Obama acknowledged that the United States shares responsibility for bloodshed and kidnappings in Mexico that have spilled across the border into the United States. Acknowledging that U.S. drug use fuels the cartels, Obama said, "I will not pretend this is Mexico's responsibility alone."
"We have a responsibility as well, we have to do our part," Obama said. He said the U.S. must crack down on drug use and the flow of weapons into Mexico. [AP]
Specifically, he said, "We have to crack down on drug use in our cities and towns," and while I've been accused at times of giving Obama too much credit when it comes to drug policy, there's just no silver lining in any of this. A crackdown is a crackdown. Anyone who talks that way is a full-blown drug warrior. He's always talked tough when it comes to Mexico, but this flat-out endorsement of busting drug users here at home is a new low.
Thus, Obama becomes a rather peculiar specimen as far as drug war politics are concerned. This is a guy who's talked about decriminalizing marijuana and "shifting the model" in the war on drugs, only to then take a step backwards after achieving enough to power to actually move those ideals forward in a meaningful way. Some have questioned his sincerity all along, but I don't. Drug policy reform just makes sense, so when I hear someone talking about it, I assume they understand the words coming out of their own mouth.
…which brings me to the tragic conclusion that Obama is doing all of this even though he knows it's wrong. Lives are being lost in a brutal and escalating war, while billions are being wasted away during an escalating economic meltdown, and he's opting to fan the flames rather than show real leadership. It's arguably even more disgraceful than what we've seen from our opponents in the past, because Obama bears the burden of knowing the truth.
Regardless of whatever the hell is going on in the President's head, it is just a fact that the American people have never been so sick of the war on drugs as they are this exact moment. There is a national dialogue about our drug policy taking place in the press on a daily basis, fueled to no small extent by Obama's own hypocrisy and intransigence. Determined though he may be to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors, Obama will not escape scrutiny as they did. That much is already clear.