WH Takes On Mexican Drug Cartels

This June 23, 2010 booking photo provided by the Vigo County Sheriff's Department shows Stephanie Foster, 34. Police say foster forced her way into a western Indiana home at gunpoint and then stabbed a husband and wife in an apparent attempt to kidnap their newborn boy. The man was able to stop the attack and call police to the home. Sheriff Jon Marvel says Foster didn't know the couple she attacked. He said investigators believe Foster was faking a pregnancy and looking for a baby. (AP Photo/Vigo County Sheriff)
The Washington Post leads this morning with word that the Bush administration is on the verge of approving a massive aid package aimed at fighting Mexican drug cartels. The details are a little sketchy, but the Post says it "would be the biggest U.S. anti-narcotics effort abroad since a seven-year, $5 billion program in Colombia." And then the Post says almost nothing about how that program turned out.

Noting that "the Mexican government cringes at comparisons with Colombia," the Post says only that Plan Colombia, which began in 2000 and featured Black Hawk helicopters and crop-dusters to help the Colombian government push back Marxist guerrillas and eradicate drug crops, curbed violence but was criticized for falling "far short in its initial objective of delivering a mortal blow to the cocaine business."

Not-quite-so-mortal blow, meanwhile, continued to be pumped into bathrooms stalls of posh nightclubs throughout the country with astonishing profitability, according to 2005 New York Times story titled "Anti-Drug Gains In Colombia Don't Reduce Flow to U.S." "American and Colombian officials say cocaine remains as available as ever on American streets even after a five-year, $3 billion operation that eradicated millions of acres of coca plants in Colombia," according to the Times. There was one change, though. Purity improved.

They Told Us So

Like an exasperated mother coming to clean up after a failed chemistry experiment she warned her son not to attempt in the first place, the United Nations has agreed to step up its presence in Baghdad for the first time in more than three years after repeated appeals from the Bush administration for help, the Washington Post reports.

"The Bush administration's overtures to the United Nations -- including two visits by Ban to the White House since January -- contrast with the disdain it held for the organization in past years," the Post reminds us. "On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, President Bush predicted that the United Nations would meet the fate of the defunct League of Nations if it failed to confront Saddam Hussein. And the Pentagon sought to exclude the United Nations from any involvement in Iraq's reconstruction."

Due in part to Bush's recent begging, the U.N. presence might grow by as much as 50 percent, and the organization is seeking $130 million to build a "heavily reinforced compound" in Baghdad to house is growing mission.

Impressively, U.N officials quoted in the story refrain from saying "I told you so." Well, almost. Kieren Prendergast, a former British diplomat who served as former secretary general Kofi Annan's top political adviser, couldn't to resist.

"I felt in my old job that the U.N. could have helped prevent some of the more egregious mistakes that were made, but you remember no one was listening to us."

Look Out, Here Comes The Puke Ray

And in the latest dose of news that seems to have leaped out of a comic book and landed on the pages of USA Today, that paper reports on the Homeland Security department's newest toy, a "powerful beam of light that temporarily blinds anyone who looks on it."

Officially known as an LED Incapacitator, the light saber-like device has been dubbed a "puke ray" by one online publication.

"It's like someone shooting off a flashbulb in your face every few seconds," said Bob Lieberman, president of Intelligent Optical, which is developing the devices. "Because of the wavelengths and frequencies we use, there are psychophysical effects – a real disorientation. The reaction can range through vertigo to nausea."

Which sounds fine, except that the Homeland Security department wants it to be "in the hands of thousands of policemen, border agents and National Guardsmen" by 2010, hinting that it planned to solve the immigration problem by blinding the Mexicans into staying on their side of the border. Who needs a wall when you've got a thousands points of nausea-inducing light?

A NOTE TO READERS: The Skinny is now available via e-mail. Click here and follow the directions to register to receive it in your inbox each weekday morning.

  • David Hancock On Google+»

    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.