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14 January 2010


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Whatever the value of our little exercise in Mid East empire I've always believed that events in our own hemisphere would eventually demand our best.

I don't know what we do with Haiti but in the here and now the Haitians have to come up with people who can act as liasion with US/UN forces and provide a fig leaf of legitimacy when the rescue gets off the ground and if force is needed.

The Moar You Know

Re: Legalization of narcotics

I think we're going to see legalization of marijuana very soon; the costs of keeping people imprisoned for its use and possession are far too high and not worth even the imagined benefit.

As to heroin, both our long-time experiment with methadone in this nation, and Britain's long-time maintenance program for addicts shows that, if given a steady supply, heroin users are no more likely than anyone else to indulge in criminal acts, and the worst physical side effects are constipation. I don't expect to see legalization of heroin anytime soon, but frankly there are far worse things that could happen.

Cocaine is a different story; users become unpredictable and the substance itself can kill at almost any dosage.

R Whitman

We need some comments from educated Mexicans on this subject.

My most recent experiences with Mexico date from the period 1970-1993 when I did a substantial amount of business with companies in Mexico, so my comments may be out of date.

At that time, the technical and managerial class that I came in contact with did not care very much for the USA and Americans.

There was (and probably still is) a large cultural gap. A prime example always pointed out was what we call the Mexican War of 1848---remember the Marine Corps hymn ---From the halls of Montezuma---the Mexicans call if "The War of North American Agression".

My guess is that Mexicans do not care about the effects of illegal drugs on the USA; they care about how it screws up their society.

Patrick Lang


I have never used MJ either but I don't have a problem with legalizing it. pl

Patrick Lang


Ah, the good life. How about Humboldt Squid? Se any of those? pl

Vince Newman

"So, now we are back, but for how long and to what purpose after relief and basic assistance are performed"?

Sorry Pat, but the US never really left.

On the other hand, Haiti is one of those places that will always be a few steps behind. It will never catch up to.


Adam Silverman:

Although I agree with and appreciate your analysis, I feel that it is also necessary to consider that in some cases it could rest on a false assumption: That actors such as the Palestinians and Isreali's or Shia/Sunni in Iraq actually have as their goal development of a civil society and accommodation. The centuries long historical record of animosities between peoples suggests that often a group of people do not act in their best interest in the short or long-term.

Patrick Lang


"Sorry Pat, but the US never really left"

Ah, so we are responsible for Haiti's plight? pl

Michael Torpey

Col. Lang,

Regarding legalizing heroin and cocaine; I remember seeing prescriptions written in the early 1900's by Doctors in South Bend Indiana and filled by Sergio's Pharmacy for Elixir of Turpenhydrate with Heroin. The use of heroin as a medicine was common in the early 20th century. Cocaine was used for the cure of Catahr and marketed as a popular drug called Azmacide. At that time there was no regulation of these drugs and the subsequent medical problems resulting form self medication or unsupervised use of addictive substances and associated societal problems were left unaddressed. That changed with the policy decision by the U.S. Government in the 1930's to regulate by law the use of these and other drugs. In 1957 our family Doctor Eli Antzis gave his opinion to my mother on this policy. He said that all drugs should be legalized. That would put the pusher out of business, free up public money to be used in other areas of law enforcement and make drug addiction the medical problem that it is not a legal problem. I agree with his opinion. It was my experience while I was in Navy in the late '60's and early 70's that anything that involved drug use by personnel resulted in discharge, almost always a Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD) regardless of the circumstances. If the policy was different and the focus was on drug abuse as a medical problem rather then to build a case against the individual the outcome would probably have been the same, discharge, but without it being a BCD which it usually was and the stigma that goes with it.



Haiti is the Poster Child for privatization and deregulation.

What Haiti really needs is a government, the rule of law, environmental limitations and population control; all the heresies of the Right Wing ideologues everywhere and the Pope. This is why nation building is so difficult. It isn’t like the USA hasn’t tried already.

Charles I

Surely you do not think that we are going to lagalize heroin or cocaine?"

No, you never will, politically impossible, but the only economic and public health solution that will also address security concerns.

What is it you fear will happen? Isn't your concern violence and cash? Or is you're just against hard drugs, a sensible healthy attitude to be sure, but wholly inadequate to deal with human nature as it is within the confines of our present socioeconomic configuration?

How many more, or how much more stoned do you think people want to be? The evidence to date in stable societies is that users and addicts are stable populations.

Its only when the drug traffic is accompanied by war, repression, intervention in less developed nations with political and military use of proxies that in-theatre usage and out of theatre trafficking go up as a function of outside intervention. Laos, Burma, Vietnam, Columbia, Afghanistan, the list grows where the military goes, often surreptitiously, until our side is well established, the ends justifying the means.

Production in Afghanistan spiked after we replaced the Taliban with warlords rather than occupy the country ourselves. Now everybody and his brother, the Iranians, the ISI, they've all got a piece of the action.

Dan M

Was doing a little research at work, and was quite tickled by a two paragraph dispatch from the Christian Science Monitor, from October 20, 1914, on the Marine landing at Cape Hatien (with an excellent picture of the old palace destroyed by a massive explosion in 1912).
Note the last sentence:
"Landing of about 100 marines at Cape Haitien is officially reported in a brief dispatch to the navy department. The reports say the marines were landed from the cruiser Tacoma, to quell a local disturbance.

Little is known at the navy department regarding the revolutionary troubles in northern Haiti. Commander Twinings cablegram, dated on board the Tacoma, merely stated that he had landed marines for the protection of American interests. Officials are not inclined to attach much importance to the incident."

It's nice to know reporters 96 years ago were as gullible as we are now.

N. M. Salamon

Mr. Silverman:

Thank you for your clarifications.


Didn't see any squid, but we caught yellowfin tuna and ate it for T-giving dinner. The restaurants in Loreto will cook your catch for you. Yummy......

There's also a shiny new airport in Loreto.

we stayed here:

Great experience. No one got shot, kidnapped or arrested while we were there. Would someone please tell Anderson Cooper?

Patrick Lang

charles et al

The US is far too puritan a country to legalize these drugs.

It doesn't really matter that they used to put heroin in cough medecine. This is a different country now. pl


US gov. didn't get involved with regulating narcotics in earnest until early 1900.

Merck (yes, that biggest US drug company) made its fortune selling opium tincture. ..and Yes, these fuckers were involves in opium war in the far east.


In nineteenth-century America, the unimpeded importation of opium and the free economy in opiates do give an advantage to the historian, for estimates of per capita consumption are more reliable when there are few restrictions on the importation, sale, and consumption of a product. Because the growth of poppies within the country and preparation of opium from them seem to have been a minor contributor to American use, the import statistics, begun in 1840 and continued to the present day, are reliable as a guide to domestic consumption until the Harrison Act of 1914. Certainly the minimum level and the trend can be observed. After the Harrison Act, these statistics grew less reliable, for smuggling becomes a more uncertain variable, but we can say that at least during the nineteenth century the annual per capita consumption rose steadily from about 12 grains in 1840 (an average single dose being one grain) until the mid-1890s, when it reached 52 grains annually per capita. Then statistics show that average individual consumption gradually subsided up to 1914, by which time the per capita rate had fallen back to the level of about 1880." In Great Britain, the per capita consumption declined during the latter half of the nineteenth century." During that same period, opium use in the United States rose dramatically. The peak of opiate addiction in the United States occurred about the turn of the century, when the number probably was close to 250,000 in a population of 76 million, a rate so far never equaled or exceeded. 12 Heroin had been introduced into the pharmacy in 1898 and had contrasting impacts in Britain and the United States. In New York City, the addiction capital of the United States, heroin became the drug of choice for recreational addicts, and the number of addicts was measured in the tens of thousands by 1920. In Britain, the addiction rate for heroin addicts by 1920 was minuscule. 13 Of course, the use of drugs is determined by many factors, but I would like to suggest that the contrast in easy availability of narcotics in America and Britain-created by political and social factors removed from considerations of addiction-underlay the strikingly different rates of addiction each country experienced well into this century. The rise in addiction with which we are more familiar, that of the 1950s and more recently, appears to be associated with additional factors that will be discussed later.


Shall I remind everybody what "Coca-Cola" is about originally? (medicinal drink with coca leave extract)

So right there 2 of America's most commonly used industrial might symbols has root in narcotics and addictions. (Let's skip tobacco.)

anyway my position with legalization of drug. You can use it if you can prove to me you know what you are doing and can handle the consequence. (which pretty much eliminate 99% of people in the world if I am in charge.) basic criteria ...

to seller: must have license, must sell clean product, must sell only to responsible adult.

to user: show me you know what you are doing. (basic medical ethic, basic pharmacology, toxicology, basic medical hygene proceedure) show me you have emergency proceedure and have paid for it. Access to already paid for medical service. not endangering public safety. show one has designated third person in the event all else fails.

to state: show me this won't turn into exploitative commerce, massive corruption and public health epidemic.

Me personally: I think from various places around the world. It seems a) this should only be allowed in small urban cosmopolitant enclave where people have access to experts and information. (amsterdam or zurich level of sophistication) b) definitely only the "lite" natural product stuff. Since we understand those more than synthetic drugs. On top of that synthetic drug is too easily mass produced and can create exploitative industry. While natural product is limited by land and man power resource.


It is true we need more mature view toward drug, legislation, tecnological innovation, etc. Current regulation and enforcement is broken and won't last much longer with introduction of transgenic narcotics producing species...


I'm glad you don't have a problem with legalizing marijuana. When I said earlier that I don't use it, it didn't mean I've never tried it. Twice in college I smoked it, the extended (8 hour) naps afterward made it really unproductive for me. Maybe I shouldn't have inhaled.

Too bad so many in this country are too puritan to legalize drugs. Think of the tax revenue.

Sidney O. Smith III

I most certainly understand the intellectual side but always good to listen to James Brown every now and then. “For the white horse of heroin, will ride you to hell. Until you are dead…dead brother, dead.”



Do people here agree that there's "now an acceptance among most Americans that the future United States will be very strongly Mexican in culture and blood"?

It's true, everybody knows millions of Mexicans are here illegally. Yet it seems to me the American public and our politicians remain completely oblivious to the consequences of our passivity about illegal immigration. I don't think Americans want America to change, but so far they've been unwilling to take steps to stop this.

For example, we continue to grant automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, which commits us forever to providing for these children and all their descendants. No other first world country still does this, yet this critical issue is not even on the national radar.

I'm hoping that so-called "comprehensive immigration reform" will be delayed long enough for people to wake up and take action. We're supposed to have high unemployment for several more years. If that doesn't deliver the necessary wake-up call and make us start putting ourselves first, I don't what will.


I recall reading once that Emperor Maximilian offered to sell the US Government the Yucatan. Not as big a prize as the Louisiana Territories or Alaska but they still should have taken them up on the offer.

Not likely. The Union was sheltering Benito Juarez's government-in-exile for virtually the entire American civil war.

My friends and I used to drive down through Nogales to Hermisillo and then over to the Sea of Cortez to camp and fish. You had to be careful to not piss off the Federales at the roadside checkpoints but otherwise it was pretty safe. It sure isn't like that now.

Yeah, but that's in an area where the drug trade criss-crosses. It's not like Pakistan, where you have part of the country in basically a state of open warfare, and mass bombings in the other parts. The Mexican central government is in no danger of collapsing.


Wisdom, pure wisdom.

I would only add that the true rot in the United States is the "financial industry", an oxymoronic intestinal parasite sucking the life blood out of our citizenry.

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