Effects Based Shock and Awe Drug Policy 

Effects Based Shock and Awe Drug Policy 
Posted by CN Staff on April 15, 2003 at 17:39:51 PT
By Michael Hess
Source: BBSNews
One clear line of thought has stayed on course throughout the US-Iraq war, that is "effects based operations" or targeting to accomplish the end military or political objective without obliterating everything else. It remains to be seen how at least 37,000 air "sorties" and the associated bombing will affect the worlds future after the US-Iraq War. US drug war policy for three decades has been more like the carpet bombing required in the Vietnam War to achieve a desired objective. And just like a policy of "destroy the village to save it", it's also been an utter failure. Oh sure, there is plenty of political spin claiming "advances" or "progress" and drug busts de jur but the facts show a different picture entirely from the political soundbites.
In 1975 the Twelfth Grade lifetime prevalence of marijuana use was 47.3%. In 2002 it was 47.8%. The average prevalence for twelfth graders during that entire time, from 1975 to 2002 was 49.17%. It does not take a masters in business to get a feel for that trend. Any savvy long-term investor would be delighted with a stock that performed so consistantly over decades. In this case however it illustrates a very disturbing trend. All of the rhetoric, all of the prison sentences, all of the racial tension brought on by the war upon marijuana users has gained nothing at all. Anyone can look this data up for themselves, it is widely touted upon it's annual release. It is from the Monitoring the Future Study published each year by the University of Michigan. The politicians always seem to handily gloss over the hard truth, as much with drug policy as with tax cuts for the rich and the after effects of "blowback" from the US-Iraq War. Drug War as it's currently being waged has had no effect except to swell the US prison population to over 2,000,000 with almost three quarters of a million marijuana arrests made each year. Or about 315 times the total number of terrorist related arrests made in the entire world in about the thirteen month period from 9/11 until the end of October 2002. Our US politicians talk blithely about creating a democracy with guaranteed freedoms and human rights in another country yet those very same politicians sell out Americans on due process and fundamental fairness here at home. Two glaring examples have been overshadowed by the US-Iraq War but bear serious mention. Senator Joseph Biden, the intrepid Democrat from Delaware, who on foreign policy issues I largely agree with, snuck a bill of his last week through the Senate attached to the hugely popular Amber Alert bill, legislation introduced before by Biden, heavily protested and formerly called the Rave Act. According to the San Francisco Bay View this legislation will "make it easier for the federal government to prosecute owners and managers of businesses and real estate if customers, employees, tenants or other persons on their property commit a drug-related offense. Persons convicted under this new law could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, fined $500,000 and have their business or property confiscated under current forfeiture laws." This was done under cover of the US-Iraq War and almost completely un-noticed, even on Abu Dhabi TV. Not to be outdone by a mere Democrat, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert also last week put the kibosh on any notion of sanity for current US medical marijuana policy, saying through a spokesman according to the Oakland Tribune, "House Speaker Dennis Hastert will not support federal legislation to protect pot growers and smokers in states such as California, where medical marijuana is legal, a spokesman for the Republican leader said Thursday." "Dealing an early and likely fatal blow to the future of the legislation inspired by the recent conviction of Oakland cannabis grower Ed Rosenthal, Hastert spokesman John Feehery said, "I doubt very seriously that the speaker would support that kind of provision." What we have here is a Democrat that clearly cheated. Joe Biden tacked on a "rider," an unpopular piece of legislation to a very popular bill that has to do with missing children in order to get it passed over huge opposition. Thousands of people mobilized against this bill and killed it during the last Congress because it is so counter-productive and divergent with simple Civil Rights. This bill makes dancing with currently illegal drugs an offense that can get the owner of a venue or private home hard federal prison time and their property seized, even if he/she has no knowledge about "drugs" and made a good faith effort to keep their show or party "clean." It's also a free speech issue for sure to be challenged. Political rallies for drug policy reform will no doubt be the first targets. Seize a large venue used for a marijuana rally because there were a few possession arrests and who will then rent space to such a rally? Gay and Lesbian rallies and even Hip Hop culture will no doubt be on the federal governments "target list." It's already rumored on the street that ticket prices are going to go up to provide for the liability created by this unfair and ill-conceived law. Then we have a Republican who is willing to see a man go to prison for life even though he was within California state law and licensed by the city he lived in to do what he did. Dennis Hastert apparently could not even be bothered enough to answer directly about this brush off of important marijuana law reform, he simply condemned Ed Rosenthal to death in prison, and did it through a spokesperson, for trying to give quality of life to people in need. This is appalling behavior on the part of elected officials. Even considering such a course shows a callous disregard of what it actually happening "on the ground." That is countless families broken up and inumerable financial hardships for families caused not by marijuana use but by marijuana prohibition. The MTF figures show regardless of the countless casualties in this war against half of America's citizens that nothing has changed. Half of all high school twelfth graders has tried marijuana since 1975. That pretty much means that about one out of two people you will meet in the course of your day has used marijuana at some point in their lives. Now imagine them in prison. That's where our political leaders want them to be. Effects Based Drug Policy On the day the US-Iraq War began, at about 1:00pm EDT, Col. Gary L. Crowder, chief, Strategy, Concepts and Doctrine gave a long and detailed overview of a US military doctrine called "effects based operations". Basically it defines that instead of bombing for days to take out an electrical grid, go instead for the power line that puts tens of thousands of people out of power as if from a snowstorm. An elegant solution to be sure. Why "carpet bomb" or destroy an entire area to achieve what in the end is a political objective? Why not just go after the real problem and gain the objective? A twelve year old in my hometown cannot belly up to the bar and buy a whiskey. However, he is not stopped by massive bombing into submission or obliteration of the owners and their bar. He's not stopped by Alcohol Prohibition. He's stopped because bar/liquor store owners operate hand in hand with the liquor authority to limit availability of adult material to kids. It's really just that simple. "Not complicated." Alcohol is a dangerous drug, it is listed as such on the top ten list of health risks world wide by the World Health Organization (WHO) along with tobacco, and neither of these two most major drug threats merit life in prison or prohibition. There are not drive-by shootings connected with the sale and distribution of these two dangerous drugs, Prohibition of alcohol taught us that black markets bring crime and violence. Just like we have with today's currently illicit drugs. Prohibition was repealed because of the terrible lack of control necessarily imposed by an artificially created black market. Col. Crowder talked about the old way of bombing a target by attrition, in other words a detailed target list where each and every target was blown up and when you get to the end of the list you're done. (To win by attrition against marijuana consumers the federal government would have to imprison half of every twelfth grade class since 1975 and not just a few politicians, even at least one former President, Vice President and Speaker of the House.) Then Crowder described the new way, to look for the specific point in the system that would achieve the desired political objective, instead of hitting every portion of an electrical power grid, the generating plant, sub stations etc, go instead after just enough of the system to satisfy the political goal. For instance, go after a major power feeder line disabling a huge chunk of service just as if would happen during a natural disaster. He said, "the point here is, is that we don't have to attack everything, nor do you have to destroy everything. If we understood what the effect we desired on the battlefield, we could then figure out ways of creating that effect more efficiently, more effectively, striking less targets, using less weapons and, quite frankly, mitigating or easing potential concerns for collateral damage and civilian casualties."  Shock and Awe Drug Policy Reform Everyone agrees that the principle objective in world drug policy is to get teenagers to use less drugs and to limit their availability to them. Currently, the US "carpet bombs" American citizens to try and accomplish this objective. This is horribly wrong thinking that has resulted in more than 130,000 inmates in state and federal prison for felony marijuana sentences alone and 726,000 arrests for marijuana offenses last year. At a time when state resources are stretched to their limits, states are releasing prisoners, some dangerous, and the war on terrorism demands real dollars going to fight a real threat, our politicians are squandering precious dollars to accomplish zero in terms of twelfth graders refraining from marijuana. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has earned the name "Mike the Knife" because of $700 million in cuts in NYC alone. Scrapping the Rockefeller drug laws and halting the arrest of peaceful marijuana consumers in New York would save enormous sums of money and the grief such arrests engender towards the city and state. As it would on a national scale. In the very same MTF Study that shows marijuana prevalence has stayed largely unchanged since 1975, an entirely different picture emerges from the numbers on tobacco. Tobacco cigarettes are more addicting and reinforcing than heroin. Former FDA head Dr. David Kessler called them a "drug delivery device" in the mid-90's with good reason. The nicotine in cigarettes is the chief culprit. Between 100,000 and 400,000 people die each year from tobacco related disease in the US (CATO, CDC) and the MTF shows that back in 1977, 75.7% of twelfth graders had ever used tobacco. That number has steadily trended down over the intervening years to 57.2% for the class of 2002. No war needed, nor were millions of pointless yet costly arrests needed. What has worked is "effects based" education. No silly commercials with a teenager shooting another teenager through a haze of tobacco smoke need apply, a more common sense approach is a vigorous "We ID" program that asks a customer for proof of age when purchasing tobacco products. The same is also true for alcohol. One grocery chain in the US South has a policy that every employee must sign for alcohol saying that if the person looks under 45 to ask for an ID. 12 year-olds have a difficult time buying whiskey, they don't have any trouble at all going around behind the bar and down on the corner to get marijuana. It's ubiquitous because prohibition inherently means no regulation. Contraband cannot be legally owned so there are no laws governing proof of age, zoning, quality control, proper labeling and legal dispute resolution to name a few. Unlike the bottle of French Merlot I will be enjoying later this evening with a roast beef done to a turn over a hickory smoke fire. That bottle of wine has a tax stamp, it has the alcohol content clearly marked on it as well as two warnings, one to pregnant women and one against driving while impaired. No one seems to consider the pleasant buzz derived from a nice bottle of wine as evil. THC on the other hand, the most demonized active ingredient in natural marijuana, is synthesized suspended in sesame oil and marketed as Marinol. It is considered so safe and effective that Marinol was moved from Schedule II in the Controlled Substances Act (Schedule I is where natural marijuana resides, inexplicably because it is claimed there is no medicinal use yet when packaged by a large pharmaceutical company in a gel-cap it's magically considered a medicine) to Schedule III, a much less restricted category of drugs, pregnancy category Class C. Much like Tylenol with codeine, because of it's proven medical efficacy, safety and lack of abuse/diversion potential. It is not only ludicrous but it is bordering on negligent for US politicians to continue claiming that natural marijuana does not have medical utility even as Marinol is marketed. This is very much like only selling Vitamin C tablets and outlawing the growing and possession of oranges and claiming that oranges have no vitamin benefit. It is dishonest and stands more than 4,000 years of recorded history of marijuana use as medicine on it's head. A whopping dose of denial. Regulating marijuana would end the cost-prohibitive, hundreds of thousands of useless mass arrests each year. Sensible marijuana reform would take a page out of the US military's "effects based" strategy and accomplish the political objective of keeping soft drugs out of the hands of children. Simply put a licensed someone between our children and ALL drugs and end the "carpet bombing" and collateral damage being caused by the War on Some Drugs and the vigorous and quite healthy black market created solely from the war. It's time for a "shock and awe" policy for currently illegal drugs. Admit that what has been done is wrong-headed and counter-productive public policy, that admission would inspire "shock". Then introduce facts and science; risk-based regulation about ALL recreational drugs. That would eliminate most of the problems that have been created solely from Prohibition II. No doubt such a common sense and truthful solution would inspire "awe" in a populace that distrusts politicians even more than used-car salesmen. And it would probably be a good idea to get ahead on this issue, before the general population becomes aware that they have been lied to since the 1970's about marijuana and it's medical utility. According to AlterNet, the Washington Post in 1974 wrote the only known newspaper story on a study which showed THC and Cannabinol reduces cancer tumors, "The active chemical agent in marijuana curbs the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice and may also suppress the immunity reaction that causes rejection of organ transplants, a Medical College of Virginia team has discovered." The researchers "found that THC slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent." According to the story the results were re-created partially by inhibiting the growth of breast cancer cells in a petri dish study in 1998. Researchers in Madrid fully re-created the results in 2000: "The Madrid researchers reported in the March [2000] issue of "Nature Medicine" that they injected the brains of 45 rats with cancer cells, producing tumors whose presence they confirmed through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). On the 12th day they injected 15 of the rats with THC and 15 with Win-55,212-2 a synthetic compound similar to THC. "All the rats left untreated uniformly died 12-18 days after glioma (brain cancer) cell inoculation ... Cannabinoid (THC)-treated rats survived significantly longer than control rats. THC administration was ineffective in three rats, which died by days 16-18. Nine of the THC-treated rats surpassed the time of death of untreated rats, and survived up to 19-35 days. Moreover, the tumor was completely eradicated in three of the treated rats." The rats treated with Win-55,212-2 showed similar results." It would be a really good idea if politicians started on real marijuana law reform now, before the general American public realizes just how badly and for how long that they have been consistently lied to. If your son or daughter or father or mother had a cancerous tumor that might have been helped by marijuana but was denied this valuable natural herb by a vindictive crusade against medical use, who would not be upset? And it is probably a safe bet that a Senator from Delaware won't have a garden party raided by federal agents looking for drugs and a lucrative property seizure. No, that will be reserved for the local block party in the poor neighborhood where people have little means to legally defend themselves. They will be robbed of their liberty and their property just for holding a dance where one or more patrons get caught with currently illicit drugs. Note: Freedom from War and Strife is a Human Right The plight of those so affected.Michael Hess is the Editor of BBSNews in Charlotte, NC. Visit the completely new discussion forum at: Source: BBSNews (NC) Author: Michael HessPublished: April 15, 2003Copyright 1990-2003 Michael HessContact: michael Website: Articles:Over Two Million Serving - Sierra Times War at Home - Sojourners Magazine Truth About The War On Drugs 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 18, 2003 at 09:39:40 PT
Here's my news page on the war
I thought I'd post this page while we're waiting for the site to get fixed.
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Comment #1 posted by freedom fighter on April 15, 2003 at 22:45:55 PT
Shock and Despair
for those who choose to continue the prohibiton's deadly path...ff
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