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Pakistanis Struggle to Survive Worst Disaster in Recent Memory

Aired August 18, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Pakistanis struggle to survive one of the worst disasters in recent memory. But despite weeks of criticism, their embattled president takes another trip abroad. We've seen it before. Think back to U.S. President George W. Bush and Katrina.

So how do you avoid a national crisis turning into a leadership crisis?

On CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.

Well, no one said being a popular leader was easy. But embattled President Zardari seems he's doing himself no favors, absent for much of the disaster engulfing his country.

Tonight, might Pakistan's leader look to the past for some lessons in crisis management?

I'm Becky Anderson with the story out of Pakistan and its connections for you.

Also coming up, a 30 minute special on the global drug trade -- its costs and its consequences. Millions of lives and billions of dollars are at stake as the war on drugs continues.

But is the world fighting a losing battle?

Well, that is up for debate at the bottom of this hour.

And my Twitter question today -- should certain drugs be legalized and does this decriminalization help in the fight against drug abuse?

My personal address is atbeckycnn. I want to hear from you. Log on. Join the conversation and, indeed, join the debate half an hour from now.

Well, a leadership in crisis in Pakistan and a country crying out for help, as floods that engulfed so much of the country have left millions of people in peril. First up tonight, will the people of Pakistan fall victim not just to the high waters, but to a flood of excuses keeping aid away?

Let's kick off with Reza Sayah in Islamabad.



REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.N. Calls Pakistan's floods the worst natural disaster in recent memory. But despite urgent appeals for the world to help the 20 million victims, relief groups say aid has been painfully slow.

Aid workers and analysts say it's impossible to figure out why government and individual donors are not giving to Pakistan the way they've done with other disasters. But they say there could be at least four reasons and they say none is a good excuse. Reason one, the death toll is relatively low for a natural disaster. That creates the impression that Pakistan's floods may not be such a big deal.

MOSHARRAF ZAIDI, POLITICAL ANALYST: That is misleading when we're not able to quantify it in our heads.

MARCUS PRIOR, WFP: The needs here are quite clear enough, that there are many millions of people relying on the international community to step forward.

SAYAH: Reason two, donor fatigue. For years now, Pakistan has been on a seemingly constant campaign to ask for money -- to save its economy, to fight the Taliban, for the 2005 earthquake, the 2009 refugee crisis and now the floods.

ZAIDI: A donor never gets fatigued. I mean, giving, as just as an idea, is not about, you know, sort of I'm fresh and so I'll give. You don't give because you're fresh or flush with cash. You give because of -- because of a sense of humanity.

SAYAH: Reason three, a perception that Pakistan is run by corrupt politicians and the aid won't get to those who need it. This week, Prime Minister Galani insisted all aid would be transparent and relief groups say if you don't want to give to the government, then give to an aid agency you trust.

NEVA KHAN, OXFAM: There are different ways that people can actually give. That doesn't have to be routed through the government if that is a concern people feel.

SAYAH: Finally, reason four, what aid groups call the worst excuse of all -- the perception in the West that Pakistan is just not a good place -- a country filled with extremists and militants.

KHAN: Yes, there is militancy within the country, but, you know, when you take it into proportion, I think that's very small.

ZAIDI: If the only time you see the word Pakistan is sandwiched between two evil words, words that make you feel bad, make you feel insecure, make you worry about your children and their future, how -- how are people supposed to feel, you know, energetic about wanting to -- to help this country?

SAYAH (on camera): Analysts say the consequences of not helping Pakistan could be costly. In the short run, more people will go hungry, get sick, maybe lose their lives. In the long run, a nation that's critical in the fight against extremism may face another political crisis that could further destabilize the region.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.


ANDERSON: Well, you heard Reza mention one reason for the slow aid, the image of Pakistan's government as being corrupt and out of touch. Well, President Asif Ali Zardari is facing renewed criticism over his handling of the disaster. And the fact that he was not in Pakistan today may only heighten that criticism.

Well, he's been in Black Sea resort of Sochi at a summit with fellow presidents of Russia, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Well, topping their agenda -- the wars on terrorism and drugs. Zardari had already been under scrutiny for traveling to Europe two weeks ago, when the floods first struck, and for not going to the flood zone first.

Well, Zardari's supporters say the criticism is unfair and he has been involved, they say, from the start in relief efforts. Other world leaders have also been lambasted, don't forget. For their handling of crisis situations. Remember back to former U.S. President George W. Bush, sharply criticized for what many saw as a sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Images of storm victims pleading for help on rooftops in flooded New Orleans shocked the country.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi came under fire for his response when an earthquake ripped through a small town. That was last year, of course. Nearly 300 people were killed. Thousands of homes were destroyed. Berlusconi told a reporter that homeless survivors should see it as a, quote, "weekend of camping."

And in August of last year, Taiwan's president lost a lot of public support over his response to Typhoon Morakot. Bodyguards reportedly had to protect him from angry storm survivors. He ended up apologizing profusely, saying the government could have done a better and faster job.

Let's get back to Pakistan, shall we, and President Zardari.

Is the criticism being leveled at him fair?

Let's bring one of our big thinkers and CONNECT THE WORLD panelist for you, Gordon Chang, for you out of New York this evening.

I guess we should rate him on a -- on a -- on a card one to 10.

What would you give him?

GORDON CHANG, CONNECT THE WORLD PANELIST: Well, a 10 is supposed to be the highest?

You know, maybe a two. But that would be generous.

ANDERSON: Are you saying he's done a terrible -- a lousy job?

I mean, you know, he's -- his -- his leadership was, for all intents and purposes, fairly iffy before these floods.

Are you suggesting that this is a leadership in crisis, would you?

CHANG: You know, certainly. When he was in Europe, American officials had to plead with Zardari to go back to his country. You know, what he was doing was not only politically inconsiderate, but also against every humanitarian instinct. You know, if it were his son who was in a car accident or whatever, of course he would have rushed to the bedside. You know, Zardari staying in Europe in relative luxury while his people were suffering, it's just incomprehensible. And now going to Russia, I mean it's just -- it's just mind-boggling.

ANDERSON: Gordon, every disaster is met with a complaint about how it's managed. And certainly Katrina was.

This was a government, at the time, that was doing fairly well in the eyes of the people, wasn't it?

CHANG: Yes, Katrina was the one incident, though, that crystallized people's concern about the Bush administration. All -- before that, many Americans were concerned about the war in Iraq and by various instances of corruption among minor administration officials, but it crystallized at the moment of Katrina. That's when everyone said I had enough.

The problem with Zardari is that he's had a whole history of really failing at leading Pakistan. And now, with his response to the floods, it is really going to ruin whatever chances that he had left to be an effective leader of Pakistan.

ANDERSON: Gordon, what lessons might he learn from other world leaders?

CHANG: Well, you know, he can see other leaders to adjust. So, for instance, just take my president, President Obama, after the Gulf oil spill, he said everyone should go to Florida, to the Gulf Coast to vacation. And then he went to Maine in the middle of last month. Now, on Sunday, he actually went to the Gulf Coast, went swimming with one of his daughters. Really, that is an adjustment. That's saying to the American people, I'm sorry for what I did. Zardari should do the same thing. And he shouldn't leave his country until every last person has been taken care of.

ANDERSON: Chinese leaders are often insecure domestically, I think I'm right in saying, but -- but react certainly well to national disasters.

Am I right?

CHANG: Oh, you're absolutely right. And the best example of that is China, where you have the Communist party very concerned about its position at home. Its president, Hu Jintao, is enigmatic and not personable, very bland. But the premier, Wen Jiabao, has really taken upon his shoulders to go to every single disaster in China for the last couple of years. And there have been a lot of them.

He's gotten the reputation as being empathetic, being the crying premier, being the one who does really -- really feel for the Chinese people. And that's worked very well for the politburo standing committee, to have Wen Jiabao be the person going to all of these problems.

ANDERSON: So if Zardari were to look around the world and say my goodness, where am I going to go to get some sort of advice or -- or some sort of sense of how to get this right, where would he go?

CHANG: Well, I think that he really needs to just stay at home. He doesn't really need advice about getting this right, he just needs to pay attention. You know, aid donors didn't give to Pakistan because the Pakistani government took days to figure out what it needed. That was just really -- just inexplicable. I mean Pakistan should have been at -- the government should have been on top of this from the very moment, telling the United States, telling other countries what they needed.

Instead, they did nothing. And so, therefore, the donors couldn't really respond.

ANDERSON: Gordon Chang, as ever, it's an absolute pleasure.

We thank you for joining us.

And lest we forget, there are 20 million people affected by the floods in Pakistan. The area submerged something like the area of Italy. Just consider that so the situation continues and the Pakistani president, well, he's not there at the moment. We told you how Zardari has been in Russia today at a special summit on the global drug trade.

At the bottom of the hour, we're devoting a full 30 minutes to the international drug war -- the winners, the losers and why the consequences matter for you and me.

And we've been hearing from you on our blog about what should be done to win the war on drugs.

Alex in Portland -- Portsmouth, England says he disagrees with cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana being legal: "They are merely an escape for people who don't want to face reality."

But Erma Jane Davis in Billings, Montana says: "Listen, drugs should be decriminalized. This would stop the problems the U.S. and Mexico have got along the border."

A lot more of you are writing in and we'd like to hear from more and more of you. Get to Get your voice heard. The debate will start about 20 minutes from now and we'll use as many of your comments and questions as we can.

And we'll move on at this point.

A country founded on religious freedom now finds itself fiercely dividend over plans for an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero. Coming up, we're going to ask whether it's a part of a bigger trend of what some perceive as a backlash against Islam in the Western world.


ANDERSON: First, some European countries took steps to restrict certain symbols of Islam. Now, fierce pushback in the United States over a proposed mosque near Ground Zero and we've seen the rise of Islamophobia in the Western world.

Well, let's start this part of the show in New York with CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight months ago, the mosque and Islamic community center planned for nearby Ground Zero was hardly on the public radar. In fact, whatever publicity it was getting appeared positive, even from conservatives.

December 21, 2009, FOX News talks with Daisy Khan, the wife of the mosque's imam.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: The question is, I can't find many people who really have a problem with it.


KAYE: But around that same time, rumblings of outrage led by right- wing anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller.

In May of this year, Geller titled her blog "Monster Mosque Pushes Ahead in Shadow of World Trade Center Islamic Death and Destruction." She called it -- quote, "Islamic domination."

(on camera): A week later, the fires stoked by Geller were igniting mainstream media. On May 13, the "New York Post" columnist, Andrea Peyser, picked up on Geller's outrage and wrote a column she titled "Mosque Madness at Ground Zero." She described it as a, quote, "swift kick in the teeth." says this is the first time a newspaper labeled the project as wrong and suspect.

(voice-over): Other media picked up on that. Suddenly, the project was being referred to as the Ground Zero Mosque, even though the site is two blocks away from Ground Zero and is as much a community center as a mosque.

May 16, the conservative "Washington Examiner" ran the headline, "A Mosque to Mock 9/11's Victims and Families." "The New York Post" assigned a team of reporters to cover the daily developments. The story was on everyone's radar.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And the controversy is flaring.



DIANE SAWYER, HOST, "WORLD NEWS": A controversial decision has been made to allow a mosque to be built in the shadow of Ground Zero.


KAYE: By July, it had become a hot political issue. Sarah Palin was tweeting about it. July 18: "Peace-seeking Muslims, please understand, Ground Zero Mosque is unnecessary provocation. It stabs hearts. Please reject it in interest of healing."

A month or so later, August 13, President Obama weighed in with support.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.

KAYE: And this e-mail to me from Daisy Khan, the imam's wife, promising they are committed to peace: "We have lived and worked and prayed in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood for almost 30 years. We feel it is our honor and responsibility to help rebuild the community, while we condemn any sort of extremism, terrorism or intolerance" -- the very issues at the heart of the matter.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


ANDERSON: All right, well you've heard Randi's report there. The debate in the United States then follows controversial steps to limit Islamic symbols in Europe. You may remember the lower house of the French parliament voted just last month to ban the public wearing of veils that cover a woman's face, including the burka. Well, the French Senate is expected to take up the measure next month.

Belgium's lower house has approved a similar ban. And a recent public opinion poll found strong support for such legislation in Spain, in Britain and in Germany, amongst other European countries.

Well, critics argue such bans restrict religious freedom. But proponents say they're actually standing up for women's rights.

And voters in Switzerland, meantime, defied their own government's wishing, approving a referendum that bans the construction of minarets -- the prayer towers on mosques. Well, that referendum required an amendment to the Swiss constitution that guarantees freedom of religion.

Joining the dots for you on a story out of New York this evening.


I'm Becky Anderson.

After the break, nature's ideas and human technology take flight together -- our Earth Frontiers special continues with a look at what's known as biomimicry and what aviation scientists are learning from the best in the business.


ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

Now, preservation, protection, progress -- all this week and next, we are taking you around the globe to some of the most incredible places on earth. And it's the unseen and the unexplored in some of the world's biodiversity hot spots that we want to show you. And we are looking at what we can learn, how we can adapt and the science behind nature's wonders, effectively.

Monday, we were in Ecuador's Yasuni National Park. The country's government there is offering the world a trade -- the one billion barrels of untapped crude beneath the park, they say, will stay off limits if developed nations are willing to pay compensation.

Well, then we toured Yusufeli in Turkey's Katchcar Mountains, where the country's economic drive for clean energy may be putting its fragile environment at risk.

Well, tonight, we are soaring high with bio-inspiration or bio- mimicry. From the wingtips of an eagle to the thorax of a dragonfly, we're going to take a look at how scientists are now applying the benefits of billions of years of evolution.


OLIVIER CALDARA, AVIATION ENGINEER & INVENTOR: Many tricks of biomimicry. But for the -- the gliders, we have a lot to -- to learn from those.

ANDERSON: (voice-over): Biomimicry -- the science of replicating the little details which nature has perfected over billions of years of evolution. For the French, perfecting flight is about learning from the experts.

CALDARA: Some time ago, I -- I had some flight in gliders. Then because I'm an aviation engineer, I had in mind to -- to build my own and to design my own, but with some -- some features from -- from birds, because I -- I know that evolution made very, very efficient wings. First, one feature under this wing is a winglet. And normal part glider is like this at the -- at the tip of the wing and mine is like this it makes more wing span. So it's life better. For the same area, you have a better glider.

And the second feature of birds, I -- I do the ability to reduce area just to fly faster and to sink a lot, not to be set in the -- the clouds. Then, the sinking of the wings is much better and the speed, also. And it flaps a little bit like -- like birds. Yes.

ANDERSON: Big aviation companies are following the same trend.

MICHEL DE GLINIASTY, GENERAL SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR, ONERA: It is a -- that's where the aviation led the design, which now manufactured the Falcon 70, which features three engines, which has a beautiful slide by wire and also winglets at the tip of the wings. The winglets are very AUDIBLE) the aviation of eagles. Eagles adapt and reform their wing tips through different conditions. And then we understood that traditionally such designs reduced the drag in the background. And then it reduces your consumption.

ANDERSON: Up in the Alps, scientists in French aerospace labs are being inspired by dragonflies.

GLINIASTY: We thought that it was better to try to mimic insects, because when you look at the wing of an insect, the wing is nearly inert. All the living parts are within the thorax, which is very easier to handle with. This is a thorax. And I will show you how it works. And these are the eyes, which are, in fact, cameras.

ANDERSON: Here, the latest drone technology is being developed -- unmanned devices which can fly.

GLINIASTY: The drones, it's -- it's very exciting. It's very exciting, of course, because technologically, lots of challenges. And you can see here, the three beams, which allows a twist of the wing, which is totally bio-inspired.

ANDERSON: Scientists here acknowledge that nature has perfected its own design solutions across time.

GLINIASTY: Billions of years of evolution lead to a very complicated biological system. Biomimicry, you cannot really reproduce nature, but there is one thing you can do, it's try to reproduce some natural phenomenon with human technologies.


ANDERSON: Biomimicry -- growing ideas from the natural world.

Well, we've been looking at engineers in France using design by nature to create more intelligent materials and products.

Well, tomorrow, we're going to be in Madagascar, where scientists are cataloguing the DNA of every form of life in the ocean. The census of marine life is a snapshot of biodiversity in the sea, working out what once lived, lives now and may live in the future. Well, that's for you tomorrow.

Ahead tonight, our special coverage of the global drug trade. We're going to tell you who's suffering, who's profiting and examine ways to combat drug trafficking, including the controversial prospect of legalizing illicit drugs across the border. That's all in the next half hour.

Stay right there.



It's nearly half past nine in London.

I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, the global drug addiction -- over the next half hour, we're going to investigate this insidious trade in a CONNECT THE WORLD special. We're going to take you around the globe, from Afghanistan, where a new generation of addicts are emerging, to Mexico, where drug-related violence is even reaching into the churches. A panel of experts for you to help us explore the issues, the shifting trends, the victims, the efforts to find a solution. This is our special on drugs, up next.

That is ahead in the next 30 minutes.

First, I want to get you a very quick check of the headlines this hour.

The United Nations is once again making an urgent plea for help in Pakistan, saying millions of lives hang in the balance. The UN has received less than half of the $460 million needed for emergency relief funds. More than two weeks after the flooding disaster, millions of hungry and homeless people are still without aid. Nearly 1500 people have died.

The war on drugs was a main topic as the presidents of Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan met in Sochi in Russia. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said drug trafficking from Afghanistan is one of his top concerns. He told his counterparts they must work together to stop it.

A Netherlands city is taking steps to crack down on recreational drug use. Officials in Maastricht are pushing a law that would make such drug use legal only for Netherlands citizens. As many as two million foreign tourists enter the border city each year to buy marijuana legally.

Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD and a special half hour on the global drug trade, the tragedy of addiction, the huge toll in human lives, and the efforts to crack down on trafficking that have fielded, well, it's got to be said, mixed success.

My special panel to debate the issues tonight, joining me out of the US, Bob Stutman is a former agent with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, and Steve Rolles is the head of research at Transform Drug Policy Foundation here in the UK, favoring the legalization of all drugs. Gents, we thank you for being here. I want you to hold on with me for just a few minutes.

First up, let's get you a look at the scope of illicit drug use around the world. A United Nations study found between 155 and 250 million people used an illicit substance at least once in 2008. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, followed by amphetamines, cocaine, and opiates.

And then, there are the so-called problem drug users, up to 38 million of them inject drugs or are considered dependent. They accounted for 10 to 15 percent of all drug users in 2008.

Afghanistan is flashpoint for the global drug problem. The numbers tell the story. The country produces 89 percent of the world's opiates. Drugs there are cheap and they are easy to find. We're going to begin this special coverage, then, in the Afghan capital, Kabul where, as Jill Dougherty found, a new generation of addicts is taking shape.


JILL DOUGHTERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are some of the newest victims of Afghanistan's drug epidemic. Women and children. We met some of them in this government treatment center in Kabul, funded by the US State Department. These 18 women don't want us to see their faces. They and some of their infants are addicted to heroine and opium.

The mothers smoked it and blew smoke on their babies to calm them down when they cried. Children as young as two are hooked. The youngest drug- addicted group ever identified worldwide, according to the State Department. There are no established protocols for treating children this young.

Twenty-two-year-old Zanab (ph) got hooked when she and her husband were refugees in Iran.

DOUGHTERTY (on camera): Tell me about what happened to you.

DOUGHTERTY (voice-over): "My husband got me addicted," she says. "When I was feeling pain or had a cough, I would smoke."

It's a story counselors are hearing more and more. The UN estimates there are close to a million drug users in Afghanistan, more than seven percent of the population. Yet, there are only 40 residential drug treatment centers in the entire country, helping a little more than 10,000 users per year.

"When they're addicted, they don't realize the danger of narcotics," this doctor says. "But when our counselors and social workers go into the community, they educate people about this and then they come here voluntarily."

DOUGHTERTY (on camera): And what do you hope when you finish treatment? What will happen to you when you go home?

DOUGHTERTY (voice-over): Zanab (ph) tells me she is feeling better. She won't go back to smoking heroine, Zanab (ph) says. She wants to start a new and better life. Jill Dougherty, CNN, Kabul.


ANDERSON: In Afghanistan, of course. According to the UN office on drugs and crime, most of the drug treatment across Europe and Asia is for opiates, like heroine. In Africa and Australia, the main problem is cannabis or marijuana. And both North and in South America, it is cocaine.

Let's bring in our CONNECT THE WORLD panelists tonight, Bob and Steve. I'm going to start with you, Steve. You are all for legalizing or decriminalizing drugs. Why? When you see the face of drug abuse in Afghanistan, the human and -- human face and cost is dreadful.

STEVE ROLLES, HEAD OF RESEARCH, TRANSFORM DRUG POLICY: Obviously, there are very serious issues associated with drug misuse here and around the world. But we think those are primarily a public health problem and they need a public health response.

Historically, the response has been driven by a punitive, prohibitionist, criminal justice-driven response. And if you look at the history of the last 30, 40 years, it seems that that has failed. It hasn't reduced drug misuse. Things seem to be getting worse.

And arguably, it has made things worse and created all these problems associated with the illegal market. So we think we need to be looking at the alternatives.

ANDERSON: Right. Which is legalization or decriminalization. Fair?

ROLLES: Yes. And with regulated markets and a shift away from punitive responses to treatment, education, prevention, public health responses that we know can work.

ANDERSON: I'm wondering why you don't want to use the "L" and the "D" word. Anyway, I'm going to come back to you on that.

You say that -- you're not -- certainly not calling for drug legislation there in the States, are you? Bob?

BOB STUTMAN, FORMER AGENT, DEA: No, I don't think so. And Steve brought up a couple of interesting points, some of which I can agree with. We clearly need more treatment, both in Europe, Asia, and the United States. We clearly need better education.

He's correct, we need to treat this on the user side as a public health problem. That's how we should have treated it, and that's how we should treat it. We should not throw drug users in prison for drug use. That's a foolish policy response.

However, that is different than saying we would give any drug to any person who wanted it for any reason. We know if we legalize or decriminalize drugs, we will have far more users. California is voting in a month on whether or not to legalize cannabis.

A study by the Rand Corporation, who is respected across the board, both pro and anti, said if marijuana is legalized in California, the price will go down by 80 percent and the number of users will go up at least 100 percent.

So, I guess the trade-off would not be right. I think I am somewhere between where my friend Steve is and the policy in many countries.

ANDERSON: Legalizing drugs leads to a huge increase in drug users, Steve? --

STUTMAN: We need to change the policy of legalization --

ANDERSON: Steve, sorry. Sorry, Bob.

ROLLES: I don't think the evidence suggests that. If you compare the policies in different countries, you see very huge difference in terms of the harshness of enforcement and the punitiveness of sanctions. And yet, there's no clear link between that punitiveness and levels of use.

So you have countries like the US that are very punitive and put a lot of -- have very harsh sanctions but have very high levels of use. And then you have other countries in Europe that have relatively liberal policies but have very low levels of use. So the Netherlands, for example, has lower levels of cannabis use than the US, but cannabis is to all intents and purposes legal. It's available from licenses premises to adults in the Netherlands.

So, I don't think the evidence really stacks up, and I don't think the key drivers of drug use are to do with drug policy and punishments. They seem to be driven more by cultural, economic, and social variables.

ANDERSON: And that's what we're going to -- debate as we move through the show. We have a lot to get to. I just want to read out one comment that did come into the blog. It says, "I love the simplistic arguments of people like Steve. It's also about the lives of individuals and their families and the trauma of drug abuse that they suffer. What are his answers for these people, or does he just leave them to wallow in their vomit?"

I'm going to let you address that as we go through the show. Just one of our viewers, Warwick Murphy, who's written in. We are going to push on. I've got a lot to get through.

Next, we're going to get one country most affected by this scourge, and that is Mexico. The human toll from drug-related violence in the country is staggering. The cartels know no bounds. Even the churches are not immune, and the battle to crack down on the trade is far from over. Here's what the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had to say about the fight.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNTED STATES: Our demand for drugs is what motivates these drug gangs. If they didn't think they were going to make a bunch of money across the border, they'd go into another line of work.



ANDERSON: It seems the world's cocaine habit is shifting. In the past decade, demand for the drug has slipped in the United States, but doubled in Europe. And maybe surprisingly, the country with the biggest cocaine addiction is Scotland. 3.7 percent of its adult population used the drug last year.

Welcome back to a special CONNECT THE WORLD. Tonight, we're focusing on the global problem of drugs, from source to sale, from their victims and changing trends, to the question of how to solve what has become a worldwide addiction, it seems. We've got a panel of experts here to help us explore the issue. Bob Stutman is in the States, Steve Rolles is here with me in the studio. We're going to talk to them in just a moment.

First up, drugs are a problem on every continent, and we are taking a look at some of the countries worst affected by what has become an epidemic. We began in Kabul, where women and kids are among the newest group of addicts. Well, now we're going to take you to Mexico, where the drug cartels know no bounds. As Rafael Romo explains, even the church is caught in the crossfire.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As one of the highest officials in the Mexican Catholic Church, Monsignor Victor Rodriguez has been receiving the alarming reports from all over Mexico. His priests are telling him they are being constantly threatened, extorted, and abused by drug traffickers.

He says sometimes threats don't materialize, but in cases where priests haven't obeyed the drug traffickers' demands, churches have been damaged, priests attacked and, in a few cases, even killed. According to Monsignor Rodriguez, some bishops have opted for canceling early evening masses to protect parishioners from the drug violence.

Chihuahua is the most violent state in Mexico. Of the 28,000 drug- relate deaths in the last four years, 40 percent have happened in this border state. In Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, more than 100 pastors have reported threats, and extortion has become all too common.

"They accuse us of being friendly to rival drug gangs," says this apostolic leader. "They tell us, 'either you cooperate, or you die.'"

Monsignor Rodriguez also says priests are forced to minister to drug traffickers. He says strangers call priests to tell them they're being picked up at a certain time and are forced to go not knowing where they're being taken to or what service they're providing. Rodriguez also says families of priests are also being threatened.

ROMO (on camera): The Mexican Catholic Church has adopted several measures as an answer to the risks caused by drug violence. Priests are being asked to always wear clothing that identifies them as religious people and to restrict trips to remote areas. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


ANDERSON: You're back with us here in the studio with my guest in Washington, Bob Stutman. Numbers out of Mexico are quite staggering. Since the war on drugs began, something like 28,000 people have been killed, 500,000 people involved in the industry. It is an industry worth some $5 billion.

Vicente Fox, one of the former Mexican presidents, says effectively he's a supporter of the decriminalization or legalization of drugs. Now, Bob, he says, "Mexico is just a war zone, and this war on drugs isn't working." Your thoughts?

STUTMAN: Well, it's not working. First of all, because, with all due respect to President Fox, he didn't try. The present president of Mexico is the first president that has tried to take on the drug cartels, so they're fighting back. They don't like it.

As far as legalization to drive the cartels out of business, that's just plain foolish. When we did away with prohibition in the United States, we certainly did not do away with the mob, with organized crime. Unless you are willing to legalize all drugs for all people. That means crack for 12-year-olds, heroine for 13-year-olds, et cetera, there will always be a cartel. They will simply fill the need of the group that it has not been legalized for.

So if you are intellectually willing to say, "I will give any drug to any person who wants it," and we will probably defend -- despite what my friend Steve says, common sense says if you lower the price of drugs, more people will use. That's just common sense. If you lower the price, more people will use.

Are we ready to double or triple, according to the Rand Corporation, the number of drug users in the United States, even kids. Because if you don't legalize for everybody, that still leaves a black market to fill --


STUTMAN: And you will not drive the cartels out of business.

ROLLES: The point you're missing, of course, Bob, is that in a regulated market, the government can intervene on things like price. They can license the vendors, they can license the outlets, they can control who has access to the market. You can have age controls --

STUTMAN: And what -- and Steve --

ROLLES: And then --

STUTMAN: Steve, what about when the black market --

ANDERSON: Go on, guys, you'll have to talk over.


ANDERSON: The signal's a little bit delayed.

STUTMAN: Steve, what about when the black market still operates?

ROLLES: You -- I'm not saying you would get rid of all of the black market, and I think no one is claiming that you would. But if you could get rid of 75 percent of it, or 80 percent of it, that would still be a substantial gain. And if you can control access, if you can control availability, you can put in place things like age controls.

And we know from the US experience, for example, that young people in the US find it easier to access cannabis than they do to access alcohol. And alcohol is very heavily regulated in the US, and you have an age control -- access of 21, and so on and so forth.

You can put in place those controls, and you can control the access if something is legal. If you've given control entirely to a bunch of criminal profiteers, they will aggressively target those young people and those vulnerable groups.

ANDERSON: Steve, you've had your word. Bob?

STUTMAN: Steve, what -- Steve, with all due -- Becky, with all due respect, he brought up something that's important. He pointed out, rightfully, that in the United States, it is easier for kids to get cannabis than alcohol. But ten times more kids drink than use cannabis. Why is that? It's because cannabis is illegal, and in their mind, it is not accepted by society. And alcohol is legal and it is.

So even though it's easier to get cannabis, more kids drink. I will argue vehemently, if we legalize drugs, it will be more acceptable, the number of users will go up.

And if even -- if Steve is telling me that the government can do a better job at business than private enterprise, then he comes from a different school of economic thought than I do. As soon as the government takes over, you will have black markets competing with them. You will have them selling to the groups the government won't sell to and, frankly, I think the black market can undercut the price of the government.

ANDERSON: We're going to have to leave it there because we're going to have to take a very short break. Back to you, Steve, after this. I know that the war on drugs has cost the US something like $29 billion a year. It is a costly law to keep in place.

Let's hear what some of you are saying about the world drug epidemic. Bobby of Guam says, "Legalizing drugs is very bad idea. It will lead to more murders, more car accidents, more crime.

TrustinPeople from New York, though, is for legalization and argues, "It's a free will issue, and we have to trust that the majority of people make the right decisions."

And JWG of California doesn't think criminalization will work, saying "The illegal drug trade constitutes a greater evil than illegal drug consumption."

Boys, gents, we will be right back after this.


ANDERSON: Amphetamines are a growing problem, particularly in the Middle East, with a new market for pills called Captagon. All intoxicants are forbidden by Islam, but the Middle East now leads the world in amphetamine seizures, the bulk of it -- those seizures are found in Saudi Arabia.

Welcome back to our CONNECT THE WORLD special tonight. We're focusing on the global war against drugs. We've got a panel of experts here to help us explore the issue. First, I want to begin this part of our coverage in Afghanistan, where the UN estimates there are close to a million drug users. That's seven percent of the population.

We headed to Mexico after that, where the drug violence has spilled from the streets and into the country's churches. Well now, let's shine the spotlight here in Britain, where police are facing an uphill battle against cannabis farms. Atika Shubert with that part of the story.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: According to a new British police report, the amount of cannabis factories here in the UK has doubled in the last two years. Almost 7,000 factories have recently been identified. And the vast majority are inside private residences equipped with high intensity lights and watering systems.

Now, police use heat sensors to try and detect those factories inside homes, but a lot of their information, police say, actually comes from tip offs from suspicious neighbors.

Who exactly is working inside these factories? The vast majority are young, under the age of 35. And many of them are illegal immigrants coming from Vietnam and China, forced to work off thousands of dollars in debt by becoming gardeners inside these factories, never being allowed to go outside until the crop has been harvested. Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Bob Stutman's in Denver, not Washington this evening. Bob, I apologize for that. And Bob -- Steve Rolles, here in the studio.

There are many people, Bob, who all say that the issue of drugs and whether one should legalize or decriminalize drugs is one of ideology as opposed to a sort of realistic and sensible thought. What would you say to that?

STUTMAN: I'm not ideological about this issue at all. I don't work for the government, I don't represent the government. I think it boils down to a very simple issue. If you legalize drugs, you will have far more users. And Steve can pull out all the phony reports he wants, your listeners and your viewers know from common sense, lower the price, and we have far more users.

I would argue with that those far more users are a worse negative consequence than even the bad situation we have today. There are halfway points, if you will, between Steve's position and mine. I don't think the present system should continue. I think we should have mandated treatment rather than jail for users. I think we need to have law enforcement, very powerful, not against users, but against traffickers.

And if there is no consequence for users, they will not seek treatment. Most people do not go into treatment because God told them to one day. Most people go into treatment because the opposite of treatment is worse than treatment. So unless we keep some hammer over their head, we will not have people going into treatments.

So we need treatment, we need forced treatment where necessary, and we do need law enforcement, not against the user, but against the trafficker.


ROLLES: Most people don't need treatment, so I don't think we can force treatment for everybody who's caught with drugs. But more broadly, what we're looking at here is a policy that has failed. It doesn't deliver lower levels of drug use. Drug use has risen every year we've had this war on drugs, since the 60s.

Clearly, if we wanted to reduce drug use, if we wanted to reduce the public health harms associated with drugs, we would be investing in public health. We wouldn't be putting billions into failed enforcement enterprises. We'd be redirecting that money into stuff that we know works. Educating young people about risk, giving them alternatives to drug use, and so on.

Those things can deliver the outcomes we want. Enforcement doesn't. All it does is it makes drugs more dangerous, hands control of the market to users, it hasn't reduced use, clearly. And it's incredibly expensive and it's very counterproductive. So we need to be looking at these alternatives, we need to be exploring them. We need to be experimenting with them to see what works and whether we can get the kind of outcomes that I'm sure myself and Bob would both like to see.

ANDERSON: Chaps, let me just bring you some Twitter comments that we've had coming in tonight. I asked, "Should drugs be legalized, and would decriminalization stop drug abuse?" And this is just some of what we're -- what we've been getting in tonight.

Glam Divine (ph) says, "The line between right and wrong is so blurry these days, I'm not surprised legalizing cocaine is now an issue." That was in response to a top UK doctor, Bob, here in the UK -- in Britain who says that maybe this is now the time to legalize drugs, including cocaine.

Lillian has written in, she's tweeted me @beckycnn, says, "There is a very successful test with supplying heroine in Utrecht in the Netherlands. The test started ten years ago."

And somebody who goes by the name of Sergio Gama says, "Drugs should be legal. Once anyone can get them easily in the streets, it's a lost war. Certainly," he says, "criminality will decrease dramatically."

You can get your voice heard, of course, at or @beckycnn.

Last word from both of you. Bob?

STUTMAN: Becky, drugs are not bad because they're illegal. Drugs are illegal because they are bad. More users, more negative consequences. We do need treatment for many of the people who use, maybe most. And Steve is just absolutely dead wrong on one thing. The number of drug users in the United States has declined from 1970 to 2010.

Have we won the war? Of course not. But we certainly haven't just lost the war, either. And saying to make it legal is just flat giving up, I think there are positions in between that make a huge amount of sense.

ANDERSON: Bob Stutman, we thank you for that. Steve?

ROLLES: Well, it's not about giving up. This is about acknowledging that the policy has failed for nearly half a century now. Despite us pouring more and more resources into it, the situation continues to deteriorate. It's only appropriate in the face of that failure to be debating the alternatives, and the alternative to prohibition is some form of appropriate state regulation of production, supply, availability, and use.

ANDERSON: How much remains unclear at this point. Chaps, I'm going to have to thank you very much, indeed, for joining us because we have got to take a very short break before we hit the headlines here on CNN. It's been an absolute delight. We'll have you back. A very special thanks to Bob Stutman out of Denver and Steve Rolles here --


ANDERSON: Word from one of our viewers. This is from Michael, writing in on this CONNECT THE WORLD blog tonight. He says, "The drug war began as a series of cultural wars. First, the Chinese immigrants with opium, then against Hispanic immigrants with marijuana. It's a shame, it's a sham. Let people be responsible for their own bodies."

He then lets Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, have the very last say tonight. And I quote, "If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as a sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny."

Thank you, my guests, this evening. I'm Becky Anderson in London. That's the show on the tele at least. Stay connected with us, though, online.