"The drug war, in the end, has been undone in no small part by the sweeping and inflexible nature of its own metaphor. At the beginning, in the days of Escobar, the campaign was a war as seen from the situation room, a complicated assault that spanned multiple fronts, but one which had identifiable enemies and a goal. Today, the government's anti-drug effort resembles a war as seen from the trenches, an eternal slog, where victory seems not only unattainable but somehow beside the point. For the drug agents and veterans who busted Escobar, the last decade and a half have been a slow, agonizing history of defeat after defeat, the enemy shifting but never retreating. "You get frustrated," Joe Toft, a former DEA country attache in Colombia, tells me. "We've never had a true effort where the U.S. as a whole says, 'We're never going to crack this problem without a real demand-reduction program.' That's something that's just never happened.""