Pubdate: Tue, 14 Sep 2010
Source: Athens Banner-Herald (GA)
Copyright: 2010 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Contrary to the assertion in Andres Oppenheimer's Aug. 31 column,
headlined, "Mexico needs U.S. help but not troops," drugs did not
spawn Mexico's organized crime networks. Just like alcohol prohibition
gave rise to Al Capone, drug prohibition created the violent
drug-trafficking organizations behind all the killings in Mexico. With
alcohol prohibition repealed in the United States, liquor bootleggers
no longer gun each other down in drive-by shootings.

It's worth noting that Mexico's upsurge in violence began only after
an anti-drug crackdown created a power vacuum among competing cartels.
 From a political perspective, Mexican President Felipe Calderon stands
to benefit from the violence.

The drug war is perpetuated by the mainstream media's complicity in
refusing to put so-called "drug-related" crime in context. U.S.
politicians have proved particularly adept at confusing the drug war's
collateral damage. Drug prohibition funds organized crime at home and
terrorism abroad, which then is used to justify increased drug-war

It's time to end this madness. Whether we like it or not, drugs are
here to stay. Changing human nature is not an option. Reforming
harmful drug laws, however, is an option - one that Congress should

Robert Sharpe

Arlington, Va.

Robert Sharpe is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy,
a nonprofit group working to reform drug policy in the United States.
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