Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Colombia Adjusts to Coca Crop Eradication
You know that things are not going well for your administration when you start pointing to the war on drugs as one of your success stories -- but that is what the Bush administration is doing, according to this article in today's New York Times. The "good news" is that the attempted eradication of coca production in Colombia is being claimed to be "working," sort of: "In March, after a string of setbacks that saw Colombia's coca crop expand threefold to more than 400,000 acres from 1995 to 2001, authorities said new estimates showed a startling 21 percent decrease in the cultivation of coca in 2003. Coming on top of a more modest decline in 2002, the development validated for American authorities the $3.2 billion spent here since 2000, mostly for crop eradication." I always enjoy the precision in such estimates: 21 percent, not 20 or 22 percent! "All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot."
As for eradication, well, even after the recent proclaimed success...
The amount of cocaine produced here is, in fact, more than enough to satisfy demand in the United States, estimated at 250 to 300 metric tons annually, and in the rest of the world, for that matter. One result is that on American streets, the price of cocaine remains low - just $20,000 in New York for a kilogram, 2.2 pounds - and the purity level remains high, what drug experts say are indicators of a perfectly healthy business.The Times goes on to talk about how the eradication program has led to smaller, more isolated coca plots (even of the eco-friendly shade-grown variety!) and the development of coca plant varieties with higher concentrations of cocaine.
Have qualms about the morality of dumping tons of poison on the crops of poor peasants? Obviously you don't understand that this is an evil plant, and any and all measures that can eradicate it are not only acceptable but desirable. So you shouldn't worry about the impending death by firing squad of this cocaine smuggler, either. His death surely will make society better off -- at least if society can survive being mired, defiled, in such filth, such an abuse of "justice."