Op-Ed: Is Mexico the new Afghanistan? 50,000 dead in 5 years New figures for the Mexican drug wars indicate that about 10,000 people a year are dying in the endless war between the drug cartels, or 50,000 since 2006. That figure includes 1,000 children. The War on Drugs is as usual failing abysmally on all fronts. To put that figure into perspective- That's ten times more deaths than the entire US fatalities in Iraq from start to finish, or the total number of American deaths in Vietnam.The current stats for the Mexican situation donâ€™t include the almost unbelievable sleaze and oppression of the Mexican people by the crime gangs. Even barely-paid teachers are being put under pressure to pay half of their wages to crime groups. The general social atrocity is now systemic, throughout the entire country. Mexico may be the breeding culture for a new type of social failure- Where crime effectively runs the society. Many other types of â€œdrug warsâ€ are based on gang conflicts, corruption and societies which simply donâ€™t deal with the problems. The Mexican version, however, is far more vicious. The usual run of events in Mexico, at least as reported, includes: 1. Beheadings 2. Executions 3. Torture 4. Extortion 5. People smuggling 6. Corruption 7. The ongoing trashing of Mexicoâ€™s legitimate industries (even Acapulcoâ€™s legendary tourist trade is falling to bits) 8. Shootouts with much collateral damage to anyone in the area 9. Use of military grade munitions like grenades (not seen since their use by the Capone-era mobsters in the 1920s) 10. Routine dismemberment of corpses 11. Sporadic success of military operations against the cartels 12. Outgunned and outnumbered local police 13. Hundred million dollar â€œcommodity handlingâ€ of cocaine and other drugs Thatâ€™s just the weather report. The Sydney Morning Herald: The only other place on Earth where drug trafficking is also funding a full scale local war and totally corrupting the nation on an hourly basis is Afghanistan. (OK, there are degrees of what you call a war, but these are the two full scale, whole-of-country scenarios.) Without money from drugs, the Taliban might not exist long enough to do a â€œBest of the Talibanâ€ documentary. Without money from drugs, the Mexican drug cartels would be just petty crooks, with no access to the huge amounts of money they need to recruit and corrupt officials. The comparison between Mexico goes further- In both cases the social environment provides the basic raw materials for this situation- Crime and poverty. Mexicoâ€™s large population and a weak economy guarantee that a large percentage of the people are always at risk of poverty. Like Afghanistan and Pakistan, crime is a working option because as the Taliban prisoners often say, â€œThere are no jobsâ€. The fact is that as poverty spreads, so does crime. Millionaires donâ€™t run out into the street and die in gun battles for a few bucksâ€™ worth of grass. Poor people do. The poor are the cannon fodder in the crime wars. They support organized crime with their lives. Mexico is a good example of what a â€œsocial underclassâ€ can become, if a society neglects its poor for long enough. There has never, in fact, been any reason to believe that the â€œwar on drugsâ€ could succeed. The war on drugs has been arguably the biggest single global social disaster of all time. Prohibition failed. The Chinese never stamped out the opium trade, or the Triads. Black markets flourished, moving huge amounts of materials around the world during World War Two, and only faded out when consumer supplies started moving again. The anti-drug zombie policy makers have refused to acknowledge obvious failure, and the illegality of these drugs is making billionaires out of mass murderers. 50,000 Mexicans are dead, and God alone knows how many have been wounded or suffered in other ways, on the basis of a policy which has never worked at all, anywhere on Earth. History teaches one basic lesson about crime- Crime goes where the money goes. If a crime isnâ€™t worth committing, it usually isnâ€™t committed. The entire strategy of managing drugs in the global society must be totally revised to eliminate the opportunities for criminals to exploit laws. One other observation, which may seem a bit snide at first- One reason for the illegality of drugs is because â€œtheyâ€™re bad for peopleâ€. How much worse for people than a trashed society and a solid daily supply of bullets and psychopaths can anything get? Another reason for the illegality of drugs, and this is typical circular logic at its most pathetic, is that â€œDrugs make money for criminalsâ€. No, laws are making money for criminals. Grass was cheap before J Edgar Multiple Faces Hoover pushed for its illegality. So were all the other drugs, even LSD and heroin. The prices were nothing like they are today. The third, and most bizarre of all reasons for the illegality of drugs was morality- â€œDrugs cause people to do immoral thingsâ€. Morality is expensive in another way- There have always been moral reasons for people to endure generations of wars and other types of suffering. Killing people in the name of making money from drugs may not be moral, but if the money wasnâ€™t going to be made from it, people wouldnâ€™t be getting killed. The real, necrotic beauty of this morality is that it can claim moral superiority while totally ignoring the results of its own morals. Look forward to more tens of thousands of dead, maimed and oppressed people as the utterly unworkable idiocy of the past continues to infect the future.