Argument for or Against the Debate on Ending or Continuing the War on Drugs Term Paper
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War on Drugs
The concept of the 'War on Drugs' was first coined by President Nixon back in 1971 in an effort to discourage the illegal trafficking of drugs. The primary motivation for this was the way that many states were falling victim to the dynamics of the drugs and terrorism links prevalent in the region. There have many studies conducted that show various authentic connections between the drug business and how a majority of the money it produces is used to fund terrorism and destructive activities.
Throughout the late 19th century, numerous parts of the United States, from time to time, have faced numerous disruptions in their efforts for the peace process because of the growth of the drug industry. The entire debate on war in drugs now revolves around whether or not, certain drugs must be legalized/not legalized and their trafficking and distribution monitored. In a recent article, published in New York Times, the writer goes on to say that one of the major reasons that the war on drugs and drug addiction is general has played such a vital role in years is because of the inefficient prison systems in the country. The writer explains that the rigidity and inefficient monitoring in the prisons creates criminal traits in first-time offenders (The New York Times, 2011).
The article also claims that the structure of prisons and criminal law is not one that supports prisons to be filled with criminal who have committed serious offences and instead leads to common low-level criminals engaging in drug or alcohol abuse within the prisons and outside and thus being retained in prisons for offences in the similar domains. This, the articles claims, does cause a major dent in some of the minorities (like the African-Americans) who seem to develop the drug-abusive traits more quickly and are much more vulnerable thereof on a social level as they experience a deprived lifestyle, falling salaries, rising prejudice and injustice (The New York Times, 2011). They also are far more vulnerable, due to this weakened social stature, to the drug traffickers who offer them a healthy-wealthy way out for them and their families. This is perhaps why I feel very strongly about the aggressive continuation of the war on drugs towards not only legalizing or limiting access to certain drugs but also to decrease the stronghold of the drug trafficking structure within the United States on a financial and social scale.
War on Drugs
The interesting thing to note here is that the Obama administration is now considering a different, more productive approach towards war on drugs by, first, not referring to it as a war! The administration takes a somewhat vague approach on the debate of whether the war on drugs must continue or not claiming that the phenomenon of drug addiction was merely a disease and must be treated so. This means that the overall structure of drug abuse, the current administration propagates, must be fought off at a medical, psychological and cognitive level. They justify this approach by claiming that further restrictions or legalizations of drugs will make the drug distribution much more difficult to monitor, hence making them lose control over how they maintain the community's health and security against drug trafficking (Institute for Behavior and Health, 2011).
While, the approach of the current government to maintain a steady and balanced approach towards the dilemma of legalizing restricting drugs access is understandable, but the overall impact of drug trafficking in the region cannot be ignored and should, perhaps on its own, be reason enough for a more aggressive approach on restricting drugs access and restricting distributions of certain drugs currently available in the market. A great support for this particular argument is the case of Columbia in Latin America where the drug trafficking structure has increased terrorism and destroyed the sanctity of a prosperous and developing social structure. This is explained in detail below.
War on drugs and Terrorism
Two of the biggest influential and financial contributors in Columbia, FARC and AUC are major drug dealing/terrorist groups and a major part of their finances comes from the profits earned out of the drug business that they do that they then invest in organizations that design terrorist acts. The Columbian Government has made viable efforts in recent years to curb these activities of both the FARC and AUC organizations
and coerce them into separate themselves from the drug industry and produce finance in a way that is more generally accepted by the masses and international governments as legal and moral. At times, in recent years we have also seen that with such a strong relationship between the drug industry and terrorism, the Columbian government has stepped forth with violent opposition that has yielded significant results. This research will thus focus on the organizations FARC and AUC and their overall background and input in the drug-terrorism link (Kempe, 1990; Hudson, 1995).
During the 1970s, most of the Columbian region had a he resource of the drug marijuana which was then used in the drug industry as one of the main profit-making assets or accessories. Marijuana trafficking grew thick and fast and brought huge sums of profits from within and abroad all through the decade. Marijuana traffickers soon progressed to be among the major contributors to the economy of the Colombia. However, it wasn't until the 1980s when cocaine trafficking came around, that the left-wing terrorist clans saw an opportunity to make huge profits to fund their terrorists attacks. Cocaine was a much stronger and much more popular drug and most drug dealers more money in its trafficking than any other drugs. This was a pattern that was also fast emerging within the United States and was the reason President Nixon pioneered the concept of War on Drugs in an attempt to nip the problem at the bud (Hudson, 1995).
This particular pattern of profit-making enticed many terrorists groups, in Colombia, but none could really figure out the approach that they could adopt to bring them the most benefit till the M-19 movement was initiated in April 1981. As a terrorist group, it believed that its best opportunity was to target a particular cocaine trafficking group and use tactics of fear, kidnapping and forceful extortion to use the group's profits in their terrorist efforts. Their first endeavour targeted the Medellin cartel that was one of the profitable cocaine trafficking organizations at the time, and their method of extortion initiated the kidnapping of a member's sister, namely Jorge Ochoa. The result was not as favourable as they had hoped as the organization responded by launching a counter attack and used the trafficked money to fund a death mission Muerte a Secuestradores" (Death to Kidnappers) killing and destroying as many people and outlets of the terrorist group till the kidnapped victim was returned safely in early 1982 (Duzan, 1994).
The terrorist group, M-19, hoped to get finance from the Columbian traffickers as well as from other trafficking organizations in Cuba and Libya. Hence, even though their attempt to coerce Medellin cartel into business with them backfired terribly, their association with Colombian trafficker Jaime Guillot-Lara was starting to show positive results. The terrorist group had settled into an agreement with Lara that allowed Lara to smuggle drugs into Cuba under the protection of the terrorist group and in exchange for this format of protection, Lara would provide the M-19's patrons in Cuba with arms and ammunitions or finance to buy the ammunition they needed. Simultaneously, the M-19 was looking to strike a similar deal with the Medellin kingpins. This was where it all began, the link between the drug and terrorism industries that so strongly exists today was first formed here in a way where both parties were equally benefited in the short and long run. That negotiating pattern is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why this link sustained and still remains so strong (Ehrenfeld, 1990). This is where the current administration running the United States Government should perhaps learn its most vital lesson in the continuation of this war on drugs: while restricting or legalizing drugs might cause them to lose control over the community's medical health, the profit-making opportunists within the country will most likely still find ways to access the drugs they need and in the process harm the overall social and mental health of the communities too. Hence, a passive approach on the war on drugs is not acceptable as it can only lead to the need of a much more aggressive strategy in the near future which suggests that an aggressive outlook on the legalizing and restricting access to certain drugs and their relevant monitoring must be done in order to pre-emptively counter any aforementioned negativity surfacing within the United States.
It was in the year 1998 that the Columbian government analyzed and estimated that it was indeed the revenue from the drug trafficking business that was serving as one of the main finance resource for both the right-winged and left-winged terrorist…
Sources Used in Documents:
Duzan, M.J. (1994). Death Beat: A Colombian Journalist's Life inside the Cocaine Wars, ed. And trans. By Peter Eisner. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, p. 4.
Ehrenfeld, R. (1990). Narcoterrorism. Basic Books, pp. 31 -- 36.
Falcoff, M. (2000). Colombia: The Problem that Will Not Go Away. AEI Latin American Outlook March 2000: 1, http://www.aei.org/lao/lao11476.htm
Hudson, R.A. (1995). Colombia's Palace of Justice Tragedy Revisited: A Critique of the Conspiracy Theory. Terrorism and Political Violence 7: 100 -- 103, 119 -- 121.
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