Last week, White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske insisted to the Seattle Times editorial board that the war on drugs was "over."

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I guess he convinced the US ATF, who certainly aren't behaving as if there's a war on—because they're arming the other side:

Mexico has asked the US for detailed information on a law enforcement operation that allegedly allowed guns to be smuggled across the border... The tracking operation, codenamed Fast and Furious, was conducted by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), according to CBS and the Los Angeles Times.

The ATF reportedly allowed 1,765 guns to be smuggled into Mexico over a 15 month period, including assault weapons and high-powered sniper rifles.

Of those guns, 797 were recovered on both sides of the border.

Many are thought to have been used in crimes, including two that were recovered at the scene of the killing of a US border protection agent in Arizona.

Even the guns they got back had already been used in murders. And the ones they didn't get back (which was most of them)? They still have some murders to commit.

This operation is one for the books. It has to be one of the worst ideas in drug war history—maybe even law-enforcement history.


Slog commenter Amnt points out this nice quote from a CBS report:

Sources tell CBS News several gun shops wanted to stop the questionable sales, but ATF encouraged them to continue.

And there's this detail:

On the phone, one Project Gunrunner source (who didn't want to be identified) told us just how many guns flooded the black market under ATF's watchful eye. "The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That's how many guns were sold—including some 50-calibers they let walk."

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50-caliber weapons are fearsome. For months, ATF agents followed 50-caliber Barrett rifles and other guns believed headed for the Mexican border, but were ordered to let them go. One distraught agent was often overheard on ATF radios begging and pleading to be allowed to intercept transports. The answer: "Negative. Stand down."

Would the ATF have let these weapons "walk" if they'd known that they were on their way to killing U.S. citizens—like the agent in Arizona? Or do they just believe that Mexican lives are worth less?