Fight the Evildoers Because I Got High
The most ridiculous program in U.S. government history has
hit a new low. I refer, of course, to the "War on Drugs".
It seems that the drug war has decided to put up some big
bucks and advertise on the Super Bowl.
And what can the drug war say now that hasn't already been
said by the eggs frying in the pan or the guy in the shades
asking the kid how he knew he had chromosomes. Well guess
what? If you do drugs you're helping the terrorists. Honest.
Bogart that joint, my friend, and you might just as well be
one of the evildoers.
Now if the thought that the money might wind in the hands
of a guy with a turban doesn't keep a crack addict from firing
up or some corporate lawyer from stuffing $500 worth of Bolivia's
finest up his nose I don't know what will.
Our drug war is the biggest cause of crime in America. It
makes punks and hoods rich and imposes draconian sentences
on small time offenders. It causes violent turf wars in the
U.S. and has engulfed a South American country in a civil
war that has lasted more than a decade. And yet in the better
than thirty years of its existence the drug war has had almost
no effect on the demand for drugs and its few successes have
resulted only in driving up the price and creating more crime.
What's worse, virtually everyone in Washington knows that
it hasn't worked and will never work. But there's one other
thing every pol knows. If you speak up against this preposterous
waste of money your opponent in the next election will portray
you as sticking needles in the arms of the voters' kids.
Pillar of rectitude Richard M. Nixon launched the war on
drugs in 1971, declaring drug abuse "public enemy number one
in the United States." He established the Special Action Office
for Drug Abuse. It was the first step down the most absurd
of roads but at least at that time there was more money spent
on treatment and education than on enforcement.
In 1979 comedian Tim Allen and a friend named Michael Ward
tried to sell a pound and a half of cocaine to what turned
out to be an undercover agent. Facing a life sentence Allen
testified against numerous other people in exchange for leniency.
He claims he can't recall whether he testified against Ward
or not. Ward got life; Allen only served two and a half years
before being released to resume his show business career.
Allen made gazillions; Ward is still in prison. Kind of makes
you wish that Allen would leave the TV studio one night and
find Ward and few the other guys he ratted on leaning against
his Mercedes in an empty parking lot. The drug war does this
kind of thing. It punishes the powerless and lets the big
In 1984, in time for the U.S. presidential election Nancy
Reagan launched her "Just say No" campaign and aimed
it at teenagers. The teens found it every bit as hilarious
as they found "abstinence" education. A Congressional
committee, however, determined in 1989 that during her husbands
administration drug-dealing had indeed aided terrorism, the
kind that Ronnies guys had been sponsoring in Nicaragua. Is
looking the other way the same as saying "Yes"?
On June 19, 1986 a college basketball player star named Len
Bias died of a cocaine overdose. This would have been a one
or two day story were it not for the fact that Bias had been
celebrating his selection as the number two pick in the NBA
draft just the day before. Unfortunately for efforts to stop
the drug-war insanity Bias had been selected by the Boston
Celtics, the games most fabled franchise and the hometown
team of House Speaker Tip O'Neill. Celtics fans, probably
more upset over the blown draft choice than distraught over
the fate of the young athlete urged Tip to push for tough
new drug legislation. He did and the result was one of the
worst laws in U.S. history - The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986.
The bill imposed mandatory sentences on drug users, placed
even more pressure on people to turn in others (truthfully
or not) and impacted most heavily on minority communities.
It's been 16 years since Bias died but he's still putting
people in prison, driving up drug prices, causing street crime
and ruining lives. Damn shame he didn't pop open some Dom
Perignon to celebrate getting drafted.
The utter worthless futility of the drug war was demonstrated
a few years ago when a tunnel under the U.S.-Mexico border
was found by Government agents. It didn't take much to figure
out that the tunnel wasn't built to accommodate illegal immigration.
It was air-conditioned.
The first Bush invaded Panama in 1989 to arrest a head-of-state
drug thug who'd spent many years on the CIA payroll. In 2000
the Clinton administration threw $1.3 billion at the corrupt
Columbian government to help in its war against the cartels.
Even the Taliban got money last year to help eradicate poppy
production. This is truly an ongoing bipartisan fiasco.
And it won't end. A President dogged by rumors of being a
former cokehead will never change it. The one who didn't inhale
never went near it either. So the current pitch is that saying
no makes you a patriot. The next one will be just as idiotic.