I thought this suggestion by Donald Rumsfeld might signal an embrace of reason:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wants to end Army helicopter support for a joint U.S.-Bahamas drug-interdiction program that over the past two decades has resulted in hundreds of arrests and the seizure of tons of cocaine and marijuana.
The Army’s seven Blackhawk helicopters and their crews form the backbone of Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration credits with helping drive cocaine and marijuana smugglers away from the Bahamas and its easy access to Florida.
The Bahamas anti-drug program, Rumsfeld wrote, “now competes with resources necessary for the war on terrorism and other activities in support of our nation’s defense, with potential adverse effects on the military preparedness of the United States.”
Alas, it’s not meant to be. Ending army effort does not mean ending our irrational, never-ending war on drugs.
The letter asks [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales to help identify “a more appropriate agency” to provide the air support.
Of course. Rather than address the more fundamental question of whether or not we should be doing this, Sec. Rumsfeld wants another agency to do it. Looking at the results of the effort, though, he’s right; we should continue accruing successes.
When the program began in 1982, up to 90 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the U.S. from Latin America came into Florida through the Bahamas and Caribbean. Now, most of the cocaine moves across the U.S. southwestern border, in part because of the pressure on traffickers operating off Florida’s coasts.
“If we start letting our guard down here now, and we reduce our presence here, it will be more economical (for smugglers) to come back this way. And certainly the state of Florida is ground zero for that,” [Mark R. Trouville, chief of DEA’s Miami field office] said.
I’m sure Texas is happy for Florida.