In a piece that appeared in @inquirer.net, a site I repeatedly visit, I am reminded of a Wall Street Journal writer—himself a victim of Silang, Cavite police criminality—who told me: that in Thaksin’s war on drugs 2,800 people were killed in 3 months. But half of them had not taken even syrup to fight a cough.
A committee created by the junta that toppled Thaksin—so you can imagine the bias—said that, “over half of those killed had no links to the drug trade.” The junta blamed the violence “on a government shoot-to-kill policy based on flawed blacklists.”
And yet statistics showed that street-level drug dealing and use dropped significantly, especially after Thaksin extended the killing by 8-months. By end 2003, the US State Department’s International Narcotics Controls Strategy Report concluded that 73,231 Thais were arrested, 23 million drug pills were seized, and 320,000 drug users surrendered. The price of yaa baa—the Thai drug of choice—doubled; availability and consumption took a dive.”
On those criteria Duterte’s 2-month campaign is a roaring success, with 700,000 deadbeats begging for rehab—which is to say free board & lodging—and 3,000 dead; though only 1,700 by cops and the rest by drug lords and dirty cops tying loose ends.
Globalsecurity. org judged Thaksin’s drug war to be a “relatively successful campaign in a long war but not a victorious end to the war itself.”
Like here, “many local street-level drug dealers were killed, but major Thai drug lords were spared. The campaign did not reduce cross-border trafficking.”
But unlike here, we share no common land borders so there is no cross-border trafficking except by sea along the coast of Pangasinan.
But like here, drug lords remain at large.
But unlike there, imprisoned drug lords are invited to speak, possibly for a pardon.
However, by March, despite 74% of Thais supporting the drug war, the King poured cold water on Thaksin’s claim of outright victory.
The King said that the fight was far from over. The king told the prime minister to investigate drug-related deaths for human rights violations.
Over here, Duterte modestly admits that despite a far more successful campaign, the problem may outlive him. He leaves it to the Army to complete the mission if he fails to put the drug trade on the road to certain extinction before he goes. That’s right, not the next President but the Army—“the protector of the people and the state,” says the Constitution—will finish the job.
These words remind us of the American Founding Fathers’ limited hope of putting slavery on the path of extinction, because as slave owners they could not abolish it. Lincoln completed the journey by an all-out war that continues to this day in the hearts of white people.
We are engaged in a far harder struggle.
In last week’s UN General Assembly, at the Special Session on Drugs, senior junta member, Gen. Paiboon Khumchaya admitted that, despite the success of Thaksin’s campaign—which cut opium production by 90%—drug use especially shabu has gone up again. Not media or government knew about this UN Special Session on drugs. Only ex-MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino had the kindness to tell me about it.
Said the Thai general in despair, “the world has now surrendered to drugs. The world thinks only of how to live with the drug problem instead of destroying it.”
As we are determined to do.
Now tell me, who is right?
Thaksin, for stopping short of total victory?
Or Duterte for going the distance required, taking out as many as needed?
What country do you want to live in?
A country of the walking dead?
Or of living rational beings, able to make drug-free political choices such as: democracy or a narco-state?
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.