There is a major debate about the loss of Afghanistan, but for the most part, it has followed the Prime Directive: “Don’t Mention the Drug War!”
Nonetheless, it seems relevant that Afghanistan is still the world’s largest opium poppy producer.
According to Reuters, “Despite the threats posed by Afghanistan’s illicit drug business, experts noted, the United States and other nations rarely mention in public the need to address the trade — estimated by the UNODC at more than 80% of global opium and heroin supplies.”
So, we controlled the country? And our Drug War was subsidizing the Taliban?
And now we are rightly agonizing about leaving the very roughly 31 million Afghans at the mercy of ruthless thugs, who are literally halfway around the world.
Meanwhile, last year The Washington Post reported “Violent Criminal Groups Are Eroding Mexico’s Authority And Claiming More Territory.”
So, Mexico, with a population of approximately 126,014,024, more and more of the people are living under the effective control of murderous gangs on our border!
Americans are rightly anxious about the safety and freedom of the Afghan people we are leaving behind, but what about the freedom and safety of the people of Mexico, and Central America, and Colombia and Venezuela, etc.
While our southern border is the visible flashpoint for American politicians, it is just the equivalent of the Kabul airport. An increasing number of people from around the world are trying to get to the United States via Mexico, which cannot even protect its own people.
While Mexico and most of Latin America have long had problems with corruption and general lawlessness, the Drug War has become an existential threat to their governments’ control over their own territories. In fairness to them, the United States has seemingly lost control of some parts of major cities to Drug War violence.
If Mexico continues to lose control over its territory, and the international wave of refugees continues to be treated as a Mexican problem, it will have a major impact on both the American and Mexican economies. And, by the way, these people are human beings, and sometimes, quite literally, our brothers and sisters.
Yes, we should do all we can to help the Afghan people, especially those who worked with us, but we have an even greater obligation to our neighbors and our own people to at least mention the Drug War. But I really don’t think we can.
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and author of CBD Wax and Its Benefits.