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|G21 ON DRUGS
Funding the Unknown Soldier
G21 Staff Writer
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The KLA, of course, is on NATO's side, and so we shouldn't expect to hear President Clinton or Barry McCaffrey publicly crowing about the matter, as they have done for several years when the subject of the Colombian rebels has come up.
The issue, however, is not whether the groups raising money off the drug trade are "good guys" or "bad guys," but rather that the drug trade is funding political and quasi-political groups all over the world. Some of those groups, like the KLA, are aligned with official US interests, but many others are not. In fact, for terrorist groups, fringe movements and dictator wannabes, the drug trade, courtesy of prohibition, is the fastest and easiest way to raise money for arms and other instruments of mayhem.
This fact has not been lost on American agencies either. The CIA, for instance, knows well the convenience of the drugs-for-weapons matrix from its involvement with the Contras, and perhaps even before that.Easy cash, lots and lots of it, is temptation in the extreme, making it difficult for even well-funded spooks and arms of state to resist dipping their fingers into the contraband pie. Imagine then the choice faced by any wacko with a "cause." It's a no-brainer, really. Drugs have become the currency of choice in a world where the prospect of a nuclear bomb in a suitcase or anthrax in a subway station is no longer the stuff of late night science fiction.
So on we go. This week's shocking -- if unconfirmed -- revelation is that the KLA has (gasp) funded itself to one extent or another via the drug trade. Well, given the scope and the nature of that business, they'd have been stupid to have turned down the opportunity. When you are involved in or planning armed struggle, or to blow up a passenger jet or to poison innocent commuters, are you likely to find the immorality of supplying a much-in-demand product too high a price for your soul to bear? Not likely.
Today we can be thankful that the newly exposed KLA-drug connection was not perpetrated for the purpose of buying a nuclear device from a renegade Russian general, or rocket launchers to take down a planeload of tourists. These drug dealers are on "our" side. But make no mistake, our precious drug war is lining the pockets and building the arsenals of plenty of groups whose sworn enemies are not named Slobodan Milosevic.
We do have the power to de-fund them. All at once.
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