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History Repeats Itself in Honduran Drug-War Killings

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honduras-prison1by Jacob G. Hornberger

With Hondurans angrily demanding that the U.S. government withdraw its drug-war personnel from the country, we shouldn’t forget that this isn’t the first time that U.S. drug officials have participated in the drug-war killing of innocent people. Almost 11 years ago, the CIA helped Peruvian drug-war personnel kill a 35-year-old missionary named Veronica Bowers and her 7-month-old baby Charity as they were flying in a small Cessna from Brazil to Peru with their husband and father.

I wrote about those drug-war killings in an article entitled “Drug-War Killings in Peru” and asked:

How long are the American people going to put up with this deadly nonsense? When is enough enough? Isn’t 30 years of failure and destruction sufficient to convince people that it’s time to give up — to end, not reform or “win” — the war on drugs? How many more innocent people must die?”

I wrote that in June 2001. Unfortunately, the CIA’s drug-war killings of Veronica Bowers and her baby were obviously not enough to bring an end to this miserable, deadly, and destructive government program.

Eleven years later, we now have more drug-war victims, this time in Honduras, where innocent people riding in boat, including two pregnant women and a 14-year-old boy, were shot and killed by drug-war personnel. While U.S. drug-war agents denied doing any of the shooting, there’s no denying that they were participating in the nighttime raid that rained bullets into the victims.

This is inanity — deadly and destructive inanity.

After all, what good did it do to wage the drug war in Peru eleven years ago, which took the lives of Veronica Bowers and her baby? Even if the plane that the CIA and Peruvian drug-war officials had shot down in Peru really did have drug smugglers in it, what difference would it have made? Would it have even made a minor dent in the supply of drugs into the United States?

For that matter, what difference would it have made if Honduran drug agents had killed drug smugglers instead of those innocent people? Would it have made even a minor dent in the supply of drugs into the United States?

Of course not. Nothing changes when it comes to the drug war. Just more death and destruction — and corruption, robberies, muggings, overcrowded prisons, gang wars, and violence, all with no impact on the supply of drugs. They kill one smuggler or they bust one drug cartel, and ten more pop up. Decade after decade after decade doing the same thing and hoping for a different result. Like the Energizer Bunny, the drug war just keep going and going and going.

The Peruvian drug killings took place prior to the 9/11 attacks, when the U.S. government did not yet have its “war on terrorism” to justify its ever-increasing budget for the military and the CIA. That was the period of time — post-Cold War and pre-9/11 — when the CIA and the U.S. military were desperately looking for ways to justify their continued post-Cold War existence. They were pointing to the drug war as one of the justifications for keeping them around and increasing their budgets in the post-Cold War era.

Now, history is repeating itself. With the end of the occupation of Iraq and with Americans now demanding an end to the Afghan occupation, the military and the CIA are now back in Latin America waging the drug war (and killing innocent people). No doubt the U.S. national security state is starting to sense that the war on terrorism could start petering out, especially if Americans demand an end to interventionism in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere, thereby bringing an end to the deep anti-American rage that such interventionism produces. Unfortunately, as Hondurans are now discovering, innocent people pay the price when the U.S. national-security state starts looking for new missions to justify its existence.

The second-best thing that Hondurans and other Latin American countries could do is throw the U.S. military and the CIA out of their countries. After all, if Americans won’t let the military and the CIA wage the drug war here in the United States, why should Latin Americans permit them to wage the drug war in their countries?

The best thing that Hondurans and other Latin Americans could do is simply end the drug war by legalizing drugs, even if the U.S. government continues to wage it here in the United States. Sure, the U.S. government will threaten to terminate foreign aid to such countries but that would be a positive thing too.

It’s time to bring an end to the age of statism under which we have all been born and raised. It has caused nothing but misery, death, and destruction. A great place to start would be by legalizing drugs. Obviously, ending the drug war wouldn’t bring the innocent people killed by drug-war personnel back to life, but it would save the lives of so many innocent people who will yet be killed if the drug war is continued. Latin Americans should lead the world out of the drug-war morass by ending the war on drugs.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.


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