Obama Administration

The 5 Dumbest Things the Obama Administration Has Said About Mexico's Drug War

How the Obama administration talks to its neighbors about drugs.

|

At last week's Summit of the Americas, President Barack Obama reiterated his belief that the war on drugs is winnable, and that the alternative—legalization or decriminalization—isn't one the U.S. is willing to consider. This despite the fact that an increasing number of Central and South American governments are considering those very alternatives.

Despite campaign promises to scale back the war on drugs, Obama has been a hardliner since the first day of his administration. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the talking points the Obama administration has used to justify its proxy war with Mexico's drug traffickers, which has wreaked havoc on our southern neighbor. Unlike in the U.S., where Obama is careful to sound open-minded and compassionate about the effects of the drug war, when it comes to Mexico, the American position is defined by vulgarity, condescension, dishonesty, and nonchalance. 

Read five of the worst, if not the five worst statements made by the Obama administration about Mexico's drug war below. 

5.) "Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians."

Who said it: Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

Why she's wrong: Dozens of news organizations cited Clinton's (and Obama's) claim that American guns are the weapons of choice in Mexico's drug war, but that's simply not true. "Many of the weapons are stolen from the Mexican military and police, often by deserters," Jacob Sullum wrote in 2009. "Some are smuggled over the border from Guatemala; others come from China by way of Africa or Latin America. Russian gun traffickers do a booming business in Mexico." Additionally, "the futile effort to stop Americans from consuming politically incorrect intoxicants is the real source of the violence in Mexico, since prohibition creates a market with artificially high prices and hands it over to criminals."

4.) "The danger here is on several fronts. Number one is the tremendous violence. I think the numbers that Mexican officials have mentioned are 150,000 who have died by violence, mainly between cartels in Mexico."

Who said it: Leon Panetta, director of the CIA

Why he's wrong: While the drug war in Mexico has been outrageously deadly, the highest publicly available estimate of drug war casualties during the presidency of Felipe Calderon, tallied by NGOs and journalists, is roughly 50,000. The Mexican government says even that number is too high. Either Panetta knows something the Mexican government doesn't know, or the director of America's biggest intelligence agency mistated the number of people killed in a U.S.-backed war by a factor of three.  

3.) "It's worth debating [legalization] in order to lay to rest some of the myths that are associated with the notion of legalization. The debate always occurs, understandably, in the context of serious violence that occurs with the society, particularly in societies that don't have the institutional framework and the structure to deal with organized, illicit operations."

Who said it: Joe Biden, vice president of the United States

Why he's wrong: A couple of reasons. The first is that the real "myths" associated with legalization, as demonstrated by Portugal, are the ones being spread by the White House and its agencies. Second, while the legalization debate may "always" occur in countries destabilized by drug war violence, it doesn't occur only in those countries. The debate over prohibition is alive and well, for instance, in the United States, where violence is historically low. The president's drug control strategy, heinous as it is, even admits that violence isn't the only negative externality of the war on drugs. There's also the effect on employment, education, and family stability.

2.) "Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that this process of collaboration under the Merida Initiative will eventually succeed because of a very simple reason for Mexico as well as for the United States: We cannot lose, because if we lose we will say to the generations that come after us 'you are condemned to live in a disgusting and repulsive world,' and that's a conversation I do not want to have with my children or grandchildren in years to come."

Who said it: William Brownfield, assistant secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. State Department

Why he's wrong: A world in which human beings can freely recreate in ways that do not harm their neighbors is not objectively disgusting or repulsive. Drug use dates back to antiquity and will likely accompany us to the end of time. It's arguably not worth shedding blood over. 

1.) "It may seem contradictory, but the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success in the fight against drugs….[cartels] are like caged animals, attacking one another."

Who said it: Michele Leonhart, director of the Drug Enforcement Administration

Why she's wrong: In 2011, the Child Rights Network in Mexico estimated that nearly 1,000 children had been killed in drug-related violence between 2006, when Felipe Calderon ramped up the Mexican drug war, and 2010. In 2011, a drug-related casino bombing in Mexico killed 52 people, most of them elderly. So it's not just cartel fighters killing each other. But even if it were—calling them "animals" doesn't reflect well on Obama's "compassionate" drug policy. 

Mike Riggs is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

NEXT: NYT: Food Deserts Are Not Real. Also, We Can Fix Them.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So they’re evil, stupid, or both? I’m going with both.

  2. “the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success in the fight against drugs….[cartels] are like caged animals, attacking one another”

    By that logic, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre “proves” that Prohibition was a success.

  3. I can tell you for certain, the drug cartels are made up of the same ilk as the taliban commander who turned himself in hoping to collect the bounty on himself. The same kinds of people as make a living cooking meth or poaching here in the states.

    It looks like the Obama administration isnt all that different from them.

  4. “President Barack Obama reiterated his belief that the war on drugs is winnable”

    What more does any intelligent person need to hear beyond that statement to conclude that this guy is either a completely dishonest liar, or a total fool, or both.

    1. I’m going with completely dishonest lying complete fool, myself.

    2. Tony? You’re going to stand there and take all this???

      Are you a man or a mouse?

      SQUEEK UP!!

      1. Oooh ooh let me try!

        Republicans in congress made him say it!! …no?… ok then, uhh he inherited this drug war; nothing he can do to change it!!

        Still no? Uhhh.. Derp herpity derp! So there!

    3. I gots to know. How will President Obama know when the WoD has been won?

      1. The answer, of course, is that it can never be won, just like the war or terror. If either were won, who would employ all the retards working for DHS and DEA?

  5. i have a differant take on the war on drugs. first at the border there is no war on drugs. we are not even trying to control our borders. insatiable appattite for drugs would be far less and easier to deal with iif they where not so prevalent. it is said illegal drug use is somewhere between 3% and 5% right now if it doubled in this country it would be over. drug and alcohol abuse is not done in a vacuum. most of the users have kids or will have. this is not a problem you shut off. the affects of drugs and acohol are everywhere. my own family has been destroyed by them. if drugs where legalized the govt would take over and cause even more problems. the answer is to some degree decriminalizing them, or at least real harsh sentences for small time dealers. if we at least enforced our borders there would be less of them. we treat the symtoms but not the cause.

    1. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn

      the answer is to some degree decriminalizing them, or at least real harsh sentences for small time dealers

      Utter cognitive dissonance much?

    2. Do you own your own body? If yes, then what gives anyone else the right to dictate what you may or may not put into it. If others can dictate what you may put into it, and punish you if you defy their edicts, do you really own your own body?

      And if heroin were made legal would you use it? No?

      I rest my case.

      1. You want to legalize suicide and self-castration too? Didn’t think so moron.

        1. I want to legalize those things. Who are you to decide what is best for others? You probably have trouble taking care of yourself.

        2. Trust me, I have no intention of even trying to prevent you from castrating yourself.

        3. why do people like you always change the topic? he wasnt talking about suicide of self castration I guess you never learned reading comprehension? Didn’t think so moron.

        4. Actually suicide is no longer a crime in any of the 50 states. Have you heard of a massive uptick in suicides?

          I doubt self-castration is a crime either unless it falls under practicing medicine without a license.

        5. Hey clown please explain why exactly suicide should be a crime ???

          This is probably one of the dumbest attempts at playing a gotcha I have ever seen, libertarians very much support the right to suicide and so do a very large segment of other political groups as well.

        6. Self-castration
          isn’t that just a sex change which is legal already

        7. You want to legalize suicide and self-castration too? Didn’t think so moron.

          Since suicide is already legal, why don’t you try it? I mean, what’s stopping you?

    3. insatiable appattite for drugs would be far less and easier to deal with if they where not so prevalent.

      Supply and demand, how does it work again?

      1. Government demands you stop supplying, that’s how!

        /sic

  6. Your dumb comment #3, is even dumber than you say because it displays the biggest bait-and-switch in our history. Let’s see:

    Drugs were criminalized in the early part of the Twentieth Century because… they were named as causes of violent crime and other so-called social problems. The drug war was declared by Nixon in the ’70s because… drugs cause violent crime and other so-called social problems.

    This is important to keep in mind because Congress in the ’30s and Nixon in the ’70s never mentioned how many people were getting high and if this number was increasing uncontrollably or if supply of drugs was increasing dangerously, etc etc. The laws were passed because Congress thought it’s duty was to protect society from the violence generated by drug use, etc etc.

    Therefore, the “serious violence” that the drug war generates is just about the whole point: violence against society today is much, much worse because of drug criminalization and the drug war than it was before criminalization, etc etc. Therefore, the drug war/criminalization of drug use is a failed experiment in curtailing violence against society.

    The rest of the verbiage, about “what would happen if drugs were legal, etc etc” is just part of the bait-and-switch. Nobody was concerned about people getting high before criminalization. They were concerned with violence against society.

    The destruction against Mexican society caused by criminalization/the drug war is just sick.

    1. So what your saying is.
      Once again government policies fail and just make things worse.

  7. Golly. Remember back when where you’d submit a comment and it showed up on the page?

    I sure miss the old days…

    1. Why don’t you just stop being so irrational?

  8. Most of the weapons used by the Mexican military and police are American in origin. So they are right that American weapons crossing the border is the problem.

    1. Well then tell your masters from saying they are “illegaly smuggled” then.

    2. Actually Mustard, that’s not correct. I just read an article that said the largest number comes from the Mexican military and police (stolen of course)

  9. Welcome to matchriches.com!
    MatchRiches.com is a private exclusive dating club to meet millionaires, rich and beautiful men and women worldwide.

    Our members include CEOs, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers, investors, entrepreneurs, professional models and super singers, and Hollywood celebrities, just to name a few.

    Everyone is welcome here. You don’t have to be wealthy or famous.

  10. Welcome to matchriches.com!

  11. MatchRiches.com is a private exclusive dating club to meet millionaires, rich and beautiful men and women worldwide.

    Our members include CEOs, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers, investors, entrepreneurs, professional models and super singers, and Hollywood celebrities, just to name a few.

    Everyone is welcome here. You don’t have to be wealthy or famous.

  12. MatchRiches.com is a private exclusive dating club to meet millionaires, rich and beautiful men and women worldwide.

  13. MatchRiches.com is a private exclusive dating club to meet millionaires, rich and beautiful men and women worldwide.

  14. Our members include CEOs, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers, investors, entrepreneurs, professional models and super singers, and Hollywood celebrities, just to name a few.

  15. Everyone is welcome here. You don’t have to be wealthy or famous.

  16. Never heard of an alcohol dealer joining a gang and stocking up on guns. Then costing us money when we throw him in jail, coming out bitter, and killing people.

    1. …and for the what happens when someone gets high on X and does X horrible thing!? crowd:

      Alcohol will make you do the craziest shit.

      Anger will make you do crazier shit.

      Alcohol AND anger will make you do things so insane people will wonder how any human being could be so devoid of morals and restraint.

      1. Meh, I might re-phrase that:

        Alcohol will make you dumber.

        There are lots of dumb people that drink.

        Dumb people do dumb shit.

  17. very nice post very interesting details i read your blogs daily

  18. this actually answered my drawback thanks exactly what i was looking for very good submit

  19. hi admin i love your blog wonderful post lovely just what i was searching for

  20. i have some ideas from this thanks sweet website i have read fully article

  21. absolutely love this site its very nice to read

  22. keep on writing i am so grateful for your article post really looking forward to read more

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.