U.S. Government Reports Admit Drug War Money Is Wasted

Senator Claire McCaskill

Senator Claire McCaskill

Brian Bennett reports for the LA Times:

As drug cartels wreak murderous havoc from Mexico to Panama, the Obama administration is unable to show that the billions of dollars spent in the war on drugs have significantly stemmed the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States, according to two government reports and outside experts.

The reports specifically criticize the government’s growing use of U.S. contractors, which were paid more than $3 billion to train local prosecutors and police, help eradicate fields of coca, operate surveillance equipment and otherwise battle the widening drug trade in Latin America over the last five years.

“We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that wrote one of the reports, which was released Wednesday.

“I think we have wasted our money hugely,” agreed Bruce Bagley, who studies U.S. counter-narcotics efforts and chairs international studies at the University of Miami at Coral Gables, Fla. “The effort has had corrosive effects on every country it has touched.”

Obama administration officials strongly deny that U.S. efforts have failed to reduce drug production or smuggling in Latin America…

[continues in the LA Times]

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  • Anonymous

    Of the many cut backs we need to make, the ridiculous war on drugs has certainly got to go as a failed program that has been wasting billions. Here’s to hoping more politicians wake up to that fact.

  • SF2K01

    Of the many cut backs we need to make, the ridiculous war on drugs has certainly got to go as a failed program that has been wasting billions. Here’s to hoping more politicians wake up to that fact.

  • Anonymous

    “I think we have wasted our money hugely” While that is true indeed, I find it appalling that the financial cost is her first concern. If prohibition ends, it will be all about the money, apparently. Never mind the terrible damage its done to the people -far more than the drugs ever could or would. Never mind the damage its done to the respect people hold for the law or police. Never mind the blood-fed prison industry. Never mind the despair it creates and that it increases the need or desire for escape via hard drugs. Never mind the god damned police state we live in. It’s all about the money.

  • GoodDoktorBad

    “I think we have wasted our money hugely” While that is true indeed, I find it appalling that the financial cost is her first concern. If prohibition ends, it will be all about the money, apparently. Never mind the terrible damage its done to the people -far more than the drugs ever could or would. Never mind the damage its done to the respect people hold for the law or police. Never mind the blood-fed prison industry. Never mind the despair it creates and that it increases the need or desire for escape via hard drugs. Never mind the god damned police state we live in. It’s all about the money.

    • http://defendrightsnow.blogspot.com/ Tom Anderson

      I wouldn’t be appalled, since a politician has to find an socially acceptable way of opposing the absurd drug war without actually making any statement about the virtue of that war.  If she were to oppose the war on moral grounds, Republicans would try to paint her as pro-pot-smoking, or as advocating heroin for kids.  

      This is a good and welcome sign that public opinion is very gradually changing.  While the public still believes that smoking pot is bad, and that the drug war is probably pointless, the easiest line of attack is that it is expensive.  The people who oppose pot smoking, and favor drug criminalization might be open to the idea that it costs too damn much.

      • GoodDoktorBad

        I understand what your saying, she must pander to idiots by appearing equally idiotic while secretly being a good person hiding behind bad apologies for good ideas. That’s working well I’m sure…

        Jumping through so many hoops is so tiring, the fight is over before it begins. 

        • http://defendrightsnow.blogspot.com/ Tom Anderson

          I can’t say that is it working, exactly.  Only time will tell.  But there has to be a monetary limit at some point.  I can’t see that the politicians will want to put most of the population in prison for ingesting illegal drugs, so there is no hope that the expense of enforcing these laws will go down.  Either they get repealed, or we stop enforcing them.  But not enforcing them is probably not an option at this point, because of the violence on the southern border.  That will continue to increase as well, along with increased illegal immigration.  We are headed for a perfect storm here.  I can’t say when it will happen, but the current situation cannot stay the same forever.  It’s difficult to ignore the fact that the increasing violence is caused by illegal drug importation, and since you can’t stop importation, perhaps it makes sense to legalize the drugs and allow competition to reduce the prices, thus reducing the incentive to import contraband. 

    • http://defendrightsnow.blogspot.com/ Tom Anderson

      I wouldn’t be appalled, since a politician has to find an socially acceptable way of opposing the absurd drug war without actually making any statement about the virtue of that war.  If she were to oppose the war on moral grounds, Republicans would try to paint her as pro-pot-smoking, or as advocating heroin for kids.  

      This is a good and welcome sign that public opinion is very gradually changing.  While the public still believes that smoking pot is bad, and that the drug war is probably pointless, the easiest line of attack is that it is expensive.  The people who oppose pot smoking, and favor drug criminalization might be open to the idea that it costs too damn much.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      It is appalling…and crass…but ‘appalling and crass’ are the languages that the other side speak and think in…to create consensus, an appeal has to be made to their warped sensibilities. Its a shame…much like with basic womens health issues which have to be marketed to GOP/neo-cons as a financially rewarding investment in reducing later health expenses. To sane and rational humans who possess compassion and a basic sense of decency…such effort isn’t required…we see what is right and good and agree that it should be. However…when dealing with douchebags (short of popping caps in their skulls and saving ourselves a lot headaches) its important to speak their lingo and make our pitch in a way that will register. If they see that we all win in different ways by changing things…change can finally happen.

    • MoralDrift

      it always was about the money

  • Malk

    whatever you resist persists
    you want to stop drug trade? promote clean life.
    is putting down drug use promoting clean life? no that’s called negativity.
    negativity never works.
    give kids stuff to do in school rather than tests and tests and tests proven to encourage failing.
    give people programs to help them have enough money to do things other than smoke weed and watch football.
    negativity never works.
    america’s ‘wars’ never work.
    war on poverty: failed.
    war on drugs: failed.
    war on illiteracy: failed.
    war on war: failed.
    gooddoktorbad and I can come up with 100 answers in five minutes and our leaders can’t come up with crap for decades: failed.

  • Malk

    whatever you resist persists
    you want to stop drug trade? promote clean life.
    is putting down drug use promoting clean life? no that’s called negativity.
    negativity never works.
    give kids stuff to do in school rather than tests and tests and tests proven to encourage failing.
    give people programs to help them have enough money to do things other than smoke weed and watch football.
    negativity never works.
    america’s ‘wars’ never work.
    war on poverty: failed.
    war on drugs: failed.
    war on illiteracy: failed.
    war on war: failed.
    gooddoktorbad and I can come up with 100 answers in five minutes and our leaders can’t come up with crap for decades: failed.

    • E.B. Wolf

      You’re assuming “our leaders” don’t want a poor, illiterate, and drugged population.

      • MoralDrift

        Zing!

  • http://defendrightsnow.blogspot.com/ Psychmstr

    I wouldn’t be appalled, since a politician has to find an socially acceptable way of opposing the absurd drug war without actually making any statement about the virtue of that war.  If she were to oppose the war on moral grounds, Republicans would try to paint her as pro-pot-smoking, or as advocating heroin for kids.  

    This is a good and welcome sign that public opinion is very gradually changing.  While the public still believes that smoking pot is bad, and that the drug war is probably pointless, the easiest line of attack is that it is expensive.  The people who oppose pot smoking, and favor drug criminalization might be open to the idea that it costs too damn much.

  • Anonymous

    All those who would use them legal or not, are already doing so, just the same as alcohol which during its prohibition actually caused more people to drink than it stopped, we will always want what we can’t have.  Our real problem right now is partially the illegal drugs, but moreso it is the legal ones that are killing more of our children, and yet no one says a word.  Oxy is a monster that must be hindered soon or we will pay.

  • Investinourftre

    All those who would use them legal or not, are already doing so, just the same as alcohol which during its prohibition actually caused more people to drink than it stopped, we will always want what we can’t have.  Our real problem right now is partially the illegal drugs, but moreso it is the legal ones that are killing more of our children, and yet no one says a word.  Oxy is a monster that must be hindered soon or we will pay.

    • MoralDrift

      The silent epidemic of opiates sweeping the nation is damn near unforgivable

  • E.B. Wolf

    You’re assuming “our leaders” don’t want a poor, illiterate, and drugged population.

  • Anonymous

    I understand what your saying, she must pander to idiots by appearing equally idiotic while secretly being a good person hiding behind bad apologies for good ideas. That’s working well I’m sure…

    Jumping through so many hoops is so tiring, the fight is over before it begins. 

  • Anonymous

    And nothing was done.

  • JoiquimCouteau

    And nothing was done.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    It is appalling…and crass…but ‘appalling and crass’ are the languages that the other side speak and think in…to create consensus, an appeal has to be made to their warped sensibilities. Its a shame…much like with basic womens health issues which have to be marketed to GOP/neo-cons as a financially rewarding investment in reducing later health expenses. To sane and rational humans who possess compassion and a basic sense of decency…such effort isn’t required…we see what is right and good and agree that it should be. However…when dealing with douchebags (short of popping caps in their skulls and saving ourselves a lot headaches) its important to speak their lingo and make our pitch in a way that will register. If they see that we all win in different ways by changing things…change can finally happen.

  • http://defendrightsnow.blogspot.com/ Psychmstr

    I can’t say that is it working, exactly.  Only time will tell.  But there has to be a monetary limit at some point.  I can’t see that the politicians will want to put most of the population in prison for ingesting illegal drugs, so there is no hope that the expense of enforcing these laws will go down.  Either they get repealed, or we stop enforcing them.  But not enforcing them is probably not an option at this point, because of the violence on the southern border.  That will continue to increase as well, along with increased illegal immigration.  We are headed for a perfect storm here.  I can’t say when it will happen, but the current situation cannot stay the same forever.  It’s difficult to ignore the fact that the increasing violence is caused by illegal drug importation, and since you can’t stop importation, perhaps it makes sense to legalize the drugs and allow competition to reduce the prices, thus reducing the incentive to import contraband. 

  • Anonymous

    it always was about the money

  • Anonymous

    Zing!

  • Anonymous

    The silent epidemic of opiates sweeping the nation is damn near unforgivable

  • Hadrian999

    it is only a waste if winning the war was the actual goal, if the goal were only to spread influence and military access throughout central and south America and funding paramilitary organizations inside the police it worked quite well

  • Hadrian999

    it is only a waste if winning the war was the actual goal, if the goal were only to spread influence and military access throughout central and south America and funding paramilitary organizations inside the police it worked quite well