Just a quick note about the title...this is apparently my 500th post on (ith). (Incidentally, that was the first time I ever used that abbreviation to refer to the name of this blog). I don't know if that tally includes the dozens of drafts still on Blogger that never got published or not, and I am certainly not in the mood to figure that out*. Anyway, the dashboard said "499 posts" before I started this one, so I figured the milestone was worth mentioning. Or not.
If you're still reading, thanks for making it this far.
There is so much wrong with this piece by Bret Stephens that it is difficult to know where to start. It is also difficult not to descend into Tourette's-level profanity when trying to respond to it. But I will nonetheless attempt the former while trying to avoid the latter.
Mr. Stephens argues that "To make the case for [drug legalization in the U.S.] now while Mexico bleeds is an exercise in fecklessness." For the thesaurusly impaired, common synonyms for "feckless" include "ineffective," "incompetent," and "futile." To castigate opposition to the drug war as "an exercise in fecklessness" in the midst of defending arguably the most ineffective, incompetent, and futile policy in the history of the republic requires such a willful dissociation from reality that I am tempted to accuse Mr. Stephens of...well, of being on drugs when he wrote that.
All the more so since he closes the piece by acknowledging that all of the alleged praiseworthiness of Mexico's escalating drug war "...does not mean Mr. Calderón will win."
He also notes that "The government has managed to spark power struggles within and among cartels, and the vast majority of Mexico's murder victims are themselves involved in the drug trade," as though this were a good thing. The concept of selection pressure comes to mind. The criminals that survive this war (and to be sure, it will be criminals that survive it) will be the ones who not only outgunned the state, but each other.
Moreover, since the presumed source for his assertion that the "vast majority" of murdered Mexicans are involved in the drug trade is the very state he dismisses as corrupt and incompetent, this assertion frankly does not deserve to be taken at face value.
*UPDATE--I have been in "coming up with clever ways to analyze large amounts of data" mode today, and that might have to do with me figuring out a "clever" (read:"obvious once you realize it") way to determine this. So as it turns out, this was actually my 460tth post. But who's counting, really?