Monday, May 17, 2010

Is the American Drug War a Failure?

In 1970, hippies were smoking pot and dropping acid. Soldiers were coming home from Vietnam hooked on heroin. Embattled President Richard M. Nixon seized on a new war he thought he could win.

"This nation faces a major crisis in terms of the increasing use of drugs, particularly among our young people," Nixon said as he signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. The following year, he said: "Public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive."

His first drug-fighting budget was $100 million. Now it's $15.1 billion, 31 times Nixon's amount even when adjusted for inflation.

Using Freedom of Information Act requests, archival records, federal budgets and dozens of interviews with leaders and analysts, the AP tracked where that money went, and found that the United States repeatedly increased budgets for programs that did little to stop the flow of drugs. In 40 years, taxpayers spent more than:

_ $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries. In Colombia, for example, the United States spent more than $6 billion, while coca cultivation increased and trafficking moved to Mexico — and the violence along with it.

_ $33 billion in marketing "Just Say No"-style messages to America's youth and other prevention programs. High school students report the same rates of illegal drug use as they did in 1970, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses have "risen steadily" since the early 1970s to more than 20,000 last year.

_ $49 billion for law enforcement along America's borders to cut off the flow of illegal drugs. This year, 25 million Americans will snort, swallow, inject and smoke illicit drugs, about 10 million more than in 1970, with the bulk of those drugs imported from Mexico.

_ $121 billion to arrest more than 37 million nonviolent drug offenders, about 10 million of them for possession of marijuana. Studies show that jail time tends to increase drug abuse.

_ $450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons alone. Last year, half of all federal prisoners in the U.S. were serving sentences for drug offenses.

At the same time, drug abuse is costing the nation in other ways. The Justice Department estimates the consequences of drug abuse — "an overburdened justice system, a strained health care system, lost productivity, and environmental destruction" — cost the United States $215 billion a year.

The author of this article and others conclude here that the Drug War is a failure, since it has failed miserably to reduce drug use and cost and has had and has an immense cost in money and lives.

But what they don't understand is that the avid interest of the American Corporate Plutocracy in funding Prohibition, including the Drug War and the Tobacco War, has nothing to do with any actual reduction of drinking, drug use, tobacco use, costs to America one way or the other involved, etc.:

It's all about the American Corporate Plutocracy using American theocrats and psychosociocrats and the mixed Police and Doctor State violence they so live for to divide, divert and harry the working-people of America.

And with regard to that most fundamental of all reasons for the insanely lush American funding of Prohibition, including the Drug War and the Tobacco War, Prohibition, including the Drug War and the Tobacco War, has been and continues to be a resounding success.

And here's a question the author of the above article didn't ask, but every thinking American ought to:

"Why don't liquor-importers tommy-gun each other any more?"

Keywords: Drug War, moralism, plutocracy, Prohibition, psychosociocracy, theocracy, Tobacco War, totalitarian studies


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