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January 11, 2009 -- El Paso Times (TX)

Column: U.S.-Mexico Drug War: We're Clucking Like Chickens

By Joe Muench

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

By showing true mettle and grit -- by standing with staid backbones -- Beto O'Rourke and the seven other city representatives sent others running for the proverbial hills, like chickens, Tuesday.

Mayor John Cook and U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes couldn't run fast enough, bwaak, bwaak.

It boiled down to simply asking Congress to at least discuss the feasibility of making drug use legal as a way of breaking the backs of drug cartels.

At issue is the war zone that is Juarez, and figuring out how to stop the mobster drug lords and their armies, who rule that city of 1.5 million. They've already killed nearly 1,700 people in the last year and two weeks.

An intelligence report says they plan on killing high-level politicians this year, and that may include U.S. politicians.

O'Rourke proposed that the federal government discuss lifting the prohibition on narcotics in this country, as was done with the lifting of prohibition of alcohol more than 70 years ago. Just discuss it, that's all.

Could it work?

No, it won't!

OK, then, let's not do it.

That all that was proposed and placed on a City Council resolution that mostly dealt with the city's intent to help Juarez as much as possible.

Cook vetoed that almost immediately.

He sounded good by stating: "It's not realistic to believe that the U.S. Congress will seriously consider ..."

What he really said was: Holy smoke! I don't want to get near that political hot potato.

Reyes said, "Legalizing the types of drugs that are being smuggled across the border is not an effective way to combat the violence in Mexico."

What Reyes really said was: Jeezo-beezo, get that away from me.

So what do we do? Any suggestions? Should we tell the murderers to be nice? Maybe they'll listen to reason? Maybe we can send Dr. Phil over there?

Or, does somebody want to say that "education is the answer."

City Council simply asks for a discussion in Congress.

For instance:

Did all of America turn into drunks back when the prohibition against liquor was lifted?

Will we all become addicted to marijuana and other narcotics if drugs are made legal?

Hey, let's shoot crap into our veins, Bubba. It's legal now.

Will we actually do that?

What's disheartening about this "run for the hills" attitude of some is the resolution didn't say, "let's legalize drugs!" It was simply: Let's have the feds talk about it, see if it's feasible -- get the smartest minds involved in the discussion.

After all, nobody seems to have a better idea. Mexico's federal, state and local law enforcement are Barney Fife when it comes to dealing with the cartels.

The citizens in Mexico are too afraid to rebel against the free-for-all kidnappers, extortionists and armed robbers who seem to get away every time.

Our federal government is a "Cook & Reyes" on this because, just as O'Rourke told the El Paso Times on Tuesday, any politician pushing this idea needs a whole lot of courage and will certainly have to worry about ever getting elected again.

Facts are: We're not stopping our citizens from selling automatic weapons to the cartels. We're not stopping billions of dollars worth of illegal drugs from coming into the U.S. We're not stopping our buying and using the drugs. We're not stopping the billions of dollars of cash going back to the cartels.

And now we can't even talk about a new way to stop all that, just because it's controversial?

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