Pubdate: Sat, 28 Mar 2009
Source: Bennington Banner (VT)
Copyright: 2009 by MediaNews Group, Inc.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is right to point out the role of 
Americans and United States government policy in the creation of 
powerful and viscous Mexico drug cartels and the violence they have 
spawned in that country and ours.

The secretary, during a visit to Mexico, said Americans have provided 
a huge market for the drugs supplied by the gangs and, thereby 
providing huge sums of money to bribe Mexican officials and guns to 
kill police officers and army personnel.

More than 6,000 people have died over the past year as the Mexican 
government attempts to eliminate the cartels and their ruthless trade.

Secretary Clinton also called for more effective approaches by the 
U.S. government to combat the flow of drugs and the gangs it 
engenders. U.S. policies, focusing on "a war on drugs" for the past 
30 years, have failed, she said, and must change.

Among the changes should be less emphasis on arresting drug users in 
the United States -- the move to repeal New York's harsh Rockefeller 
drug laws with mandatory jail terms -- would be a step in the right 
directions. Other states might consider more drug treatment over 
imprisonment for the vast majority of those involved with the sale of 
illegal drugs.

Consideration of legalizing marijuana, or, as in the case of Vermont 
and Massachusetts in the past year, eliminating or reducing penalties 
for possession of small amounts is another option long overdue for a 
trial in the U.S.

And restrictions in the U.S. on assault weapons favored by Mexican 
drug cartel members -- especially in the border states -- would seem 
a no-brainer.

It is estimated that 90 percent of the weapons used to kill Mexican 
police and army personnel were purchased in the United States.

Beyond a moral obligation to assist the Mexicans in the battle, the 
U.S. might want to keep these homicidal organizations away by 
stopping them where they are now.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart