Drug War Reparations

The Bush administration is planning a rare act of responsibility in the destructive War on Drugs the U.S. government has been waging for decades: The administration is paying restitution to Jim and Cory Bowers, the father-and-son survivors of a CIA-sponsored murderous assault on their plane in Peru last April.

Jim's wife and 7-month-old daughter (Cory's mom and sister) were killed when their plane was shot down by the Peruvian air force on suspicion of carrying drug dealers, in accord with U.S.-sponsored drug interdiction policy. (In this specific case, CIA contract employees involved in the surveillance advised caution, but the Peruvians shot it down anyway.)

The $8 million for the Bowers' in Bush's budget proposal is a start (and clear admission that, despite the Peruvians pulling the trigger, the administration recognizes that our policies are really to blame). But there are many more lives literally lost to the waging of this war, from Esequiel Hernandez to Patrick Dorismund to Donald Scott, plus tens of thousands of individuals and families ruined by enforcement of drug laws.

If the U.S. government is truly interested in making good on the damage caused by its War on Drugs, not even Versailles level reparations will be enough.

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