Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Duplicating drug war waste

By Libby

No bid contracts are not just for the Pentagon. Under the Bush administration they have become the norm for many federal agencies.
A recent congressional report estimated that federal spending on contracts awarded without "full and open" competition has tripled, to $207 billion, since 2000, with a $60 billion increase last year alone. The category includes deals in which officials take advantage of provisions allowing them to sidestep competition for speed and convenience and cases in which the government sharply limits the number of bidders or expands work under open-ended contracts.

In the instant matter here, DHS hired a contractor on a no-bid basis because they couldn't figure out a measurement system for their counter-narcotics operation that would show any effectiveness. So they hired a guy who had had success in spinning the propaganda for ONDCP in the past.
Homeland Security's counter-narcotics office was formed in 2004 to develop policies that unify various drug-enforcement programs. With fewer than a dozen employees, the office has struggled with deadlines for its budget, annual reports and the development of a system for measuring the effectiveness of drug-control efforts, Dhillon said.

The chosen contractor isn't only a crony, he's a hack. He simply replicated the work he did for the ONDCP in 2004 and slapped a 2007 label on it.

One has to ask why DHS is involved in counter-narcotics in the first place? We fund the DEA and the ONDCP for this purpose already. While I'd concede that terrorists are partly funding their operations through drug dealing, the majority of narcotics traffickers are not terrorists, they're businessmen who found the most profitable business they could engage in within the free market. They have no interest in destroying our country and losing their customer base. The DHS should be spending their time on national security, not narcotics interdiction. Paying for this duplication of failed policy, and even more galling the reporting on the failed policy, is an egregious waste of tax dollars.

Further, it could not be clearer that the war on some drugs is an abysmal failure when they have so much difficulty inventing a measurement system that shows false progress with any credibility that they are forced to recycle old contractors, who in turn merely recycle three year old reports, that were based on false statistics in the first place.

As researchers in Oregon are finding, everybody lies and drug use is much more pervasive than the prohibition profiteers will ever admit after having squandered tens of billions of dollars on their failed policies.

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