The testimony in Brownsville, Texas, of former Gulf cartel tsar Rafael Cardenas Vela outlined the business practices and plans of a very successful regional Mexican drug operation. Mr. Vela’s testimony a few weeks ago at his trial on a variety of heinous charges referred to his cutthroat organization, Mr. Vela bemoaning the pitfalls of his job because, “I can’t do everything myself”.
Mr. Vela seemingly confronted, as does every CEO, the business reality of too many details requiring too many hasty decisions. One example Mr. Vela gave in his sworn testimony was the need to pay bribes of $1 million a month in order to sustain his bloodthirsty operations.
While jurors in Brownsville and the media in general were apparently impressed by the B-School practices of this ruthless drug organization, one individual, Will Glaspy who heads the Drug Enforcement Administration in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, reached a wildly spurious conclusion from Mr. Vela’s testimony in Brownsville.
Will Glaspy, quoted in the Huffington Post, said, “You have to keep attacking the command and control elements again and again.” In other words, the lesson learned from Mr. Vela is that the DEA and other law enforcers should continue to capture and/or eliminate those at the top of the drug monster, a daily endeavor we would neglect at our own peril.
But since this so-called “Drug War” initiated under President Reagan has been going on for more than 30 years, does not Mr. Vela’s testimony elicit a more precise lesson than that gleaned by Mr. Glaspy? Clearly we have long since lost this Drug War. And clearly it is getting much worse based upon the number of bodies piling up within Mexico and our inner cities; Chicago’s body count tied to drugs this year is a disaster. Instead of continuing to spend billions each year following Mr. Glaspy’s philosophy, it would seem that by now we would have learned that treating drug users less as criminals and more as a public health issue will get us much further than yet another year of the Drug War.
Rather than waste time admiring the infrastructure of Mexico’s drug operations, including their use of hundreds of American local gangs within our border, why don’t we finally begin as a nation to redefine our national problem with illegal drugs?