ROQUE PLANAS, reporter for Huffington Post writes that Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos used the occasion of his Nobel Peace Prize “to urge a rethinking of thear on drugs, calling it ‘more dangerous’ than all world armed conflicts combined.”
Yes and no.
True, a drug war such as Santos waged looks somewhat like a civil war which is the worst of wars. U.S. military intervention in Colombia made it an international conflict.
But it was no Syria.
On the other hand, the U.S. contribution to the Philippine war on drugs has been verbal. Whereas a Chinese billionaire’s donation of sprawling rehabilitation centers in the North is costing him billions of pesos. And he is not inflating the figures like foreign aid nor does most of the money go to foreign consultants.
So, in that neglectful sense, U.S. aid has not been lethal. Indeed, it is nothing to speak of at all. But the Colombian president is wrong to generalize. Outside of Colombia and Mexico, there has been no real war on drugs except in the metaphorical sense.
Like the so-called “wars on poverty,” it doesn’t even work as hyperbole. The war metaphor is the constant resort of lousy speechwriters, cheapening the word “war” so much it has lost the ability to arouse any reaction at all when the real thing breaks out.
Our so-called war on drugs is just a police operation—in a double sense. On the one hand, good cops going after drug lords. And so successfully that Muntinlupa is filled with them. On the other hand, bad cops acting as drug liaisons on the outside for the drug lords inside, are liquidating drug addicted pushers in their employ from fear of being exposed by them.
And in both cases it is murder even if most people like it. It is murder and nothing else.
“Santos’s comments,” said the Post “went further” (the right word is farther) “than that of (other) sitting Latin American heads of state particularly for a U.S. ally.”
Santos speaks from experience; as a former defense minister aggressively fighting a rebellion fueled—but only in small part with drug money and in far greater part by the rank injustice of Colombian society.
Duterte never fought a drug war like Santos did as an American puppet; spending billions in U.S. military aid. Duterte was just a mayor. But now that he is president he has still had to threaten the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement in retaliation for a U.S. threat to cut off its piddling assistance in non-lethal mostly verbal aid.
He has conducted a comparatively small though quite lethal anti-drug campaign—precisely to avoid a real drug war. A war like that of Colombia in part and Mexico in totality, where cops in the pay of cartels kill 70 students and bury them badly, while the Mexican state itself is under siege.
As usual, we get nothing from abroad; not even lessons in how to fight drugs with finality. Poor Philippines.
And yet we are better off in so many respects than countries which have allowed foreigners to get in the way of drastic solutions to nation threatening problems.
Remember the last time? The U.S. urged us to accept its solution to Islamic terrorism by giving away a third of Mindanao as a homeland of their own for the terrorists. What an idea. Some say it was for a share of the money that Najib stole. But Bongbong shot it down in the Senate. So he saved a third of Mindanao for us.
Hate to hear that? Live with it. It is true.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.