Under the guise of fighting a more vigorous “war on drugs,” the Obama administration will continue adding to the exploding government deficit by expanding the already widespread and extremely costly U.S. military presence throughout Latin America. Critics in the United States and all across the Western hemisphere, however, have slammed the controversial scheme’s growth from all angles.
According to an investigative report published February 3 by the Associated Press, the federal government’s controversial “war” in Latin America is ballooning at unprecedented rates. Consider, for example, the record $3 billion in military equipment transfers to governments in the region authorized by Obama in 2011 — a quadrupling of the figures from just a decade ago. Almost 90 percent of the nearly $1 billion in aid for military and law enforcement in Latin America was spent on the “drug war,” the AP reported.
Several thousand U.S. troops are deployed in the region at any given time, and as The New American reported last year, Obama just sent hundreds of Marines to Guatemala to fight the “drug war” after the anti-communist president there called for total legalization. According to the AP, U.S. government pilots flying drug missions for at least 10 separate federal law-enforcement agencies clocked almost 50,000 hours on drug missions in Latin America.
Meanwhile, American troops are training dubious military forces all over the region — all over the world, actually — to help wage the controversial war. The U.S. government also uses its own resources, such as satellites and “intelligence” capabilities, to help questionable Latin American regimes crack down on certain drug cartels even as others receive official assistance in the form of protection and arms.
If Obama gets his way, despite federal deficits topping $1 trillion annually and Latin American leaders increasingly calling for new strategies such as legalization, the expensive “drug war” militarization trend is expected to continue exploding. Congress, meanwhile, aside from the occasional mild criticism from members on either side of the aisle, seems more than willing to go along with the president’s controversial plans.
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Photo of sailor aboard USS Underwood patrolling of the coast of Panama as part of the war on drugs: AP Images