Archive for the ‘War on Drugs’ Category

This Takes Me Back

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

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The sad thing is that although I haven’t seen this video since I was in elementary school 20 years ago, I still remember every word of the song. Full song available here (It can’t be embedded, for some reason)

Quote of the Day

Monday, August 20th, 2007

Steven Taylor:

What do you call a policy that spends billions of dollars, makes the problem that the policy is designed to address worse, and yet everyone involved in making that policy wants to expand it? You call it the “War on Drugs.”

Quote of the Day

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

“That’s why we criminalize pot and ecstasy, and allow massive distribution of booze and tobacco. Marijuana is a gateway drug, after all. If you smoke it you might move on to far more dangerous substances, like beer.” – Andrew Sullivan

When Wars Collide

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Excellent article from Time Magazine about how the war on drugs is harming the war on terror, in particular the story of one warlord tried to aid America after 9/11 only to be arrested:

For a week and a half in April 2005, one of the favorite warlords of fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was sitting in a room at the Embassy Suites Hotel in lower Manhattan, not far from where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood. But Haji Bashar Noorzai, the burly, bearded leader of one of Afghanistan’s largest and most troublesome tribes, was not on a mission to case New York City for a terrorist attack. On the contrary, Noorzai, a confidant of the fugitive Taliban overlord, who is a well-known ally of Osama bin Laden’s, says he had been invited to Manhattan to prove that he could be of value in America’s war on terrorism. “I did not want to be considered an enemy of the United States,” Noorzai told TIME. “I wanted to help the Americans and to help the new government in Afghanistan.”

For several days he hunkered down in that hotel room and was bombarded with questions by U.S. government agents. What was going on in the war in Afghanistan? Where was Mullah Omar? Where was bin Laden? What was the state of opium and heroin production in the tribal lands Noorzai commanded–the very region of Afghanistan where support for the Taliban remains strongest? Noorzai believed he had answered everything to the agents’ satisfaction, that he had convinced them that he could help counter the Taliban’s resurgent influence in his home province and that he could be an asset to the U.S.

He was wrong.

As he got up to leave, ready to be escorted to the airport to catch a flight back to Pakistan, one of the agents in the room told him he wasn’t going anywhere. That agent, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), told him that a grand jury had issued a sealed indictment against Noorzai 3 1/2 months earlier and that he was now under arrest for conspiring to smuggle narcotics into the U.S. from Afghanistan. An awkward silence ensued as the words were translated into his native Pashtu. “I did not believe it,” Noorzai later told TIME from his prison cell. “I thought they were joking.” The previous August, an American agent he had met with said the trip to the U.S. would be “like a vacation.”

Today, Noorzai, 43, sits in a small cell in the high-security section of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, awaiting a trial that may still be months away. But whatever his fate, the Case of the Cooperative Kingpin raises larger questions about America’s needs, goals and instincts in fighting its two shadow wars: the war on terrorism and the war on drugs. The question that continues to haunt U.S. policymakers in this long struggle is, When do you bend the rules for one to help the other? Afghanistan is where these two battles converge, as the runoff from the $3 billion opium trade helps pay for the guns and bombs being deployed against U.S. and NATO forces.

Seriously, can anyone justify this? Read the whole article. Via Steven Taylor.

More on the Drug War

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

No sooner than I suggest that the U.S. follow Mexico’s lead, a bill is introduced in the House that would be step in that direction. The bill is proposed by two longshot presidential candidates, Ron Paul (R-TX) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Ron Paul (who deserves a serious look as a presidential candidate):

“It is indefensible that the United States government prevents American farmers from growing this crop. The prohibition subsidizes farmers in countries from Canada to Romania by eliminating American competition and encourages jobs in industries such as food, auto parts and clothing that utilize industrial hemp to be located overseas instead of in the United States,” said Dr. Paul. “By passing the Industrial Hemp Farming Act the House of Representatives can help American farmers and reduce the trade deficit — all without spending a single taxpayer dollar.”

Sounds good to me, although the drug war lobby will likely prevent this bill from going anywhere. Nevertheless, it’s good to see the idea at least getting looked at.

Mexico to Decriminalize Drugs

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Mexican President Felipe Calderon shows some backbone:

Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s government wants to decriminalize first-time possession of small amounts of drugs in a move likely to draw criticism from U.S. anti-narcotics officials.

Under the proposed legislation, users found for the first time with 2 grams (0.07 ounces) or less of marijuana and small amounts of other drugs ranging from cocaine to methamphetamine would not be prosecuted.

Good for him. The U.S. has been fighting the drug war for over three decades now, and yet the drugs just keep on piling up victories against us. I’m sure that the U.S. government and the drug officials and their lobbyists will apply pressure to Calderon. He should resist. The drug war is bad for his country, even more than it is bad for America. The drug war has caused death and destruction both in the U.S. and Latin America, and yet illegal drugs remain readily available to anyone who wants them. Can anyone tell me why we’re wasting so much money and goodwill on this futile endeavor?

This is a statement you won’t hear very often, but the U.S. should follow Mexico’s lead.

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.