Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Narco-terrorism: Are We Fighting Terra Next Door?

First a freak storm drove us from our favorite anchorage and back into the slip the other night. Then poor reception led to the the Fox show Cops being the only clear thing on the tube that dark and stormy night. I'd never seen it and was sure I never would again, when a segment caught my eye.

Recently the DEA found several large tunnels leading from Mexico to the United States near Tijuana. These tunnels had standing headroom, lights and ventilation (better than some of the boats I've owned). Who they belong to is still a mystery, but what they had been used for was certain, at least to the officers showing them. They were considered too large and professionally done for human traffickers, traffickers in human beings. These tunnels must be the work of narco-terrorists, dun dun dun.

At first I thought there must be some strange joke I missed having never seen the show before. Then I pondered the cruelty of humans being smuggled in dangerously hot container carriers while drugs received kid glove treatment in first class accommodations. But finally I realized the officer's tone bespoke the true meaning behind his words. Narco-terrorist, not drug dealers or traffickers, but terrorists on the border, and when we find them, whoa will they be in trouble.

Recent additions to the Patriot Act make the "manufacture, sale, possession with the intent to sell Schedule I and II drugs, or conspiracy to do any of the above "narco-terrorism" if it "directly or indirectly, aids, or provides support, resources or anything of value to: (a) a foreign terrorist organization; or (b) any person or group involved in the planning, preparation for, or carrying out of a terrorist offense." Terrorist do not receive due process. They can be held without charges, lawyer or cause. They need not be tried for years, can be beaten and abused, and of course fall into that category of Americans who can be spied against without warrant. The reason the DEA officer was so certain the tunnel was used by narco-terrorists was because that put them into a who new category our government has created to deal with people they just don't think deserve human rights.

Don't get me wrong, this is not some call for drugs to be legalized or softer penalties for addicts. I may believe in both those things, but this is not that post. In addition, trafficking is bad, be it in humans, drugs or arms; but people have been smuggling for centuries. Piracy, the slave trade and bootlegging are precursors to today's drug trade and all are vastly different in causual effect from terrorism. Likewise, the actions needed to curtail drug smuggling are very different from those needed to combat global terrorism.

This administration is too dogmatic and reckless. They react to every situation with the same arrogant abandon, without thought to the consequences of their actions. My fear is the administration may be fighting a war on our border in the same way they are fighting one overseas and treating even more people to the inhumane and unconstitutional abuses faced by those deemed enemy combatants. I fear the sound in that DEA officer's voice.