Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Traffic" Update

A drug dealer named Shorty joins Warren Buffet and Bill Gates on the Forbes list of the world's richest people as President Obama talks about sending National Guard troops to the Mexican border because "it's unacceptable if you've got drug gangs crossing our borders and killing U.S. citizens."

We are living in a sequel to Steven Soderbergh's 2000 movie "Traffic" now as the American appetite for controlled substances competes with financial greed to undermine the society. In almost a decade since, the "war on drugs" has gone no better than those in the Middle East.

The President spoke yesterday about a "two-way situation" on the Mexican border: "The drugs are coming north, we're sending funds and guns south. As a consequence, these cartels have gained extraordinary power. Our expectation is to have a comprehensive policy in place in the next few months."

The first step was the appointment as drug czar of a former street cop, Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, who in his acceptance brought out echoes of the Michael Douglas character in "Traffic," saying, "Our nation's drug problem is one of human suffering, and as a police officer but also in my own family, I have experienced the effects that drugs can have on our youth, our families and our communities."

In announcing Kerlikowske's appointment, Vice-President Joe Biden cited the "very, very heavy price tag, both in terms of personal and emotional terms, and in terms of cost to the American taxpayer. Just the health and economic cost alone from drug and alcohol abuse amounts to over $350 billion a year."

Unlike our other 21st century wars, this one starts at home with a Depression-proof demand for the drug cartels' product, and it won't end with sending more troops to prevent them from cashing in on it.

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