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Are illegal drug sales a matter of national security?

Question by Don V: Are illegal drug sales a matter of national security?
I’m curious if drug sales can be determined a matter of national security. If so, why aren’t we focusing some of those invasive efforts to stop the drug dealers?

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One comment on “Are illegal drug sales a matter of national security?

  • Tweeter & the MonkeyMan

    May 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    This is a huge question.. you can spend hours or weeks debating this in forums like US Senate (or your similar house of representation) or writing books, news op-ed pieces, or scholarly reports.

    From the info I have, some part is yes — others not so much.
    If my neighbor is growing MJ in his back yard, then sells some to his brother down the road- it may be illegal, but I don’t think the effect will get much attention outside our neighborhood.

    At the other extreme, if NATO soldiers are being killed by warlords in Columbian coca production regions or Afghan poppy regions – then that endangers a lot of lives and impacts our entire international relations position.
    If customs / border crossing authorities are being paid huge bribes / or being extorted and having family members kidnapped or killed – just to let some drugs through; that makes our borders less secure.

    Of course there are a couple of hundred possibilities in the middle of those black-and-white examples.

    Why aren’t we focusing more power on this?
    Well, a lot of reasons. First – there is already a significant amount being spent to protect our borders in obvious ways. There is also some not-so-obvious work being done.
    Our Coast Guard, FBI, and law enforcement entities have been spending more and more on interdiction, prevention, education and prosecution.

    Our military is not permitted to attack anyone without approval.
    We can’t use the militia on home soil ( posse commitatus).
    The military we have deployed can barely carry out the primary mission – between limited manpower, limited equipment budgets, and restrictive rules of engagement.. we’ll be lucky to keep 95% of our soldiers alive.
    Unfortunately, if we want more soldiers – or more money.. that all comes back to raising taxes to pay for it, and dealing with voters who neither want war or any new taxes.
    If we give the local police or the Coast Guard more money or more broad authority.. that means more taxes still, and less privacy and civil rights. Most of us are law-abiding citizens who wouldn’t mind, but the fear is “how much is too much”?… and when we get to “too much” will we be able to turn things around before we become a police state or dictatorship.

    Like South Park’s Mr. Mackey says, “Drugs are bad”. More correctly, illegal drugs are bad. They encourage crime, create addicts and help spread disease, and lower the earning power of our people. On bigger scales, they can erode our National Security, too. In the greater scheme of things, making sure that North Korea doesn’t launch a nuclear attack on any of our allies is probably a greater source of “National Security” than preventing someone smuggling in a kilo of coke. But nothing in reality is just that simple. We need to balance the perceptions or our own people and that of our allies – and our enemies.. against what our actions will cost,, both in gold or dollars and in good will or votes.

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