WALL STREET JOURNAL: “The global war on drugs has failed,” said a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy due to be released Thursday. The report calls for a frank dialogue on the issue and encourages governments to experiment with the regulation of drugs, especially marijuana. The 19-member commission includes a broad spectrum: former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, and former presidents Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil and Cesar Gaviria of Colombia—all countries that have faced brutal drug violence. Former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker are on the commission, as are writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa. […] Guatemala last month declared martial law in the jungle province of Peten after gunmen believed to be members of Mexico’s brutal Zetas cartel, which has spread throughout Latin America, beheaded 27 people. Last year, Brazil, which is getting ready to host the Olympics and the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, sent nearly 20,000 soldiers and police to take the city’s teeming slums back from drug gangs. But nowhere is the violence worse than in Mexico, where more than 40,000 people have died in drug-related violence since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon sent out thousands of soldiers and federal police to try to recover large areas of the country under the virtual control of powerful drug cartels. The drug war has been an expensive failure both abroad and at home, said Bruce Bagley, an expert on drug trafficking and Latin America at the University of Miami. Abroad, Mr. Bagley compared U.S. efforts to a massive game of whack-a-mole in which drug supplies, drug violence and crime are “shuffled from one country to the other.” He said that in the U.S. there is little or nothing to show for it “except for the warehousing of some 600,000 people a year on drug-related offenses in prison at huge cost.” MORE
PHAWKER: Pretty sure nobody ever shot, stabbed or beheaded someone over aspirin.
RELATED: “The United States should look at the extraordinary costs that its policies have brought about,” said Sir Keith Morris, who is on the advisory board of the International Council on Security and Development, a think tank that supports drug policy reform. Morris, who was Britain’s ambassador to Colombia from 1990 to 1994 during the height of the drug-related fighting there, pointed to the extreme violence and dislocation that the trade causes around the world. And he called it “extraordinary” that British and American troops in Afghanistan were dying at the hands of militant groups financed in part by illegal drug consumption in the United States and Great Britain. MORE