War on Drugs Runs Parallel To Iraq, Vietnam Wars

War on Drugs Runs Parallel To Iraq, Vietnam Wars
Posted by CN Staff on June 26, 2007 at 05:49:55 PT
By Joseph Ruchalski
Source: Daily Reveille
USA -- President Nixon's declaration that drug abuse is "public enemy number one in the United States" in 1971 launched a "war on drugs" that has raged since the war in Vietnam. Like the war in Vietnam then and in Iraq today, this war has proven to be much more complex than a simple "red versus blue" campaign. The soldiers are sworn law enforcement officers and organized crime members playing a dangerous game of "cops and robbers." The victims are varied, some helpless, destitute, or hardened criminals themselves, but all are civilians.
Like Iraq, there is another faction who would like to do away with the whole affair - drug policy "insurgents."Leading the insurgency are advocacy groups such as the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, who challenge the Federal Government on judicial, legislative and executive fronts. This past year has beared mixed results for advocates, in part because of uncooperative executive and judicial branches at the federal and state levels but also at the advocacy level. Since President Nixon ignored the findings of his own commission urging federal decriminalization of marijuana in 1971, twelve states have enacted medical marijuana laws, and many more localities have put the enforcement of marijuana prohibition as the lowest law enforcement priority. In April, Gov. Bill Richardson made medical marijuana into New Mexico law. Last week, Rhode Island's legislature rejected Gov. Donald Carcieri's veto of MPP's medical marijuana bill, solidifying the number of states in the union with medical marijuana laws. New York is waiting on its state senate and governor to take final action on a bill that passed the assembly by a 93-52 vote. The list of losses are equally numerous. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court continued its history of stretching the "interstate commerce" clause of the constitution. Gonzales v. Raich allowed the federal government to further curtail state rights by rationalizing since medical marijuana could be transported and sold across state lines. Despite California's medical marijuana law prohibiting it, the Federal government can shut down state sanctioned "cannabis clubs." This allows state medical marijuana patients and growers to be prosecuted under federal law. Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell vetoed a MPP sponsored bill last week, citing conflicts with federal law and "family values" of voters. On Monday, the Supreme Court set a dangerous precedent for further constraining student speech by virtue of its content in its "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case ruling. The judiciary's actions have cleared the way for executive agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement departments to exercise excessive police powers and undue influence in public policy. Drug law enforcement has taken on a troubling para-military flare with officers in battle dress uniforms with guns drawn executing "no-knock" search warrants. A hard nosed approach on crime may never draw the ire of the public, but a botched raid on and death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston should. Atlanta police suspected her apartment was being used to sell crack cocaine, obtained a warrant and plain clothes officers raided the house. Johnston, anticipating the raid as a home invasion, opened fire on the officers. They justifiably returned fire, but then went on to plant all the drugs that were found that day, whicn included three bags of marijuana. Officers J.R. Smith and Gregg Junnier pled guilty to a variety of charges relating to the incident in federal court. Like the war in Iraq, our "boots on the ground" have failed to speak the local language and only inflame violence not among Shiites or Shia, but Bloods, Crips and Banditos. Not content to engage in mere enforcement, the DEA orchestrates and U.S. tax payers fund a variety of public relations campaigns demonizing drugs and drug users, as well as attempting to legitimize and further their bureaucratic interests. According to the DEA Web site, marijuana and its legalization advocates are endangering the country by blurring the lines between "fact and fiction." On its face, these Web sites are contrived and sometimes outright false, which is a fact that will not escape the critical eye.Critiquing current drug policy and scrutinizing agencies such as the DEA is an important task for government reform. The unwise laws and mechanisms that enforce them conveniently demonstrate the heights of government corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency, deliberate misinformation, and hypocrisy. President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has been criticized since its inception and exposed some darker elements within his administration. Similarly, the war on drugs accomplishes the same things, regardless of partisanship of an administration in peace time. Although the war in Iraq rages on, popular discontent is being voiced and put at the forefront in presidential debates now and in those to come. Marijuana advocates should further prod latent public discontent and foster new energy towards an issue not unlike the war in Iraq. Call it a "decapitation attack" because it is precisely what the war on drugs needs to bring it to a peaceful and ultimately beneficial conclusion that America deserves. Until federal prohibition is dealt with, state level campaigns will be subject to asymmetrical warfare like true insurgents, and their detractors can continue to propagate misinformation.Citizens from all over the political spectrum can recognize the futility of the war on drugs and disharmony of their ideological beliefs and the government's conduct. Marijuana advocates need to focus on taking public discontent to its numerical and national heights. Dismantling the war on drugs will not only be a wise public policy course but also bring accountability back to an out of control federal government. Source: Daily Reveille (LA Edu)Author: Joseph Ruchalski Published: June 26, 2007Copyright: 2007 Daily ReveilleContact: editor lsureveille.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #7 posted by unkat27 on June 26, 2007 at 11:43:43 PT
Just a thought
Maybe if they called it the "War on Drug Abuse" instead of simply the "War on drugs" then our government would be less fascist and more in favor of harm reduction policies.But, of course, harm reduction never was the aim of the fascists that started this war, they have always had ulterior motives and the present prison population is the most striking example of that.
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Comment #6 posted by museman on June 26, 2007 at 09:13:05 PT
that might do it
"Dismantling the war on drugs will not only be a wise public policy course but also bring accountability back to an out of control federal government." And if it should happen, it'll only be one notch on the 'credibility' measuring rod, but a welcome one none the less.
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Comment #5 posted by Truth on June 26, 2007 at 09:08:54 PT
Cannabis prohibition is the crime.
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Comment #4 posted by potpal on June 26, 2007 at 07:50:20 PT
rchandar #2
Your sense makes sense. I often envy the eloquence displayed by so many on this board. Truth be told.Cannabis prohibition is the crime.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 26, 2007 at 07:47:41 PT
I wanted to comment on what you said about politicians. I don't believe any of them. I don't want a president that is getting up in years because of how bad Reagan got in his second term. That is scary to me to have someone in power who doesn't realize the seriousness of his job anymore. 
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Comment #2 posted by rchandar on June 26, 2007 at 07:30:08 PT:
My Sense
I just wish that the old-school, crony network politicians in the US would take notice of how decrim works so well in Europe and how their problems are so minute compared to ours.Our problem is one of deception. We make marijuana a criminal offense, pour billions of dollars into law enforcement, throw up treatment programs that require the ultimate sacrifice as the basis for sanity. Lo and behold, the music culture of today types the pot user/dealer as someone who MUST BE a criminal, who is PROUD of his criminality, who behaves like one. The entire vicious cycle of disillusionment from society is based upon the recognition that smoking pot is a criminal offense, not the dangerous powers of the drug. That being said, the big problem is that politicians are set in their ways and opposed to change. They speak in sweeping generalizations: legalizing pot will lead to more drug use and more crime. Meaning: if it's legal, everyone will want to use it. Meaning (2): The citizen has no powers of discernment that come from themselves rather than the government. Or: If we legalize pot, the criminals will be richer and more dangerous. Meaning: Criminals are so out of control they would never respect a "legal" market and would go on a killing rampage to monopolize their new market, swooping down on old hippies and college kids with plants in their closets. The gateway theory: Some of you have hit this one on the number many times so I'll just reiterate. Naturally, if pot is illegal, it's purchase will come from people who are "criminals" who will have other wares to offer for sale. A dealer can be wiped out tomorrow; therefore, his main objective is to make money as quickly as possible. I think the Holland policy would work well for America: a legal age of 18 has virtually eliminated the kind of sad stories that are abundant in the US. You won't see any ten-year old boys dealing crack or shooting heroin in cities like Amsterdam. But you will see even twelve-year old kingpins in America. Another problem: Pot has no cultural role in the making of Protestant, white America. Therefore, it's useless. Not so useless, is it? It's indigenous to African-American, Latino, and Asian cultures, and had a role in the making of their traditional arts, rituals, and thinking. We are slowly becoming the majority in your country--I think it'll be only another 25 years before whites will be, in numbers, a minority for the first time. In terms of thinking, then, we are not heard. We are roundly discouraged in turn from thinking drugs have any theraputic value, so even we have to rewrite our own histories. One more thing. NEVER place faith in the aging of politicians: these are men who have years of experience and who in their old age do consider changes in social policy, Republican or Democratic. But the young "freshman" politicians are by no means emissaries of peace who are friendly to change. Just like in the Soviet Union: shortsighted, power-hungry, adherent to ideology without reflection. They start as cheerleaders and end as brute enforcers. They won't take chances in terms of a legitimate change in social policy. Do not accept the promises of the "freshman" Senator without scrutinizing his real makeup. Its very dangerous to give a young man without experience control over such arms of social policy, unless it's clear he/she's really fair-minded. And politicians aren't students or entry-level workers--in this case, they are indeed far from JFK.
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Comment #1 posted by potpal on June 26, 2007 at 06:43:40 PT
Wow, way to go, Joe
Says it all. Powerful words.Kudos to the author! 
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