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TURNING POINT: Waging a New War on Drugs

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (MindaNews / 13 November) — Forward looking strategies have won many battles to win a war.

Cutting effectively the supply of water, food, arms and men, is one proven strategy to win battles in many wars. Sometimes, the strategy demands halting the fighting and simply requires looking at how the enemy wilts, fades and raises the white flag without a single shot fired at them. In other times, a fierce battle becomes a necessity to secure or destroy the supply line, including the wasting of one’s own food sources or depots to deprive the enemy of such spoil in their advance.

The battle of Stalingrad is a classic battle of choking supply lines which the Russians eventually won. As the German blietzkrig pushed into Russian territory, the Russian population cooperated with government; they evacuated burning their farms, killings their farm animals as they left to deprive the Germans of local supply of food. The Germans gained vast but empty territory as they pushed forward. As the battle advanced to the very heart of Stalingrad, the Germans realized that they were not just fighting an army but also a highly motivated Russian civilian defenders as well as starvation and the devastating winter . Cold and famished, the proud Germans could do nothing more but surrender. The humbling in Stalingrad was the turning point of Hitler’s megalomania.

Cannot the country’s war on drugs learn some lessons from historic wars? The raging war on illegal drugs has already taken a toll on thousand lives but has shown no tiny evidence of winning. The drug trade continues to proliferate in every nook and corner of the archipelago and has not slowed down despite the unabated killing of users and pushers in the streets.

I suppose the drug trade will die if the supply, the product – the illegal drugs do not reach the market and are no longer available to buyers and users.

It’s high time that the fighting shift from eliminating users and petty pushers to hunting drug lords, producers, shippers and their protectors and accomplices in the government. The Office of the Presidents for all it intelligence funds and resources knows where the enemies are. In fact, it has produced several matrices of the enemies. Why it has not found the resolve to hunt and pin them down but continue to focus on street fighting is beyond us simple mortals to understand.

The Vice President, who does not hide her displeasure on how the war on drugs has been pursued, especially on the senseless killing of suspects, was challenged by the president to do it herself – to be the country’s drug czar?

Beyond everybody’s expectation,Vice President Robredo accepted the challenge, even as just co-chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD). The President, himself, was likely taken aback by the acceptance of the challenge like everyone else.

Why simply as co-chair not even a full chair occupant of the anti-drug committee? Why not as drug czar as the public was made to believe earlier? As drug czar she would have then, presumably, all the necessary resources of the government at her disposal. As co-chair, she could only do much in coordination with the other chair. She has very limited authority and very little elbow room to move.

Whatever, she accepted the new task before her without any complaint or reservation. She promised to give a new face to the campaign and to do her best for it to succeed. Regardless his public utterances, the President appears to have some hesitation in the drug campaign (For instance, how many actors in the matrices have been x-ed to date?), the Vice President, on the other hand, has only determination in her new assignment. If she has the support and cooperation of all agencies of the government under her committee, there is no reason she won’t succeed.

Hopefully, the war on drugs, with Robredo on board, will rise above politics and will liberate the country from the deathly clutches of drugs. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)

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