FRED REED IS A CURMUGEON to some, a tell-it-like-it-is observer to others. An American ex-pat living in Mexico, he has been rather scathing in his denunciation of American policies and their impact on Latin America. His latest blog post, "Helping the DEA" resumes his critique of the Drug Enforcement Agency
Fact is, though, DEA as an organization ain’t done jack-shit about drugs. I’m sorry, but there it is. It’s like a law of logic. If you set out to do something impossible, you won’t do it. That’s DEA.
A little history if I may. In the Sixties, when mind candy went universal, we had pot, acid, shrooms, mescaline, and various amphetamines. Scag was a ghetto drug for strung-out crashers like William Burroughs, coke mostly unknown, and crack nonexistent.
OK, half-century later. To my certain knowledge, today in suburban Washington, as for example at Washington and Lee High where my daughters did time, kids can buy all the aforementioned goodies, plus nitrous, Ecstasy, crystal and, within a five-minute drive, there may still be an open-air crack market in the parking lot of Green Valley pharmacy. Crack isn’t a kid drug, but it is easily available all over Washington.
Further, I know all sorts of people in their sixties now, veterans of Dong Ha or Woodstock, some of them vets of both, and most of them do grass and not infrequently hallucinogens. I’m talking door-gunners, Special Forces guys, at least two Ivy profs, just plain people. So, Michelle, what exactly has the War on Half the Population accomplished?
You certainly aren’t protecting kids in high school, or even middle school, from becoming drooling stoners living in dumpsters. They have easier access to drugs than you do. What protects kids from becoming needle-cases is—I am aware of the preposterousness of this—the common sense of teenagers. They aren’t druggies because they don’t want to be. They aren’t alkies because they don’t want to be. Most don’t smoke because they don’t want to. DEA has nothing to do with it. Kids could easily do all of these things. America is up to the armpits in drugs, tobacco, and booze.
So you see, Michelle, the DEA is like a man sitting on a raft in mid-Pacific, trying to outlaw water.
And failure has some frightening possibilities, because the cartels are ruthless, and if, in the unlikely event that the DEA did get its shit together, there could be even more need for body bags:
You might try to drill into the Pentagonal mind—I would suggest a cold chisel and a sledge hammer—that Mexico differs in a fundamental way from the military’s other comic efforts at martial enterprise: The narcos have a million gringo hostages. Or maybe five hundred thousand. Nobody is sure exactly how many Americans live in Mexico. They—we—are very soft targets. We live in a sort of sprawl across Mexico, concentrated in places well known, grouping in known bars, unarmed and utterly defenseless.
A minor contact I have with the bad guys says that, now, attacking Americans carries a death sentence from people who would carry it out with a blow torch over a period of days. “Oh no. Don’t fuck with the gringos,” says this guy. Like most Mexicans, the narcos figure the US is looking for a pretext to invade. They are happy with the current semi-partnership with Washington and don’t want interference.
But piss these bad boys off—they are very, very bad boys—and they could begin killing gringos by hundreds. Logically it would be an easy way of putting pressure on Washington to back off. Washington could write off aging vets living on disability from Nam, but a lot of expats here live in houses costing a million doomed green dollars.
Meanwhile, we have Stevie and his attitude on drugs. H/T to Nolan.