US Drug Czar Supports Venezuela Shooting Down "Drug Planes"

Over the weekend, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his country should consider shooting down drug-carrying planes. On Tuesday, US drug czar Gil Kerlikowske seemed to signal his approval of the idea.

Hugo Chavez is open to shooting down suspected drug planes (image via Wikimedia)
Chavez told lawmakers Saturday he is considering letting the military shoot down drug-laden planes if they ignore orders to land. Drug smugglers often ignore military orders to land and sometimes mock those orders over the radio, Chavez said. He added that he doesn't necessarily like the idea of shooting down planes, but that parliament should debate it.

Although no coca is grown in Venezuela, the country has become a major hub for drug traffickers smuggling Colombian cocaine. The Venezuelan government has been criticized by the US over the use of its territory by drug traffickers, but Venezuela contends that despite its lack of cooperation with the DEA, it is doing all it can to stifle the trade.

US drug czar Kerlikowske was in Colombia on a three-day trip when he commented on Chavez's remarks. "Venezuela has expressed clearly its support for curbing drug trafficking by air," he said, adding that other countries in the region should adopt similar measures.

The US supported a similar program in Peru beginning in the Clinton administration and even provided CIA and military personnel to support it. But that program came to a crashing halt after a Peruvian Air Force fighter jet shot down a plane carrying American missionaries in 2001, killing Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter.

Venezuela
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shooting down planes

Does anyone possibly believe that even if a plane was shot down by the Venezuelan air force every day or two, it would make he slightest difference in curbing illicit drug use and all the associated suffering and loss of life in the US or anywhere else in the world?   Has anyone bothered to ask how much success was attributed to the shooting down of the Peruvian aircraft before - alas - we shot down the wrong plane and killed a bunch of missionaries?  What's perhaps surprising is that at the time, no one suggested that missionaries were a bunch of leftie do-gooders whose preaching of love and tolerance "encourages drug use"-  and knocking off some of them might be a useful strategy in fighting our war on drugs?    And even if killing missionaries wasn't all that helpful, what are a few preachers' lives compared to boldly moving forward to create a drug-free society. Hey -  stuff happens!      

What are they supposed to do?

If a pilot won't obey an order to land from a legitimate law enforcement or military authority, what is that authority supposed to do?  Does a country's right to enforce its laws suddenly disappear when the suspect is no longer in contact with the ground?

 

On the ground, this would be, "Stop or I'll shoot!"

Kerlikowske is really nuts

Kerlikowske is really nuts now. He is advising that CIA operatives should be shot down.

Kerlikowske is really nuts

Kerlikowske is really nuts now. He is advising that CIA operatives should be shot down.

Who says the plane is drug laden?

Mr Chavez should stick to his policy of helping the poor and down trodden and forget about Amerika's drug war.It won't stop the US from trying to kill him,discredit him and overthrow him and it sure won't stop any errors from being blamed on his cowboy attitude.If he has a problem with drugs in his country then by all means try to do what he can to solve them.As for shooting down an aircraft which could be ignoring orders for any number of reasons,one plane load of nuns is one too many.Sorry Mr.Chavez but the United States will hate and try to harm and overthrow you no matter how many drug addict nuns you kill.

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