torsdag 13 december 2007

The sacrifice of a colombian soldier... for what?

I recently came across a picture of a young Columbian soldier who had his legs blown off in the "war on drugs". I don't pretend to be knowledgeable about the situation in Colombia. But there are obvious parallels with that and events in Afghanistan and some general points to be made.

Because of the desire for drugs in Europe and the US, coca and heroin are very valuable commodities and restricting supply only makes them more so. Hence the determination of criminal suppliers to protect their business and of rival gangs to get a share of the action at any price.

Because of the high cost of buying drugs, many users in the US and Europe descend into a chaotic lifestyle in which their life is dominated by their need to obtain the money for the drug. Hence the amount of property crime by these people. If the government really wanted to reduce the crime figures it would legalise drugs - which is not the same as abandoning control.

The tobacco manufacturers may be nasty outfits. But it is infinitely preferable for powerful commodities like drugs to be in the hands of properly regulated companies than in the hands of violent men acting outside the law.

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