A Senate subcommittee released a report yesterday denouncing the wastefulness of relying on contractors to combat drug trafficiking.
The report sharply questioned the effectiveness of the Obama administration's aggressive crackdown on the drug trade in Latin America, contending that it has not produced tangible results.
We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return, said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that wrote the report.
As the U.S. has devoted more resources to counter-narcotics operations, the role of contractors who train local law enforcement and provide logistical support has grown apace. The report found that the value of contracts awarded to private entities increased by 32 percent from 2005 to 2009, and a separate Government Accountability Office study suggested that the government could not account for where the money is going or whether it is being spent effectively.
The report amplifies critiques laid out in a recent analysis conducted by a high-profile commission of current and recent world leaders called the Global Commission on Drug Policy. That report concluded that an emphasis on disrupting suppliers and arresting offenders, rather than on rehabilitation and public health, had disastrous consequences.
While increased U.S. efforts in Mexico and Colombia have resulted in the seizure of substantial amounts of drugs and weapons, they have also spurred violence and pushed traffickers deeper into Latin America.