If, for some reason, you did not believe that there really is a War on Drugs underway in America, two top-ranking U.S. military generals admitted as much earlier this week in testimony before the Congressional House Armed Services Committee in Washington D.C.
Army General Charles Jacoby and Marine General John Kelly sat Tuesday before the pasty white panel of entitled U.S. Congressmen, begging the government’s purse-holders for a few more bucks, and warning that more budget cuts will translate directly into violent drug sales here at home.
The two generals, commanders of the Northern and Southern Commands (NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM), claim that ongoing budget cuts to our military spending is leading directly to more drugs crossing our borders and hitting our streets.
“Force allocation cuts by the services are taking their toll on operational results,” warned Gen. Kelly. “In 2013, Operation Martillo disrupted 132 metric tons of cocaine, compared with 152 metric tons of cocaine in 2012, due to limited assets.”
Those numbers are right in line with a disturbing trend, they say, one which will only get worse if they don’t get more precious money.
Operation Martillo, referenced by Gen. Kelly in the hearing, is the not-so-Top-Secret code name for a multinational U.S., European, Canadian and Latin American joint task force, drafted to patrol and protect the coastal waters on each side of Central America, in an attempt to seize large shipments of illegal narcotics before they ever reach their destination port.
The overriding theme of the hearing was that the generals believe that a large part of their role as high-ranking officials in the greatest military superpower that the world has ever known is to keep drugs off the neat streets of America, at any and all costs. They could not stress enough how much more difficult it becomes to police these drugs once they are broken down, repackaged, and re-distributed on the streets.
They’re not asking for a “huge aircraft carrier”, Gen. Kelly says, they just want a new ship that can carry 16 helicopters. Oh, and 16 helicopters too please. Oh yeah, staff, crew, maintenance…but its super important!
At sea, they say, interdictions with traffickers lead to much less violence, as ships are stopped, boarded, and raided for large quantities of bulk-packaged drugs, as well as intelligence on the gangs, dealers and smugglers pushing the product.
They say that the advantages of fighting the War on Drugs in a naval theater have led to SOUTHCOM capturing over 100 more tons of illegal narcotics than land-based agencies like the U.S. Border patrol.
“We get it at two to five tons at a time, without any violence. … At best case at the borders, they’ll get 30 tons [total]with more violence,” trashtalked Gen. Kelly. Oooh, those sound like fightin’ words! Or at least like the words of a desperate man begging for spare change.
The fact is, the United States military has more than doubled its spending since 9/11. U.S. military and homeland security spending since that fateful September day over 12 years ago totals over $7.6-billion, and counting. This massive bloat may wear camouflage, but there is no hiding the fact that the military spending hikes in the past 10 years, if allocated elsewhere, could be of much more benefit to society as a whole.
Military spending increases in the U.S. since 9/11, if spent more compassionately, could’ve closed the funding gap in America’s Medicaid health care program – 5 times over!
46 states face very serious budget shortfalls, and critical public services, like education, law enforcement, and infrastructure maintenance are being sacrificed to try to close those gaps. When you combine all 46 of those states’ financial worries, you arrive at $130-billion to fix all of their problems. We still spend upwards of $170-billion annually on the leftovers of Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, they ask for more.
The Iraq War is allegedly over, Dubya told us so from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier after he flew in on a jet dressed like a knock-off G.I. Joe action figure while he was still presidentin’, yet we still pump $50-billion a year over there to pay our contractors and security forces still serving. They need more, though, for here closer to home.
Truth-Out.com did a fantastic job of illustrating just how much money that is, showing how $50-billion a year could work miracles back here at home. For $50-billion per year, we could provide:
• 24.3 million children receiving low-income health care for one year, OR
• 726,044 elementary school teachers for one year, OR
• 829,946 firefighters for one year, OR
• 6.2 million Head Start slots for children for one year, OR
• 10.7 million households with renewable electricity — solar photovoltaic for one year, OR
• 28.6 million households with renewable electricity-wind power for one year, OR
• 6.1 million military veterans receiving VA medical care for one year, OR
• 9.8 million people receiving low-income health care for one year, OR
• 718,208 police or sheriff’s patrol officers for one year, OR
• 6.0 million scholarships for university students for one year, OR
• 8.5 million students receiving Pell grants of $5,550
When we start talking about billions of dollars in just 2- and 3-digit numbers, we lose sight of just how much money is really being wasted on this epic failure of a War on Drugs. We have to remember, though, that every one of those dollars is going into the pockets of an exclusive group of hyper-wealthy individuals in this country, whose greed far outweighs any semblance of morals they may still retain.
As free peoples seeking only the sovereign right to control what we do, or do not, put into our own bodies, that is the machine that we are up against, and the “War” rages on.