War On Drugs Is A Losing Proposition For U.S.

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by roach, Mar 14, 2001.

  1. US CA: OPED: War On Drugs Is A Losing Proposition For U.S.
    URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n446/a02.html
    Newshawk: Sledhead
    Pubdate: Tue, 13 Mar 2001
    Source: Daily Independent (CA)
    Copyright: 2001 - The Daily Independent
    Contact: dieditor@ridgecrestca.com
    Website: http://www.ridgecrestca.com/
    Author: Mimi Merrill
    Note: Mimi Merrill is a Ridgecrest writer, teacher and longtime liberal


    Does anyone - save for those whose livelihoods are dependent upon its continuance - believe we should be "fighting" a "war" on drugs?

    In the name of that "war," we American citizens have already given up countless liberties, and in its name we have supported totalitarian governments worldwide.

    In a mid-February Daily Independent editorial about the Taliban religious militia having virtually wiped out Afghanistan's opium poppy fields in less than a year, the Editor said that "one could argue - successfully -that a Taliban-like approach would not be possible in a free country." I would have preferred to have seen the phrase "not be possible" replaced with "would be abhorrent."

    Let's talk a bit about that Taliban approach.

    A subtle error crept into the editorial, the claim that the Taliban religious militia merely threatened to jail farmers who grew opium poppies. No. The AP story clearly stated that not only did the Taliban burn the heroin laboratories, but that they jailed farmers "until they agreed to destroy their poppy crops."

    Well, what's wrong with that?

    I am reminded of the admiration many Americans accorded several despots in the pre-World War II era. Hey! Mussolini must be doing something right! Why, he made the trains in Italy run on time! Hitler? Well, if Charles LIndbergh approves of him, he can't be all bad. Besides, he's solved the problem of those terrible Jews. Got rid of that problem, didn't he?

    Back to the Taliban. If you were thinking those farmers went to anything like a Ridgecrest jail with a couple of Ridgecrest's finest manning the locked doors while the arrested farmers awaited the arrival of their attorney, think again. This is the same Taliban whose New York office was recently closed by our State Department.

    The direct cause of that closing was a U.N. Security Council resolution, fueled by the Taliban's giving sanctuary to the terrorist Osama bin Laden. Yes, the Osama bin Laden who has a U.S. warrant out for his arrest. Terrorists shield terrorists.

    The Taliban is the same extremist militia group that captured the capital city of Afghanistan in 1986, and unilaterally declared an end to women's basic human rights, an abomination that exists today.

    Women have been banned from work and school and have only restricted access to medical treatment. In addition, they are required to completely cover their bodies with a burqa with only a mesh covering over their eyes through which to see.

    Punishment for breaking these draconian decrees includes beatings, stoning, and death. Women have been beaten for even lifting their burqa for a few moments to breathe fresh air.

    The Taliban's cruel regime, a drought, a severe winter, and continued fighting have combined to create a humanitarian nightmare for Afghan women.

    Fine. Let's rejoice that the heroin that eventually ends up in the minds and bodies and blood of all too many Americans won't come past our borders in as great quantity from those fields this year. But let's not fool ourselves how that came about.

    The threats to the jailed farmers that persuaded them to destroy their poppy crops were made by a religious militia that does not hesitate to beat and stone and kill those it jails.

    The U.N. surveyors found "barely an acre here and there." True, not many poppies were planted this season. However, the AP story quotes a State Department official's rational evaluation - the poppy crop has decreased. It has not been eliminated.

    And next season? With the insatiable appetite of the U.S. for drugs, what isn't planted in Afghanistan will find a field elsewhere.

    We're talking money crops in poverty-stricken countries, remember? We're talking a by-now-well-established wealthy gangster class we created by our forgetting the lessons of Prohibition.

    In the early part of this century, China bragged about total destruction of the poppy crop. That was in the days before our insanely named "war on drugs," a war that has created a "drug czar" in a supposed democracy, a war against our citizens, a war that has filled our jails.

    The "war" metaphor is an unfortunate misnomer. We don't fight drugs in this country. We fight drug users. Let's declare peace.

    California made a start by deciding to treat users instead of punishing them. But the U.S. Government still wants to punish instead of treating the illness.

    We have created a bureaucratic superstructure whose very existence depends upon the continuation of a "war" on drugs to keep it healthy.

    Does anyone really believe that the destruction of 175,000 acres of poppies by a totalitarian militia will make a difference on the streets of New York or Los Angeles? Or Ridgecrest?

    The traffic in drugs continues and grows. Let's say the Taliban prevail, they wipe out poppy production, and other countries follow suit.

    Have you heard about the new designer drugs that are not dependent on poppy fields? What a relief to the drug Czar and to the prison industry - business as usual after all.

    MAP posted-by: GD

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