The Pentagon and Homeland Security Department are drawing up plans to send National Guard troops to the Mexico border to fight the drug war.
The Boston Globe reported on Saturday that the Obama administration has proposed a $350 million initiative to “expand the US military’s role in the war on drugs”.
The Obama Admin says it needs the money to make sure the president has “additional flexibility to respond to the drug-related violence”, but critics are skeptical:
The initiative, which was tucked into a supplemental budget request sent to Congress this month, has raised concerns over what some US officials perceive as an effort by the Pentagon to increase its counternarcotics profile through a large pot of money that comes with few visible requirements.
The broadly worded proposal does not mention troop deployments, stipulating only that the military is to receive up to $350 million “for counternarcotics and other activities on the United States’ border with Mexico.” […]
Joy Olson, executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America, which promotes democracy and human rights in the region, said the request lacks the accountability provisions included in the Merida Initiative, which was passed after more than a year of debate in the United States and Mexico.
“They may say that this is for the National Guard, but the way it’s written it is really a blank check for the Defense Department to do whatever it wants on counterdrug issues at the border – and it doesn’t say which side of the border,” Olson said. “When it came to Merida, Congress scrutinized every dollar. Now the administration is asking Congress to give DOD almost as much money for counterdrug activities without any explanation.”
Another blank check signed over to the drug warriors for more cannons and cannon fodder. And this after the Congress just authorized giving Mexico $1.6 billion for military and law enforcement training and equipment in the 3-year Merida Initiative.
And man, these guys are slick. In what I’m sure was a brilliant scheme devised to divert criticism from the Obama administration, the day before the announcement of the ‘350 Million-Dollar Giveaway!’, the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas released a joint statement begging Congress for new drug-war military funding.
I, like many others, had the Audacity to Hope that Obama would bring some real change to the drug war, and was thrilled when he leashed the pitbulls at the DEA – pledging to end the medical marijuana raids and respect state laws. To my dismay, it looks like he can’t even keep that promise.
Until Obama actively takes steps to end the prohibition of drugs, the carnage and human suffering will continue. Unfortunately, I’m losing Hope.