Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

US Backed Colombian Drug War: Failed

US efforts to combat the drug trade in Colombia have been an abysmal and expensive failure. Demand, production and market value have all risen sharply in just a few years. Via FP:

But coca cultivation rose 15 percent between 2000 and 2006, an October 2008 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found. A separate U.N. study found that in 2007 alone, the area of land hosting coca crops rose 27 percent. To put it mildly, something is not working.

Coca, the base crop for cocaine, has funded the operations of various paramilitaries and the rebel group FARC for decades. Although Colombian military operations have severely hampered FARC’s activities during the last several years, the drug trade continues apace. Aerial spraying and manual eradication have had temporary effects, but coca farmers tend to grow the lucrative crop again because there’s rarely an equally profitable alternative. The GAO reckons that many farmers have moved to more remote areas to avoid the eradication efforts. Meanwhile, the market value of coca rose by roughly $450 per kilogram in 2007 to more than $2,000.
Our War on Drugs is destroying the allies it's meant, in part, to save. It's proven to be an incredibly expensive, ass backwards failure about as effective as dousing a wild fire with gasoline. It's high time our government stops pissing away taxpayers hard earned cash on a strategy that clearly has not and will not ever work.