Colombia's War is Also Ours

Colombia's War is Also Ours
Posted by FoM on July 19, 2000 at 09:11:36 PT
House Editorial
Source: Washington Times
President Bill Clinton last week signed a bill to give Colombia $1.3 billion in counter narcotics aid. In doing so, the president, along with Congress, took an important step towards addressing voters' concerns over illicit drug use. Colombia provides the United States with about 80 percent of its cocaine and about 70 percent of its heroin. By giving Colombia the tools it needs to combat narcotrafficking, the United States hopes to slow the flow of drugs onto these shores. 
But there is another reason why the aid to Colombia is important. The United States is the world's largest cocaine consumer, with an annual rate of about 300 tons a year. The U.S. appetite for drugs is therefore a large part of the problem. Washington has the moral imperative to help Colombia combat its drug scourge.   Demand for drugs is propagating blood curdling violence in many parts of the world, especially Colombia. Many Americans are ignorant of the kind of torment they are abetting by enriching narcotraffickers. A look at pictures of massacres in Colombia, where victims are often mutilated, should make recreational drug use less attractive. Rebel and paramilitary forces, which profit handsomely from the drug trade, think little of butchering innocents. In one recent massacre in Colombia, paramilitary forces reportedly killed villagers by either strangling them with metal wires, cutting their throats out, beheading, clubbing or shooting them to death.   "We'd rather see drug consumption drop than get any of this aid," said former Colombian police chief, Gen. Jose Serrano, in an interview with the Associated Press last month. "If consumption were seriously reduced," he added, "this country could go back to what it once was, a place that grew coffee, where people worked hard and sweated for a paycheck."   Unfortunately, though, Americans seem intent on shoving white powder up their noses. National programs to curb demand haven't had the desired effect. Battling the problem at its supply source therefore remains crucial and Washington shoulders a responsibility in providing the funds for the effort. Mr. Serrano, who is widely admired in the United States and Colombia for leading a valiant and effective war on drugs, said that he welcomes the U.S. aid package because it will send a tough message to drug traffickers. But he cautions that the progress in Colombia may serve only to drive traffickers to neighboring countries. Washington must also make very clear to Colombia that if the armed forces fail to penalize human rights abusers, the aid will be immediately suspended.   Wednesday, Mr. Serrano will be the first non-DEA agent to be honored with the special agent's badge. At least Washington will be able to point to a substantive contribution to the war on drugs when the general arrives in the United States. Contact Information: To The Editor: letters washtimes.comPublished: July 18, 2000Copyright © 2000 News World Communications, Inc.Related Articles:Drug War Options Rolling in Cocaine Crop in Colombia Drug War's Southern Front Coca
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #4 posted by freedom fighter on July 20, 2000 at 17:15:23 PT
We, the people of America so ignorant?
Demand for drugs is propagating blood curdling violence in many parts of the world, especially Colombia.**** Many Americans are ignorant of the kind of torment they are abetting by enriching narcotraffickers******Who is really that ignorant? We the people or is it the Law that is based on ignorance? What kind of government who say things like that about its' own people?Narcotraffickers are born the day our sweet ignorant government decided to make war on people. We all remember when Nancy Regan once said that if you brought a joint you just gave a gun to a potdealer in Mexico. She proclaimed that average pot head have blood on their hands and we all know that it is not true.Are We the People ignorant?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by MikeEEEEE on July 19, 2000 at 18:45:40 PT
Speak For Yourself
HA HA HA HA HA, I don't buy it, it's their war, not mine.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on July 19, 2000 at 12:01:17 PT:
This has nothing to do with drugs
And has *everything* to do...with oil.Colombia has recently been discovered to have one of the largest deposits of sweet crude in this hemisphere: the linked article:US-based multinational oil corporations will also benefit from the heightened US involvement in Colombia. Oil is big business in Colombia. The country is one of the most oil-rich nations in the world, with proven reserves of 2.8 billion barrels of crude worth at least $70 billion ... Oil accounts for 30 percent of the country's total exports, up from 25 percent in 1998. The fighting in Colombia jeopardizes this wealth. ELN guerillas have waged a sustained sabotage campaign against oil installations. The Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum has been especially targeted by the ELN. Last year, the guerillas attacked the company's main oil pipeline 79 times. Occidental produces almost one-third of Colombia's oil exports from its Caño Limon facility in north-central Colombia. Now, the company is hoping to expand production into the Samore oil fields, which hold an estimated $35 billion worth of oil. The planned drilling sits inside thetraditional lands of the U'wa, an indigenous group that has already suffered from nearby oil operations and who has threatened to commit mass suicide if the drilling goes through. The ELN attacks present a huge cost to Occidental's current operations and a threat to its plans of future drilling. In the last ten years, the company has lost $1.5 billion to the pipeline attacks. Occidental also pays about 10 percent, or $20 million, of its Colombian revenues to "security," helping to maintain an army base near a company oil refinery and to support two army units to guard the company's pipeline. The benefit for Occidental of increased US involvement in Colombia is clear, and the company has been a big supporter of the military package. On February 15, an Occidental executive testified before a House subcommittee in favor of the package, arguing that the Colombian military isinferior to the guerillas and needs support. Since 1992, Occidental has donated nearly half a million dollars to the Democrats, and Vice President Al Gore, who owns stock in Occidental, has received $10,000 from company executives and their wives for his presidential run.Drugs are a convenient excuse. As one German general once said of Hitler's propaganda "Bunkum for the masses." But those 'masses' were suckered all the same. As ours are being suckered. After all, we fell for the Kuwaiti agitprop about Iraqi soldiers disconnecting life support cribs for preemies, leaving the babies to die, and sending the incubators to Iraq, didn't we? If we could be suckered into that once, maybe a variation on the theme would work again: "The DrugLords are killing our children!!!! Let's go kick their Communist asses the good ol' fashioned way!!!!"Meanwhile, Al Gore and his oil-man buddies the Bush family rake in the dough, while US soldiers once again fight and die for oil profits. Is that what you really want, people?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Doctor Dave on July 19, 2000 at 09:45:24 PT
I don't buy it
This writer has his head so far up the *ss of prohibition that he couldn't see the facts if they bit him on the nose...Other than giving our military something to do, and the U.S. giving the helicopter manufacturers unprecedented amounts of money to fight another Vietnam, this will accomplish little except to escalate the fighting and get more people on both sides killed. It will do nothing to stop the flow of coke and H into the U.S.Why, with all research showing that this is the costliest and least effective way to "fight drugs", would our government waste so much money to do so little except help a foreign government to wage a war on peasants? High-level narcotraffickers will be mostly unaffected -- they're more concerned about battles with rivals, anyway -- and when one dealer dies another steps in quickly to fill his place (and customers). Haven't we learned anything from history and repeating the mistakes of the past?If we really want to stop the flow into the U.S., only one thing needs to be done -- take away the financial incentive. These peasants (and traffickers) are not growing, processing, and shipping these products simply to hook the U.S. and anger our government -- they are doing it to make money. And until we move production to a domestic source and end prohibition, the people in this region will continue to do exactly the same lucrative thing, with or without the annoyances of helicopter flyovers and occassional battles.Doctor Dave"A nation that makes war on huge numbers of its own people can never truly be free."
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: