"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DRUG WAR: Green Berets in Honduras

Welcome to the endless "war" on drugs.
An American task force member refueling a Black Hawk helicopter in Puerto Castilla.

The Drug War Gets Hot  -  U.S. Military in Central America

  • U.S. bases in Honduras
  • Green Berets are on the ground 
  • Drug Enforcement Administration "support" teams.
  • Endless billions spent in a "war" that cannot be won.


The Drug War is big business . . . for the government.  Endless demands to grow law enforcement with more police (and resulting in more police union members), more expensive equipment, more prosecutors and more prisons with unionized prison guards.

It is a both a war that cannot be won and at the same time the "war" is a growth industry lining the pockets of everyone involved with billions in taxpayer money.  Both the American Left and Right are cashing in on the war bonanza.

The New York Times reports that the United States military has troops on the ground in Honduras to fight the drug war.  The U.S. has been constructing a remote base camp with little public notice but with the support of the Honduran government.

It is one of three new forward bases here — one in the rain forest, one on the savanna and one along the coast — each in a crucial location to interdict smugglers moving cocaine toward the United States from South America.

Honduras is the latest focal point in America’s drug war. As Mexico puts the squeeze on narcotics barons using its territory as a transit hub, more than 90 percent of the cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela bound for the United States passes through Central America. More than a third of those narcotics make their way through Honduras, a country with vast ungoverned areas — and one of the highest per capita homicide rates in the world.

American-Honduran military bases in the drug war 

The U.S. mission there has been adapted to strict rules of engagement prohibiting American combat in Central America

In creating the new outposts — patterned on the forward bases in Iraq and Afghanistan that gave troops a small, secure home on insurgent turf — spartan but comfortable barracks were built. Giant tanks hold 4,500 gallons of helicopter fuel. Solar panels augment generators. Each site supports two-week rotations for 55 people, all no more than 30 to 45 minutes’ flying time from most smuggling handoff points.

Before his assignment to Central America, Col. Ross A. Brown spent 2005 and 2006 in Iraq as commander of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment’s Third Squadron, responsible for southern Baghdad.

Colonel Brown is now commander of Joint Task Force-Bravo, where he and just 600 troops are responsible for the military’s efforts across all of Central America. He is under orders to maintain a discreet footprint, supporting local authorities and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which leads the American counternarcotics mission.

The Insane Drug War in Honduras

American troops here cannot fire except in self-defense, and they are barred from responding with force even if Honduran or Drug Enforcement Administration agents are in danger. Within these prohibitions, the military marshals personnel, helicopters, surveillance airplanes and logistical support that Honduras and even the State Department and D.E.A. cannot. 

“By countering transnational organized crime, we promote stability, which is necessary for external investment, economic growth and minimizing violence,” Colonel Brown said. “We also are disrupting and deterring the potential nexus between transnational organized criminals and terrorists who would do harm to our country.”

Conducting operations during a recent day at the outpost were members of the Honduran Tactical Response Team, the nation’s top-tier counter-narcotics unit. They were working alongside the Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team, or FAST, created by the Drug Enforcement Administration to disrupt the poppy trade in Afghanistan. With the campaign in Afghanistan winding down — and with lowered expectations of what Washington can do to halt heroin trafficking there — FAST members were in Honduras to plan interdiction missions in Central America.

And Honduran Special Operations forces, with trainers from American Special Forces — the Army’s Green Berets — were ferried from the outpost by Honduran helicopters to plant explosives that would cut craters into smugglers’ runways. Honduran infantrymen provided security for the outpost, which remains under Honduran command.

(New York Times)

A New Zealand Anti-Prohibition Poster.
Debate over the prohibition of alcohol remained one of New Zealand’s most contentious political issues in the 1920s. This pro-continuance poster, probably from 1925 or 1928, shows a New Zealand soldier kicking an old man representing Uncle Sam back across the sea from New Zealand to North America. It urges New Zealanders not to follow the United States in banning alcohol and claims prohibition there (in force since 1919) has caused more harm than good.

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