Mexico is “looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago,” according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Oh good, I thought, we’re finally learning from our mistakes.
At this time last year, I was reporting the results of our War on Drugs in Colombia, where we targeted the rebel forces known as “FARC”:
What most Americans do not know is that our tax dollars are largely responsible for the rise of the FARC in the first place.
Until the 1990s, the FARC was a small, ineffective group hiding in the jungle. When President Clinton abandoned his predecessors’ strategy of targeting traffickers in the Caribbean and focused on the source, coca farmers turned to the FARC for protection. With drug money in their pockets, the FARC became the brutal insurgency that plagues Uribe’s government today.
Meanwhile, successive federal budgets devoted less money to drug prevention and treatment, which saves taxpayers seven dollars for every dollar invested, according to recent research. This, economists call “demand-side” policies. Supply-side interventions, on the other hand, have received billions upon billions, and how is that working out.
Since Plan Colombia began, we have not succeeded in limiting production, only pushing it from region to region… And the money we gave to Colombia was used more against political enemies in the FARC than drug traffickers…
Plan Colombia was controversial…, but it worked.
Uh. Well. Er. I must have misread that:
But it’s going to take…military support…to prevent this from spreading and to try to beat it back.
Since her speech, we’ve upped that support by $149 million. So much for “learning from our mistakes.”
In other news, House Minority Leader John Boehner proposed cutting non-security discretionary programs — such as drug prevention and treatment — by 22%.