The violence in the U.S. from Mexican drug gangs has been grossly overstated, for sure. Now here's another troubling commentary, courtesy of our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
"Clearly what we've been doing has not worked," Clinton told reporters on her plane at the start of her two-day trip, saying that U.S. policies on curbing drug use, narcotics shipments and the flow of guns have been ineffective.
"Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade," she added. "Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police, of soldiers and civilians."
U.S. drug demand is not insatiable; it's relatively stable and predictable. And more to the point (and for the 10,000th time), the violence stems not from the demand itself but from the idiotic and counterproductive war on drugs. Outlaw butter and you'll see the same sort of black market enforced through violence. Outlaw, I don't know, booze and you'll see the same.
Hillary Clinton, like all too many pols, sees only one way to deal with this: More force. Which means more violence.
Clinton's comments came at the start of a U.S. blitz to emphasize support for Mexico's embattled government and improve relations with Latin America. The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it is sending hundreds more agents and extra high-tech gear to the border to intercept weapons and drug proceeds heading south. U.S. border states have become alarmed about a possible spillover of the drug violence, and Congress has held hearings on the drug war.
Clinton vowed to press for swift delivery of equipment promised under the Merida Initiative, a three-year $1.4 billion package of anti-drug assistance to Mexico and Central America. Mexican officials and U.S. lawmakers say there are long lag times for helicopters and other desperately needed gear. In addition, Mexicans complain that Congress has approved only $700 million of the $950 million that the Bush administration requested for the program since it began last year.