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Thursday, October 16, 2003

TERRORISM AND DRUGS TRADE In today's IHT William Safire busies himself Adding up evidence against Assad's Syria.
I'm not really concerned with most of the article, which is a little, how shall I say, over the top with its listing of all sorts of bad stuff you could possible lay at Syria's door (occupation of Lebanon, support for terrorism and Saddam's deposed regime, etc). What actually caught my attention was this:

Find the European connections to the cocaine trade in the Bekaa Valley that buys rockets for Nasrallah's Hezbollah.

A friend of mine recently relayed to me that a fifth of Afghanistan's economy revolves around the drug trade. It is a fairly safe bet to assume that a good deal of this is going into the war chests of the Taleban and al Quaeda. The nexus between drugs, organised crime and terrorism is as clear as it need be. Is the West, and particularly the US, using its resources wisely? I think not. Jacob Sullum doesn't either:

With escalating budget deficits as far as the eye can see, Americans should seriously consider whether we can afford a war on drugs in addition to a war with Iraq and a war on terrorism. Given the dangers we face, it's inexcusable to blithely continue the futile crusade against politically incorrect plants, powders, and pills.

Of course, the only real solution is the complete legalisation of the international drug trade and thus reduce the huge amounts of dirty money floating around and from which terrorists of all types profit just as much as those ordinary criminals who are only in it for the money. Mo Mowlam has presented this case with the most clarity, while Deroy Murdock makes the case from the right and with a summarising headline: Fight Bombs, not Bongs. In any case, if a country chooses to maintain a ban on domestic drug use, there is no reason why every country in the world has to agree to a legalisation of drug within its own territory. It's only the worldwide trade that needs to be curbed in order to get to grips with terrorism.

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