Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Drug War as Metaphor for Terror War

Today's capture of Javier Arellano-Felix, the head of a particularly vicious Tijuana marijuana and cocain cartel is a significant accomplishment for the DEA and Coast Guard.

It's also a good reason why the War on Drugs is a good metaphor for the War on Terror. Since the Tijuana Cartel is particularly aggressive and vicious, capturing Arellano-Felix is a signal accomplishment. However, it probably took months or years of patient work to pinpoint Arellano-Felix on a luxury fishing boat off of Baja and all that effort is still not going to reduce drug use in the U. S. because of the enormous, almost limitless appetite for pot and cocaine in this country.

The same thing is true of the War on Terror. The U. S. military and intelligence apparatus can work for months on killing a terrorist leader like Zarqawi like they did last June only to see the overall situation in Iraq continue to deteriorate. The permutations of setbacks like the Samarra bombing seem to mushroom through time, while our accomplishments seem to have little overall effect. It's like the Iraq occupation has become the Middle Eastern version of the drug war.

The key here is that the Saddam leftovers, global terrorists, Sunni insurgents, and Shiite militias are stronger forces than either the elected government or the large part of the civilian population that is sympathetic to the government. Unless, the U. S. can change the balance of power, our accomplishments will never have an effect.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration remains clueless.

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