Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another war that should end

For very sound reasons Americans have become disillusioned with the war in Iraq. Those reasons include the false premises for which the war was originally initiated and sustained; the terrible toll in human life and injury to both Americans and foreigners; the huge expenditure of tax dollars from an already grossly overdrawn national treasury; and the long, uncertain, duration of the war.
Americans’ desire to end this war is warranted by these facts and by the realistic evaluations of the probability of attaining the various, shifting, goals the Bush administration and its supporters have asserted to justify this decidedly tragic misadventure.

For all these reasons, Americans have wisely determined that the war in Iraq must be discontinued. Yet, for most of the same reasons that condemn the Iraq war, another American war has continued to rage for decades with victory even more elusive and the duration potentially eternal.
Since 1971, the American government has been waging a futile global war on an enemy that includes mostly its own citizens. This war has already cost $2.5 trillion and drains the public treasury of another $69 billion each year. It has killed thousands of people, and imprisoned hundreds of thousands more. It has and continues to trample civil liberties and negate property rights. It is prosecuted with an inquisitional fury that ignores all reason while it propagates intensifying levels of violence that claims more innocent victims every year.
It is the war on drugs.
There is always a reason given for war, a cause for which it must be waged, but the reasons given to incite public support for war can be different from the real reasons for why the war is being waged.
To gain support for war in Vietnam, a war that America’s ideologically arrogant politicians were certain was necessary to stop the global spread of communism, government officials told the American public a big fib about the Gulf of Tonkin attacks. Three decades latter, mendacious politicians again misled an angry, frightened American public into supporting the current Iraq war. The real reasons for this war remain uncertain, but the results are the same—death, destruction, huge expenditures of tax dollars, and no satisfactory conclusion.
The War on Drugs was also sold to the American public with misinformation packaged in fear. Basically, the pitch was that the use of certain drugs, as determined by government, would create a pandemic of psychosis, indolence, and perversion that would undermine all of society. Not only is the evidence to support these assertions deficient, there is ample scientific evidence that refutes them. In fact, how many Americans have indulged in prohibited drugs at some period in their lives and still managed to graduate from college, hold responsible jobs, get elected to office, and raise children who were successful citizens in their own rights?
We criticize Saudi Arabia as backward and barbaric because women there can be stoned to death for adultery, or given the lash for attire considered immodest, but America imprisons tens of thousands of its citizens for simply choosing to ingest certain analgesics, the choice of which causes harm to no one. Under the war on drugs, America confiscates the private property of its citizens who have committed no crime, but who were carrying too much cash according to suspicious drug enforcement agents, or whose tenants, unbeknownst to them, were selling drugs out of a rental property owned by the unfortunate landlord.
Each year innocent Americans are assaulted or killed by overzealous police in mistaken drug busts or by crossfire from warring drug gangs. Countries like Mexico and Columbia are being torn apart by the violence stemming from America’s obstinate obsession with prohibiting its own citizens from exercising a victimless freedom of choice. Meanwhile, international terrorism finances it deadly operations from the gargantuan, untaxed profits generated by the illegal drug trade.
The war on drugs vanquishes reason, liberty, and justice, but not drug use. It is a war America is perpetually losing; yet every bust of another marijuana farm is proudly hailed as a victory by grimly stern police who tell us that with the latest bust they have dealt a telling blow to the drug trade. Notice, however, that there is never an end to police discoveries of Marijuana farms or of caches of any other banned drug in great demand. Nor will there ever be, because the real reason the war on drugs rages on is that neither side wants it to end—each side is enriched and empowered by its continuation.
Like the Iraq war, the war on drugs is tragically needless, waged for ulterior motives, and sustained with propaganda. Such immoral, illogical, wars can only be ended by the determination of an outraged and enlightened American people.


Anonymous said...

You're an idiot. Is this website written by seventeen year olds? The War in Iraq is over, 9-11 was a hoax, go after something that matters.

Chuck said...

This editorial is spot on the money. The phony war on drugs id far more dangerous than the drugs themselves. It is destroying the fabric of our country. Any politicians who support this regulatory travesty must fall under immediate suspicion of being willing co-conspirators or hapless gullible fools. Thank you for speaking up on this issue. The single most important issue is campaign finance reform (CFR). There can be no meaningful progress on any other issue until we have stringent campaign finance reform.