By Pino Che
The “war” on drugs in this country began in 1971 by President Richard “Did Nothing Wrong” Nixon. Ever since its inception, the war on drugs has been rather lackluster. The vision of a war is a bloody battle in which both sides are constantly trying to aim at one another, kill the enemy, and ultimately have a final victor. It’s now 2016, yet we still haven’t won the drug war which barely seems like a war anymore. Sure, occasionally there will be a shootout between government agents and drug dealers/users but it’s barely anything. We don’t have squads lining up the street, open firing on drug dealers. We just throw them into prison where they continue to deal drugs or take drugs. It’s useless and we will never successfully end the drug war with this failed approach.
Then in walks Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines. The Philippines drug crisis is far worse than ours, as they have judges and cops under drug rule. However, Rodrigo did not accept the fact that the drug war is unwinnable. He knew what to do. He has begun ordering the execution of drug dealers on sight by not only police but also citizens. Police in the Philippines are reporting a decline in drug trade by 80-90 percent. This is the war that America has been lacking! This is what we need if we want to win.
Essentially what I am advocating for is a modern day execution of the drug war. If we are to have a drug war, it makes no sense to lose it. Rodrigo understands this by actually acting as if the war on drugs is a war. He is not simply keeping it going by constantly throwing people into jail and allowing drug trafficking to continue. Rodrigo’s popularity has also risen since his rise to power and his decision to mass murder drug dealers and traffickers.
Now, we can argue that the war on drugs is not needed. I have heard this argument for years and I use to believe in it. However, that argument is unimportant to the major point of this article, which is that there is a right way to have a drug war and a wrong way. The right way has been done before, in Chile for instance. In all of South America, Chile is not only the most successful in terms of economic ranking, but is also the safest country in the region. Unlike its fellow South American countries, they do not have a major drug problem and cartels do not control large segments of the country. Certainly, other South American countries share in common outlawing narcotics, the so-called “drug war” is usually defined as simply outlawing the substances. However, Chile did not simply outlaw narcotics. Under the leadership of general Pinochet, drug distributors and traffickers were executed while labs were destroyed. He cleaned up the streets of Chile and made Chile Great Again. His model, the same model as Rodrigo even if he doesn’t know it, is a model that is shown to work. Maybe Rodrigo is taking the “right wing death squad” approach because he realizes that that too will make his country great again.
Now should we expand this policy to the United States? I’m not too sure. Our drug issue is not as bad as the Philippines nor is it as bad as Chile’s was; however, it is a solution that has been proven to work yet is never proposed by our politicians. I wonder why? Human rights violations maybe, but at the same time that does not concern me. Executing people who are flooding our streets with heroin, crack and meth, should not be seen as cruel and unusual punishment, rather it should be seen as a noble thing. How dare people continue to get away with dealing crack to the inner city, simply getting locked up and continuing to sell drugs in prison! How dare we as a society value the life of criminals over the lives of children, the innocent who get mowed down in drug related crimes and are victims of drug addiction. It makes no sense to me as to why the lives of criminals should be held so high.
“Ban it and the black market will supply look at what happens now!” Yes, thank you stereotypical libertarian, I understand economics. I understand economics enough to also realize that when money can still be made inside prison as well as outside, people are willing to risk 5-7 years in jail to make thousands of dollars. I don’t think that those who have chosen a life of crime deserve anything but a life of suffering. To conclude I want to leave off with the words of Richard Nixon, who, if he was still president would probably have won the drug war: “Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”