Government programs often begin with limited, easily identifiable purposes, then grow over time to become expensive, wasteful, and even dangerous monstrosities. Such is the case with the federal War on Drugs, which began with little fanfare under a modest 1914 anti-narcotics law and has since grown to enormous proportions, eviscerating the Bill of Rights and entangling the United States in countries all around the globe in a futile effort to eradicate the supplies of highly sought-after commodities.
Even programs within the drug war itself have a way of extending their reach. The latest example is a project called FAST: Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team. Created in 2005, the program initially set out “to investigate Taliban-linked drug traffickers in Afghanistan,” according to a New York Times report. Soon thereafter the program expanded far beyond the borders of Afghanistan. “The D.E.A. now has five commando-style squads it has been quietly deploying for the past several years to Western Hemisphere nations — including Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Belize — that are battling drug cartels, according to documents and interviews with law enforcement officials,” the paper reports.
Besides Afghanistan missions, which have resulted in the deaths of at least three DEA agents and the critical wounding of another, FAST “commandos have also been deployed at least 15 times to Latin America,” says the Times. Their activities include raids on drug kingpins in Guatemala, training and arrest missions in Haiti, and a firefight with cocaine smugglers in Honduras.
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