Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Want to lose a drug war? Give us a call

Last month, Adam Isacson at Plan Colombia and Beyond wrote that General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, claimed that the U.S. counter-insurgency and anti-drug campaign in Colombia was a good model for Afghanistan.

Why would any serious person - much less the top-ranking military officer in the United States - view Colombia's experience as a model to be repeated anywhere else, much less a country - like Afghanistan - that is several degrees poorer and less governed than Colombia?

Very good question, as the “war on drugs” in Colombia is clearly being lost. Coca cultivation is stable (or even increasing) while the use of herbicides is being decried, violence is widespread, and distrust of the government in rural areas is rife. All the while, the guerrillas are as strong as ever.

Fast forward to this month, as the first group of Afghan police have arrived in Colombia to learn the best ways to lose a drug war while also alienating the local population.


Steven Taylor 9:47 PM  

Sadly, this is exactly what I expected to happen.


Greg Weeks 7:52 AM  

The meshing of U.S. policy toward Latin America and policy toward the Middle East is just plain scary.

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