In the wake of Americans being killed while, advisedly or not, traveling in Mexico, there are calls to classify the cartels as terrorist organizations. Maybe they are but that’s probably missing the broader point.
The cartels exist for one reason only – the immense, unquenched demand in the United Sates for their product. That’s it. Full stop.
With a fortune to be made in supplying that demand, going after the cartels is, in my estimation, one big, international game of whack-a-mole. Until we find the silver bullet to crush the demand curve, someone will fill the supply side of the equation. I mean drugs didn’t suddenly stop being a problem when Pablo Escobar was arrested and eventually killed.
We’ve been funding both sides of the War on Drugs since the day the phrase was coined back in the Nixon Administration. Fifty years later, you really have to wonder if decades of government policy have made any substantive difference.
I hesitate to say we should just stop prosecuting this war. You won’t hear me calling to legalize heroin or meth, but it feels like we should at least admit that continual escalation of the war can be reasonably expected to deliver mixed results at best.
At my most honest, I’ll tell you that I don’t really give a damn what a grown adult decides to put in their body. Personally, I like caffeine and nicotine. My only real objection to “drugs” as a policy consideration is when those who choose to use them start doing crime to feed the habit or when it leads to people blocking up the sidewalks and using the streets and parks as open-air bathrooms. It’s the same logic by which I don’t especially care how drunk anyone decides to get as long as they don’t get behind the wheel of a car or otherwise endanger others with their choices.
So, sooner or later I’m sure we’ll end up labeling the Mexican cartels “terrorists.” They probably are by any reasonable definition… but I don’t expect the words we use to make any appreciable difference in what’s flowing across the border and into every city, town, and village in America.