Although this is certainly a case of Ms. Clinton getting on the bandwagon of gun smuggling across the border, there is an important distinction. Her main focus is not the guns but rather the failed war on drugs. I find this extremely encouraging. In her comments to the Mexican government, she pulled no punches on the gun issue, actually promising about the expired assault weapons ban, "[w]e're exploring approaches that might work." But she consistently made it clear that the first main problem is the "insatiable demand for drugs" in the U.S.
Clinton offered the bluntest comments to date by any senior U.S. official that Americans' habits and government policies have stoked the drug trade and the accompanying violence.
"How could anybody conclude any differently?" she said. "Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians."
U.S. domestic drug-control strategies during the past three decades have largely failed, she said, suggesting that the Obama administration will try to reduce demand and emphasize treatment more than its predecessors.
"We have certainly been pursuing these strategies for ... a long time. I remember Mrs. Reagan's 'just say no,' " Clinton said, referring to former first lady Nancy Reagan's exhortation to young people to refuse drugs. "It's been very difficult."
The immediate response has already been implemented with a much increased military presence on the border. Plus, she announced that Obama would seek $80 million, most of it in an upcoming supplemental budget request, to provide Mexico with three Blackhawk helicopters. My belief is that these efforts are largely lost in the maelstrom of violence of which there is no end in sight. The hope I take from these announcements is that by admitting the main problem is the demand for drugs in the U.S., and that the Reagan-era war on drugs has failed, policy changes will continue that will bring about a true improvement. It will take time, but I think we're heading in the right direction with the recent changes we've made.
Plus, about the gun smuggling, I for one can't wait to see what the Secretary has in mind by saying they are "exploring approaches that might work." What about you?
Do you think it's important that Clinton names the priorities, first the war on drugs then gun smuggling? Do you think it's possible to do something about the hunger for drugs in our country?
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