Drugs and the Never-ending War

wagner college school newspaper - the wagnerian
Wagner College School Paper
5 Feb 1970 Issue
Photo: Bernie

Some things never change. Although the Warsaw Pact countries have thrown off the shackles of the Soviet Union and the Red Sox have sloughed off the curse of the Bambino, we have yet to end our futile War on Drugs.

This is a photo of me as Editor of the Wagnerian, Wagner College's School Newspaper, in 1970. The Wagnerian before and after me was always a 4 to 8 times per semester student paper of less than a half dozen pages. When I ran it however, it was a 15 times per semester paper with an average number of pages per issue at least twice that number. I turned it into the most dynamic College Student Newspaper of that era. I am looking at an art editorial I commissioned asking for Pot to Be Legalized. Although I personally am not interested in taking drugs, I thought Nixon's idea of fighting a war on drugs which started the year before was futile and counter-productive and, after almost a trillion dollars spent, I still do.

Unfortunately, Congress did not heed the editorial and eight months later (27 Oct 1970) The Controlled Substances Act was passed which began a prohibition on drugs just like the earlier prohibition on Alcohol but without bothering to go through the legality of a Constitutional Amendment.

Read these Letters: Folly of the war on drugs from the Dallas Morning News

Colombian spraying hurts more than it helps

According to Colombians, 12 percent of the acreage that we sprayed was coca and 88 percent food crops.

The American Medical Association, at its 2004 convention, said the spraying is causing widespread illnesses, destroying pastures, destroying food crops, poisoning livestock, displacing thousands of small farmers and killing birds, mammals, aquatic life and natural plants.

Our government's 2006 survey showed Colombia had 144,000 acres of coca being cultivated – more than when Plan Colombia began.

When will we declare our independence from big government's scandalous waste of our precious lives and resources?

U.S. policies only strengthen narco factions

it is U.S. drug war policies that grew the narco factions and keeps them well financed and strong today. Those policies empowered the narcos to take down South American countries one by one.

We can't keep illegal drugs out of our prisons, much less off our streets. The ungodly amount of money is a result of the black market and the opportunities to get in on the take.

When the local Drug Enforcement Administration cannot even keep a notable growing operation out of its back yard in Dallas, you have to wonder who is in on it.

We chose those drug gangs

If we had legal markets for drugs, those entities would be out of business. The government chose criminals and terrorists as our nation's drug suppliers. We incarcerate millions of Americans and conduct home invasion searches to enforce this failed policy.

This misguided guilt trip from The Dallas Morning News is typical of those who do not understand that prohibition is the cause of our nation's drug problems, foreign and domestic. We can only win the drug war by ending prohibition.

Human nature won't change

Mexico's recent upsurge in violence began after an anti-drug crackdown created a power vacuum among competing cartels. From a political perspective, Mexican President Felipe Calderón stands to benefit from the violence.

The drug war is perpetuated by the mainstream media's complicity in refusing to put so-called "drug-related" crime in context. U.S. politicians have proven particularly adept at confusing the drug war's collateral damage with drugs themselves.

Drug prohibition funds organized crime at home and terrorism abroad, which is then used to justify increase drug war spending.

It's time to end this madness. Like it or not, drugs are here to stay. Changing human nature is not an option. We've been trying that for decades.

drug war mexico
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Stringer/Files
The body of a man killed execution style and wrapped in bin liners lies by the side of the Acapulco-Mexico City highway in this November 16, 2006 file photo. In towns and cities across the country, drug hitmen who for years kept their tit-for-tat killings our of public view are now much bolder, settling their scores in busy streets, dumping severed heads and brazenly shooting soldiers and police.

The futility is obvious to everyone but our own government:

Trinidad News,
15 Jul 2007,
Dead Link
Caribbean drug war has just begun

Well before the end of his [Bush the first] one term as president, however, the writing was plastered all over the wall that this was a "war" which could not and was not going to be won. Fully seventeen years after he lost the battle of his life to William Jefferson Clinton, and with just over a year before his son completes a second contentious term in the White House, the first Bush War on Drugs remains a matter of largely unfinished business for the United States.

Demand remained almost undiminished, and this is what drove supplies.

A drug shipment recently seized in a Dominican port
A drug shipment recently seized in a Dominican port
Photo Credit: DominicanToday
By the way, countries that have sane drug laws have fewer crimes caused by laws prohibiting drugs:

Rebel with just cause,
Ooooops! Who spilled the beans?

America gets an F in two out of three public safety indicators comparing world governments' statistics concerning homicides, assaults and thefts. The US is a material world so we get just above average marks for protection from and solving thefts. Where our government fails is in protecting us from and solving homicides and assaults.

Switzerland and Netherlands do a much better job with their violent crime. Their drug laws help lessen the harm to society by triggering less assaults and homicides. Their teen drug use is down. Could it be because they live in a safer, saner world? Maybe, but California's teen use of marijuana is down so maybe it has more to do with drug sales being handled by legitimate business people less likely to sell to a child or to recruit a minor to sell to their peers.

The only thing we have gotten out of this war on drugs is the largest prison population in the world. We also made criminals out of millions of people who would never have been criminals. I'm surprised that Democrats, who pretend to be the supporters of black people, have not tried to end the War on Drugs. In the words of former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel:

7 Jul 2007,
Alaskan Candidate Has Most Sense About Drug War In Cities

When journalist Michel Martin of NPR asked the candidates what they would do about the "scourge" of HIV/AIDS infection among black teenagers, Gravel's answer, though not on point, hit an important mark.

"The scourge of our present society, particularly in the African-American community, is the war on drugs," Gravel said in response to a question about the high rate of HIV/AIDS infections among black teenagers.

Then he said this about the other Democrats on the stage: "If they really want to do something about the inner cities, if they really want to do something about what's happening to the health of the African-American community, it's time to end this war. There's no reason to continue it in the slightest. All it does is create criminals out of people who are not criminals."

### End of my article ###

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