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Killing Pablo

I had assumed Mark Bowden’s Killing Pablo would focus on the clandestine U.S. goons hunting down Pablo Escabar. It did, partly, and of course we all love reading about the extra-legal international escapades of the United States of America. But Bowden dedicated the far greater and more interesting portion of his book to the Colombians.

This part was deeply unsettling. Not the fact of the violence, necessarily, but the image of a society that could not respond to it. Dismantle a lab? He kills five cops. Arrest him? He sets of a car bomb. Indict him? He kills the public prosecutor. Bring him to trial? He kills the judge, the next judge, and the next judge’s family. Then he gets acquitted. This all gave me bad dreams.

In the end, the only way to stop a guy like Pablo was to use his tactics against him – that is, go vigilante, burn his stuff, and kill all his associates, including family members. The irony in the whole thing (irony?) is that Pablo never would have become so powerful if he didn’t have so much money, and the source of that money – extremely lucrative cocaine smuggling – was made possible by U.S. anti-drug policy.

Oh, and cocaine prices haven’t really gone up in 20 years (PDF). Meanwhile, the body count has.

One Comment

  1. Terry G McKinney wrote:

    You can always count on the US government to train killers from the country that’s pissing them of at any given moment.I think that’s why they have such a symbiotic relationship with the Israelis.The best killers on the planet.The US navy seals can only stand back and salute the Israeli assassins.The air america and Iran Contra cases prove that the real power in the US has no problem paying for their destruction with drug dollars.To even suggest that the people from the President on down have or had no knowledge of these escapades is pure folly.That the final destination of these drugs was the US itself shows that they either thought they would wind up in the ghetto or that they just didn’t care.Treatment is always available for those in power at any rate.Perhaps they were just ignorant of the power that these drugs have over the human psyche.Iran Contra led to the spread country wide of cocaine base also known as crack.Ihad seen many of my friends converting their cocaine to base with baking soda and when I heard about this new drug that was addicting so many people I never thought that it was the same drug.My friends and myself had been injecting cocaine and it does wreak havoc on the circulatory system which is why so many of them reverted to smoking the drug reverted back from the acidic cocaine to the alkaline base.There were a lot of cocaine addicts in the eighties.Everyone knew who Pablo Escobar was.The guy was a legend,built his own jail in Columbia to thwart extradition to the US.That he was eventually shot to death on a Columbian rooftop just seemed so melodramatic,such a shame for a guy that had 50 gallon drums of cash buried on his property and owned his own island as an airstrip and refueling stop for his planes.A book was so long in coming I wondered if there would ever be one.Drug kingpins are the AL Capone’s of our day.One day a son of one of them will run for president of the US.And perhaps he too will be shot to death on a street while driving to a meaningless meeting with a bunch of hicks he couldn’t care less about but has to butter up before an election.Amerika,the land that eats it’s young and destroys it’s royalty in full public view as if it were a sort of sport.How many more men will she make wealthy only to have them killed in full public view,photos at nine.The men who killed Pablo Escobar are hidden and will remain in the shadows and be forgotten as footnotes in history.Pablo will be immortal,remembered as a king of an era in history that will someday,hopefully very soon,be placed on the shelf with all the other vain attempts to control human behavior with violence and death.They killed the man but the legend will live on long after we all are gone.

    Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 15:36 | Permalink

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