Colombia the Model

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Alex Massie catches this bit in a New York Times article on Afghanistan: U.S. drug officials searching for rainbows and wishing the country could become more like Colombia.

While the Latin American nation remains the world's cocaine capital and is still plagued by drug-related violence, American officials argue that decades of American counternarcotics efforts there have at least helped stabilize the country.

"I wanted the Colombians to come here to give the Afghans something to aspire to," Mr. Balbo [the US Drug Enforcement Agency's Kabul chief] said. "To instill the fact that they have been doing this for years, and it has worked."

Like Massie says: "Just to be clear: if Afghanistan endures a half century of civil war—a good deal of it fuelled by American and European drug policies—this will be considered a success. Who are these guys? Characters in an Evelyn Waugh satire?"

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  1. Actually, to the untrained eye, the two countries already seem to have much in common–ceaseless low-level warfare that started long before the cultivation of narcotic cash crops.

  2. When I saw that, I thought, “Well, this is the NYT.”

  3. These guys come from the States where no pro WOD statement is ever challenged, no matter how divorced from reality.

    I use to hope that one day a drug warrior would say something too stupid for most people to swallow. But now I’ve come to believe, when it comes to “Drugs are bad m’kay”, I don’t think it’s possible to be too stupid for most people.

  4. hey Ruthless!

    welcome back!

  5. Wow. It’s impossible to satirize these people. Anything you would put in their mouths they have already said.

  6. But now I’ve come to believe, when it comes to “Drugs are bad m’kay”, I don’t think it’s possible to be too stupid for most people.

    This is your brain on the War on Drugs.

  7. Perhaps Will Allen can stop by to explain why we have to intervene in Columbia in order to sustain the flow of cocaine.

  8. Is this the bus to Cartagena?

  9. If we don’t start seeing horribly distorted Afghani stereotypes acting as the shadowy leaders of international drug smuggling rings by 2008, then the terrorists will win!

    (I’m looking at you, Fred “I know Dick Wolf personally” Thompson)

  10. I couldn’t make it through the article. I was just too distracted by the pretty blue fake AK-47’s. Kalashnikov’s as done by Yves Klein. Very hip!

  11. Cartagena?

    That’s that-a-way. You’re miles away. Who told you that? Oh – that nice man with the gun?

    *gets on Little Mule and rides off 🙂

  12. Thank Urkobold for VM, else my increasingly obscure references would go unheralded.

    Aw, man, the Doobies broke up!

  13. about 20 new members of what is intended to be an elite Afghan drug strike force. The recruits – who American officials say lack even basic law enforcement skills – watch wide-eyed.

    “This is kindergarten,” said Vincent Balbo, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration chief in Kabul, whose office is overseeing the training. “It’s Narcotics 101.” Another D.E.A. agent added: “We are at a stage now of telling these recruits, ‘This is a handgun, this is a bullet.’ “

    Yeah, this “elite strike force” is going to do real well, I can just tell now. I’m sure they won’t have a human rights problem either. Christ on a crutch, how brainwashed does one have to be to think this is “working”? (I would also point out that I don’t recall anything in the Constitution that empowers the federal government to train domestic police forces in other countries, but it’s kind of passe at this point.)

  14. While the Latin American nation remains the world’s cocaine capital and is still plagued by drug-related violence, American officials argue that decades of American counternarcotics efforts there have at least helped stabilize the country.

    This is the “we know what we’re doing is right therefore it must be working even if all the evidence points in the opposite direction” theory of social work.

    Sort of like the Washington, D.C. government saying it needs its gun ban to continue preventing violence.

  15. WTF

    Via nationmaster.com, Columbia ranks 4th in fatalities per capita during 2000 to 2006. Arround 27 per million. How is this a goal to aim for in Afghanistan?

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