May 04, 2012

They said they were sorry

Scott Horton on the Drug Enforcement Agency's finest hour:

The agency and its strategies, which together comprise America’s second effort at prohibition, may be the most completely failed ideas that the Seventies brought to America. Yet the American political sector seems incapable of accepting the now-plentiful evidence of their failure. The DEA has about 11,000 employees and a budget of about $2.5 billion dollars. Members of Congress looking for fat to trim from federal expenditures ought to be taking a close look at the agency. Its value-to-damage ratio is likely the worst in our entire government.
The country and the world would certainly be a much better place if the DEA were defunded and defanged, but it's not as if it is a sovereign entity unto itself: the ultimate responsibility for this and other such atrocities surely rests in those whose policies it enforces. I can't see how anybody who considers himself a "liberal" could in good conscience support an administration that pursues paramilitary sweeps of university "4/20 parties" as a wise and decent use of executive power. I can only put it down to willful blindness and the proverbial dread of being left out of their reference group. The senseless escalation of the drug war and systematic attacks on civil liberties cost this president any further votes from me long ago, but if they hadn't, this could certainly have been something like the last straw. Not that I think it (the vote) matters, of course. But people shouldn't kid themselves: responsibility for this oops-we-did-it-again tragedy goes all the way to the top.

This kid deserves every penny of the $20 million his suit seeks, taxpayer-funded though it will be, but it won't approach actual justice unless the agents responsible face attempted murder charges, and the entire chain of command acknowledges responsibility. Heads should roll. They won't. Heck of a job, guys.

Posted by Dr. Frank at May 4, 2012 07:37 PM

I agree that this is a horrible waste of money, but we don't get to vote on issues, just on candidates. Petitions are a possibility, although a quick search on change dot org yields only a handful of relevant petitions with few supporters. Those who want to lead the charge against this (I don't) should take note of this lack.

Posted by: Bill at May 5, 2012 01:53 AM

Sure, that's true. The Democratic Party won't be losing any sleep over any of us weirdoes who've jumped ship over stuff like this. (And I was on the ship last time.) Our politics is almost purely a matter of aesthetics, and Obama looks the part, so he wins Team Blue without regard to anything he does or fails to do. (In California, anyway.) My point is only that it is pretty warped to blame the DEA as though it is an independent entity whose conduct has no relation to the policies of the executive. It's an arm of the executive. Under a better president, its conduct could (and should) be quite different. (And no, obviously, I don't think Romney would be any better, but, on this stuff, it's hard to see how he could possibly be worse.)

Posted by: Dr. Frank at May 5, 2012 03:19 AM

I see. Well, of course, the DEA isn't independent, and they're not operating in media darkness either, so they can be stopped if there's will to do so.

There's one guy running for president who is certain to (at least try to) stop the DEA, along with most of the rest of government activity . . .

Posted by: Bill at May 5, 2012 04:04 AM

Gary Johnson has the right idea, and that's probably who I'll throw my vote away on this time around.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at May 5, 2012 04:28 AM
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