The War on Drugs: Doubling Down on a Bad Bet

According to The New York Times, America’s war on drugs has entered a new phase: It’s so successful that the CIA is planning to send retired military personnel and private contractors to Mexico to bring the battle to the doorstep of the organized crime cartels. Well, that’s not quite the story. The decision to deploy mercenaries in Mexico is definitely from the Times, but the part about the success of the drug war is pure Washington spin.

Indeed, the idea that the federal government is prepared to commit more money and more lives – and that Mexican officials are prepared to let Yanquis join the fight – is testament to desperation on both sides of the border. The war on drugs, now in its fifth decade, was never winnable. All that’s keeping it going is bureaucratic inertia, and a lot of politicians who would rather destroy civil government in Mexico than admit that it takes more than true grit to prevail.