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Old 01-23-2011   #41
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Let’s be clear: this will do little to stop the flow of drugs into the United States. It might reduce the violence derived from the narco-trade in Mexico, which is a noble enough goal. There is no good scenario here. The least bad scenario is that it allows for one cartel to consolidate its position and stop the blood flow.

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Originally Posted by JM2008 View Post
The problem with your proposal today is that even if the drug demand went to zero there would still be a huge network of organized crime just across the border but now with no income source. What would you say the fallout of that would be. Do you really think that the Zetas and MS13 would just say Oh well I guess it is back to the factory? I think there would be what you would definitely call a criminal insurgency.
True, there would still be a network of organized crime. But they would be making only a fraction of the profits they once were.

That means less money to bribe and corrupt governments. Less money for small arms & infantry support weapons, and advanced communications equipment. No more jet aircraft, offshore hedge funds, or high price law firms.

It makes it a lot easier to fight organized crime.
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Old 01-24-2011   #42
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How about NOT repeating it the second time as tragedy+farce?

Prohibition fails catastrophically, so we do it again? America sometimes is one big republican caucus.

There is mountains of data demonstrating that alcohol is a more dangerous substance than the ones which are generating the machine gun fire in Mexico. Treating all these substances the same - largely legal and taxed - would make Mexico safer and the United States saner.

Therapy to anybody who can't recognize this astonishingly obvious truth.
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Old 01-24-2011   #43
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We definitely have to take a major step that goes after US Demand for illegal drugs in some smart new way. Moral or law enforcement band aids are nice, expensive, and inadequate.

In working the STOP program in Portland I spent a lot of time with drug users. Most aren't really "addicts" (but that title sure makes just one more convenient excuse to rationalize their destructive behavior) , they just like it and see no reason to stop (just yet). Few ride these problems all the way into the ground, but most all rationalize away all of the incremental negative impacts on their health, their finances, their work, their relationships with friends and family, etc. They sure as hell don't worry about how their small purchases impact the stability of Mexico.

My approach is mix or a two "Unacceptable" approaches. One is too liberal, and the other is too conservative. Neither works on its own, but I think together they would take tremendous pressure off of Mexico's government as well as our own tax payers and law enforcement/corrections communities

Too Liberal: Legalize all drugs. Remove the illegal market. Even pure poison like Meth. Put a warning label from hell that truly describes how that #### will kill you in a matter of months, with a mandatory counseling with current and former users before you get your prescription to buy the legal, taxed, safe as possible product.

Too Conservative: Create a list of jobs and professions that are deemed as too important to the public welfare to be held by drug users and require no drug use with mandatory testing as a condition of employment. Cab drivers to Doctors and a whole lot in between. Perhaps a three strikes for some drugs, one strike for others; but in the end one is simply fired and banned from holding any of the listed jobs until going through a year-long program of rehab, treatment, drug tests, counseling, etc. Upon successful completion one could get their ticket back to the banned list; but perhaps some professional licensees would take more or would not be eligible for redemption (surgeon, airline pilot, etc).

Some principles/concepts at work in my thinking on this is:
1. Never create a rule one is either unable or unwilling to enforce.
2. To effectively impact any supply and demand situation one has to focus on demand.
3. Coupling any high demand situation with illegality will breed organized crime and violence.
4. U.S. politicians lack the moral courage (as a whole) to take on the tough issues they know they must tackle if it will affect them personally, or their party. A bill equally offensive and acceptable to both parties allows them to share the blame and credit equally across the aisle.
5. Never create a punishment system that punishes the taxpayer as much as it does your target audience.
6. Separation of church and state. We argue morality as the reason for not addressing a problem that creates so many greater moral problems in its current uncontrolled, illegal status. Don't be a hypocrite and hide behind the church to avoid making smart, hard decisions.
7. Put the cost and consequences upon the party that benefits most. You want to use drugs? That's your call, but you won't have a very good job, and the tax revenues from your purchases will fund the programs that will help you and regulate your usage as well.

As to any immediate relief to Mexico? Just announcing that we are going to finally take our role in their problem serious would provide a major morale boost to the good guys (and also put the bad guys on notice that things are getting ready to change). Otherwise, I would approach it much as we do our operations in the Philippines (except with better funding than we've ever given that neglected theater) in terms of ISR and intel support, training, etc. Sending thousands of Americans to Mexico to hunt for senior leadership of drug cartels formed to fill American demand would be an entirely foreseeable disaster. Beside, even more than in insurgency and terrorist operations, new leadership will always emerge to take those top of the heap big money jobs.
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Last edited by Bob's World; 01-24-2011 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 01-24-2011   #44
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Default The Smugglers Blues

Smugglers Blues by Glenn Frey...... read the comment by a former South American Police Detective.


Therse's trouble on the streets tonight,
I can feel it in my bones.
I had a premonition,
That he should not go alone.
I knew the gun was loaded,
But I didn't think he'd kill.
Everything exploded,
And the blood began to spill.
So baby, here's your ticket,
Put the suitcase in your hand.
Here's a little money now,
Do it just the way we planned.
You be cool for twenty hours
And I'll pay you twenty grand.
I'm sorry it went down like this,
And someone had to lose,
It's the nature of the business,
It's the smuggler's blues.
Smuggler's Blues

The sailors and pilots,
The soldiers and the law,
The pay offs and the rip offs,
And the things nobody saw.
No matter if it's heroin, cocaine, or hash,
You've got to carry weapons
Cause you always carry cash.
There's lots of shady characters,
Lots of dirty deals.
Ev'ry name's an alias
In case somebody squeals.
It's the lure of easy money,
It's gotta very strong appeal.

Perhaps you'd understand it better
Standin' in my shoes,
It's the ultimate enticement,
It's the smuggler's blues,
Smuggler's blues.

See it in the headlines,
You hear it ev'ry day.
They say they're gonna stop it,
But it doesn't go away.
They move it through Miami, sell it in L.A.,
They hide it up in Telluride,
I mean it's here to stay.
It's propping up the governments in Colombia and Peru,
You ask any D.E.A. man,
He'll say There's nothin' we can do,
From the office of the President,
Right down to me and you, me and you.

It's a losing proposition,
But one you can't refuse.
It's the politics of contraband,
It's the smuggler's blues,
Smuggler's blues.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
State of Affairs | Reviewer: Gino Suarez | 11/22/10

I can totally relate to this song from every angle and words. A former south american police detective. When this song first came out in the mid-80s I enjoyed its tune and lyrics as well as the Miami Vice show - mainly because of the irony of it all. It's all True. Reality is stranger than fiction. It's a classic ! unfortunately things have not changed since that time...!
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Old 01-24-2011   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl View Post
"Mandatory counseling/therapy for a significant portion of the population" is only slightly less objectionable. The phrase implies forcing people who haven't committed a crime, (correct me if I'm wrong, that is how I am interpreting it) into a status as medically deviant or deficient, then coercing them into a different mode of behavior. The possibilities for political abuse of this arrangement are beyond imagination.
I specifically have in mind young females having children at 15/16/17, etc., who refuse to give up children for adoption. We let people who we wouldn't allow into any other position of resposibility to make choices for other human beings that they have no business making.

Bringing a child into that environment constitutes a crime, in my opinion.

Quote:
There is a precedent in American history for dealing with this sort of problem. In the 1820s Americans drank about 4 gallons of 200 proof alcohol per capita per year. About 20 years later, it was half of that. The reduction was done by moral suasion, not government intervention.
I think there are some issues with using that statistic. You're implying that if we just make something unpopular that the demand will decrease. You have major hurdles to overcome first -- first, decreasing its popularity enough in media and in public opinion to turn the tide towards popular hostility; second, reducing the compulsion of addicted individuals to gravitate towards these methods of coping with their lives.

I don't see a way of slowing the momentum this process has in our society without profound changes in how we regulate reproduction.
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Old 01-24-2011   #46
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Default Only 200 gallons?

Buncha wimps...

That's what gave many those families a start and in places along way from Kentucky -- the distilling or selling of illegal booze. Now it's just the fact that 'better living through chemistry' entails products other than alcohol.
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Old 01-24-2011   #47
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Ken:

The statistic was 4 gallons of pure alcohol consumed per every man, woman, child and infant in the country. That is a lot of booze.
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Last edited by carl; 01-24-2011 at 08:34 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-24-2011   #48
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Originally Posted by IntelTrooper View Post
I specifically have in mind young females having children at 15/16/17, etc., who refuse to give up children for adoption. We let people who we wouldn't allow into any other position of resposibility to make choices for other human beings that they have no business making.
Young girls of that age are minor children, in the custody of their parents. There would probably be some legal difficulties there.

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Originally Posted by IntelTrooper View Post
I think there are some issues with using that statistic. You're implying that if we just make something unpopular that the demand will decrease. You have major hurdles to overcome first -- first, decreasing its popularity enough in media and in public opinion to turn the tide towards popular hostility; second, reducing the compulsion of addicted individuals to gravitate towards these methods of coping with their lives.
It was done in the past by the Americans, and it was done without government intervention. The difficulties you mentioned were overcome and group behavior was radically changed in just 2 decades. If they could do it, we can do it.

We just have to make up our minds to do it. I would suggest a first step would be to stop looking at users with so much sympathy. People like sympathy. If users were widely viewed as weak, stupid and shamed for being unable to fulfill their responsibilities toward man and God, that would help.

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Originally Posted by IntelTrooper View Post
I don't see a way of slowing the momentum this process has in our society without profound changes in how we regulate reproduction.
IntelTrooper, I wish not to offend you but what you propose is monstrous. To implement you suggestion would require a cultural change so profound that it would be far more destructive to our way of life than the thing you are trying to control.
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Old 01-24-2011   #49
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Talking Okay, that's a little over a month's worth back in my prime...

Quote:
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The statistic was 4 gallons of pure alcohol consumed per every man, woman child and infant in the country. That is a lot of booze.
Seriously, yes it is. However, given unhealthy water, people tended to drink more alcohol. Add in how rough life was then and while it is indeed a lot of booze, it's at least somewhat understandable. Consumption fifty years ago was considerably greater than it is today. Everything goes in cycles...

That includes alcohol. And drugs. And Families...
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Old 01-24-2011   #50
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Young girls of that age are minor children, in the custody of their parents. There would probably be some legal difficulties there.
Let's say at the age of 16 I shoot someone, does my minor status prevent the government from jailing and punishing me?

Quote:
It was done in the past by the Americans, and it was done without government intervention. The difficulties you mentioned were overcome and group behavior was radically changed in just 2 decades. If they could do it, we can do it.
Ability to do something and likeliness to do it are two entirely different things.

Quote:
We just have to make up our minds to do it. I would suggest a first step would be to stop looking at users with so much sympathy. People like sympathy. If users were widely viewed as weak, stupid and shamed for being unable to fulfill their responsibilities toward man and God, that would help.
Users are almost always compensating for profound emotional dysfunction caused by early childhood trauma. If we had more stable family units, this might be a reasonable approach, but we don't. Now we have to treat victimization.

Quote:
IntelTrooper, I wish not to offend you but what you propose is monstrous. To implement you suggestion would require a cultural change so profound that it would be far more destructive to our way of life than the thing you are trying to control.
I'm not offended.

But mark my words, this situation will not improve unless we enact some kind of policy like this.
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Last edited by IntelTrooper; 01-24-2011 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 01-30-2011   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 91bravojoe View Post
How about NOT repeating it the second time as tragedy+farce?

Prohibition fails catastrophically, so we do it again? America sometimes is one big republican caucus.

There is mountains of data demonstrating that alcohol is a more dangerous substance than the ones which are generating the machine gun fire in Mexico. Treating all these substances the same - largely legal and taxed - would make Mexico safer and the United States saner.

Therapy to anybody who can't recognize this astonishingly obvious truth.
Or Democratic caucus.
To wit
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...030900832.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/06/business/06smoke.html

If we legalize pot (one of the cartels biggest cash crops), how does a certain party north of the border reconcile that with their crusade against tobacco????

Seriously.
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Old 02-10-2011   #52
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Default Homebuilt Submarine magazines cover story

Here is a link to a Houston Chronicle story (courtesy of Information Dissemination) about a narco submarine found in Ecuador. This is a true submarine that can dive to 50 feet and make 20 knots underwater. The story includes a photo. This thing is really cool with a teardrop shaped hull and twin shrouded screws. If there were a Homebuilt Subs magazine, this thing would be the boat of the year.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...e/7415756.html


(I hope this is the right place to put this.)
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Old 03-18-2011   #53
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Default The Story of an American Military Advisor and Colombian Drug War

The Story of an American Military Advisor and Colombian Drug War

Entry Excerpt:

Book Announcement: East of the Orteguaza: The Story of an American Military Advisor and Colombian Drug War by Victor M. Roselló, Colonel, USA, Ret. Also available as a Kindle edition and discussed on Facebook.

As stated in the subtitle, East of the Orteguaza is the story of an American military advisor and the Colombian drug war. The book’s title is a geographic reference to an actual place in time…a military base that was at the center of the drug war, deep inside the jungles of southern Colombia…and a place where the author lived and worked.

Tres Esquinas is the name of this military base. In Spanish it means three corners, or the junction where two rivers, the Orteguaza and the Caquetá flow together to create one main river. The Río Orteguaza is a tributary of the Río Caquetá and it runs parallel and west of the base...hence, the title, East of the Orteguaza. Orteguaza is believed to be one of many names derived from the native indigenous groups of this Amazonian region, such as the Tukano, Koreguaje, or Huitoto. Historical research reveals that in 1635, Franciscan missionaries may have been the first to Hispanicize the name Orteguaza from the name of the Oyoguaja tribe of the Tukano Family. Still another conjecture is that Orteguaza originated from the native indigenous word Ocoguaje, which literally means “people of the water.”

This is a story steeped in fact and inspired by true events as experienced by the author while assigned to a counterdrug base near the Ecuadoran/Peruvian border in the drug infested Putumayo and Caquetá region of southern Colombia.

More importantly, this is the story of a quiet war; a war so quiet that it rarely catches the attention of the news media….despite the presence of hundreds of US military advisors in Colombia. It focuses on the many varied facets of the US military advisory mission in the jungles, valleys, plains, and mountainous regions of Colombia in support of the Colombian Armed Forces…and their quiet war.

About the Author: Victor M. Roselló is a retired US Army Colonel, intelligence officer, and Latin America Foreign Area Officer. During his 30 year career he served as a military advisor to the Salvadoran and Colombian Armed Forces and combat parachuted into Panama with the 82nd Airborne Division during the 1989 invasion. An Army Ranger and Master Parachutist, he graduated from the US Army Command and General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Studies, and the US Army War College. He has a Master of Arts degree in Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies from the University of Chicago.

Purchase East of the Orteguaza: The Story of an American Military Advisor and Colombian Drug War at Amazon.



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Old 08-29-2011   #54
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Default Drugs Central: Al Jazeera on the war on drugs

hat tip to KoW for this pointer, if a little surprising! David Ucko writes:
Quote:
Over the last month or so, al-Jazeera have featured a series of reports and on the role of the drugs trade in the Americas. For those interested in the relation between drugs, crime and political instability, the on-the-ground reporting and close access to growers, smugglers and ordinary residents affected by the drugs trade all make for interesting and disconcerting viewing. The series as a whole is called Drugs Central and you can find all of the relevant material and videos here. I would in particular recommend scrolling to the bottom of the page, where they have for some reason hidden all of the truly good stuff: 30-minute episodes of Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines programme, providing in-depth investigations of particular problems relating to the drugs trade.
Nearing the end:
Quote:
All of the videos in this series are interesting and well worth watching, but the longer programmes are probably the most valuable parts of the series. The interviews are also interesting: witness the brutally honest and pragmatic suggestion by Jorge Castaneda, the former foreign minister of Mexico, that all drugs be legalised so as to undercut the power of the gangs that profit from their control over the market.
Link to KoW:http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2011/08/dru...-war-on-drugs/

There are numerous threads on the drugs issue and their regional, international impact. Maybe time for some merging?
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Old 01-03-2012   #55
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Default 2011 Trends in Latin America: Shifting Violence

http://www.latintelligence.com/2011/...ting-violence/

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Latin America has the ignominious distinction of being one of most violent regions in world. Though not known for its wars or even (at least violent) border disputes, homicide rates average nearly 20 per 100,000 people. Central and South America are among the most murderous regions worldwide, behind only Southern Africa. Six of the ten most violent nations in the world are in Latin America, with Honduras and El Salvador claiming the number one and two spots. The biggest headline-grabber this last year has been Mexico, which counted some 12,000 deaths in 2011 and over 40,000 drug related homicides since the start of President Calderns term (non-official estimates put these numbers even higher). Though Mexico is not the most violent in per capita terms, this escalation has deeply impacted the country.
Highlights are mine.
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Old 01-03-2012   #56
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Default La Salvatrucha.

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Quote:
Six of the ten most violent nations in the world are in Latin America, with Honduras and El Salvador claiming the number one and two spots.
Highlights are mine.
I remember first learning about Salvadoran involvement in human trafficking from Central America to the States while at the Guatemalan/Chiapan border in 1995. Last winter I ate at a place in Woodbridge which might just have been a Mara Salvatrucha laundry. It’s a growth industry, I guess.
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Old 03-02-2012   #57
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Default OAS: Drug Cartels Threaten Latin American Democracy

OAS: Drug Cartels Threaten Latin American Democracy

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Old 03-06-2012   #58
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Default From Drug Wars to Criminal Insurgency

From Drug Wars to Criminal Insurgency

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Old 03-26-2012   #59
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Homicides in El Salvador Drop, and Questions Arise

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MEXICO CITY — Suddenly, killings have plummeted in El Salvador, one of the most violent countries in Central America and a source of growing worry over gangs and organized crime.

But the possibility that the reduction in violence resulted from a secret deal between the government and gang leaders to halt killings in exchange for better prison conditions has rattled El Salvador’s political establishment and led to various explanations from government leaders.

In countries racked by violence, including Mexico, the notion of negotiating with criminals to curtail violence fills blogs and cocktail chatter but is usually dismissed by government officials.

But a Salvadoran government official and an intelligence agent with knowledge of the discussions, both of whom object to such pacts, said in telephone interviews that a deal was widely discussed by security and intelligence officials in the weeks before gang leaders were moved to less-restrictive prisons.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal from their bosses or the gangs, said a high-ranking colonel — part of a new team of former military officers promising to take on crime — put the idea in motion shortly after arriving at the Public Security and Justice Ministry in November, with the goal of reducing homicides by 30 percent and reaping political gains.

An intelligence report prepared in February and provided by the government official asserts that top members of the ministry “offered, if it is necessary, to make deals or negotiate with subjects who have power inside organized crime structures to reduce homicides.”

There is no dispute that, in an unprecedented move, 30 of the top leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 criminal gangs were transferred on March 8 and 9 from a maximum-security prison, where many had been for over a decade, to prisons with perks including family visits.

In the ensuing days, killings in El Salvador dropped to five a day, and sometimes even fewer, from the typical 14. All told, homicides nationwide dropped to 186 in the first 21 days of March from 411 in January and 402 in February ...
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Old 03-27-2012   #60
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Interesting observation after the quick Google searches (so admittedly the data is not precise, but still should be in the ball park).

El Salvador's population is a little over 6 million, while NYC's population is a little over 8 million.

Murders in El Salvador average around 4,000/per year, while murders in NYC average around 500/per year. NYC's population is 25% greater than El Salvador's. The murder rate in El Salvador is 7 to 8 times greater than NYC. In and of its self I guess it doesn't mean much, but it does put in context. if NYC had the same rate, we would lose as many people in NYC to violence in one year as we lost in Iraq during all of OIF.

Easy to see how a how a government in a relatively poor nation was overcome with this level of violence and decided to negotiate. Is negotiating capitulation or a reasonable response in this case?
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