It remains to be seen if Duterte’s war or drugs launched a year ago will end up being as unsuccessful as the US’s, which began in the 1970’s and was ramped up by the Reagan administration, and looks to be getting a new lease of life under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In the US, probably the worst that can happen lately to a drug user or dealer, is having drugs planted by corrupt police to incriminate him, and a subsequent prison sentence in the for-profit prison industry, courtesy of Uncle Sam.
In the Philippines, the President can accuse a city mayor of having links to the illegal drugs trade, send heavily armed police to his house to serve a warrant, who then end up killing him, his wife, and 10 others stupid enough to offer any resistance:
A Philippine mayor accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of having links with the illegal drugs trade has been shot dead in a police raid.
Reynaldo Parojinog, mayor of the city of Ozamiz on Mindanao island, was killed with his wife and 10 others at his home as police served a warrant.
Officers were fired on by the mayor’s security guards, officials said.
More than 7,000 people are said to have been killed since Mr Duterte launched a war on the drugs trade in July 2016.
Police were serving an arrest warrant when they were “met with a volley of fire” by Mr Parojinog’s security guards, officials said.
Of course it’s hard to get the facts when dealing with cases like this, so without any evidence to the contrary we need to take the police version of events at face value, which if accurate doesn’t really elicit much sympathy for the victims.
Admittedly though it’s hard to take the police version of events at face value when considering that President Duterte promised to kill tens of thousands to put an end to the illegal drugs trade:
Mr Parojinog is the third Philippine mayor to be killed in the government’s bloody narcotics crackdown, in which Mr Duterte has singled out local officials, policemen and judges.
The move has made him popular with many Filipinos but has been condemned by human rights groups and other critics.
Mr Duterte took office just over a year ago following an election campaign in which he promised to kill tens of thousands in order to put an end to the illegal drugs trade.
Whatever the truth of the matter is, there’s more likelihood that the Philippines will win their drug war than the US. Simply put, most addicts and dealers would prefer to stay alive then stay drugged up or make easy money.
In the Philippines these types of extrajudicial murders have become part of daily life, however in the US it would be infeasible. Other than the legal consequences, one just has to consider the intensity of media coverage when an unarmed blackman is killed by US police to realise that the country would descend into Antifa and BLM inspired riots if this was deliberately sustained for a year, as in the case of the Philippines.
Of course this all raises questions about whether or not drugs should be legalised and taxed, which would be a typical libertarian view of things, and in the case of the US there is a growing case for this – after all, what right does the government have to tell you what you can and cannot put into your body?
That’s an argument which is easier to agree with when dealing with relatively innocuous drugs like marijuana, but what about heroin and other highly addictive and potentially lethal drugs? When dealing with the latter it’s rarely a victimless addiction – the repercussions of these dangerous drugs are felt throughout communities affected by the scourge of debilitating drug addiction and rising crime.
Drug use was rarely a problem when the US was a moral nation, with deeply ingrained Christian values. But by the 1960’s not only were the country’s borders opened up to non-white immigration, but its youth was morally corrupted by the hippy movement and its glorification of drug use and free love.
In the case of the Philippines the causes may be different – high rates of extreme poverty in the country undoubtably have a significant effect on the rates of drug use – but the solution, at least in wording, is the same. However it seems that Duterte has not only declared war on the illegal drugs trade, but has also found a radical solution to eliminating the poor, and in certain cases the rich and corrupt.