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I Couldn't Fight the Evildoers Because I Got High
February 2, 2002
by birdman

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 shots walk.

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.

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