps Mexico and Pakistan together as being at risk of a “rapid and sudden collapse.”
“The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels,” the command said in the report published Nov. 25.

I suppose if that drug supply to the United States could be completely cut off the problem would be solved, as the cartels would be starved for cash at least for a little while; but, as the old saying goes, if your grandmother had balls she'd be your grandfather too. I know the El Paso mayor took the easy way out by saying that we weren't going to be studying drug legalization any time soon, but even if he was right that doesn't change the fact that we're going to have to take a long, hard look at the efficacy (or lack thereof) of certain policies and the bureaucracies formed to carry them out if we're going to make any real progress on really doing what we can do to help stabilize Mexico. And I am sure I am really starting to sound like I am blowing a one-note horn in regards to this whole drug legalization thing, but I think there are valid arguments to be made in favor of it. I know that legalization by itself would cause a few problems, but if it as accompanied by a return to things like, say, personal responsibility — i.e., not spending one's whole paycheck on legal blow — that couldn't be anything but good. I know at this point it may not be very politically feasible, but that doesn't automatically make it not worthy of discussion.
Oh, yeah, this is a good 'ern, at Willie's Place, Sirius Ch. 64: "I've been living in hell, with a bar for a cell, still paying, for my cheatin' crime....oh, and I've got, a long way to go, still doin' time..."