Drugs and Terrorism and Insulting Ads

Drugs and Terrorism and Insulting Ads
Posted by CN Staff on January 13, 2003 at 08:34:29 PT
By Cathy Young
Source: Boston Globe 
It was only a matter of time: A new television ad campaign suggests that if you drive a sport -utility vehicle, you are helping terrorism by putting money in the pockets of oil-producing, terrorism-sponsoring countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. One of the commercials cuts from a man at a gas station to a map of the Middle East to video footage of a terrorist training camp, while a little girl's voice says, ''These are the terrorists who get money from those countries every time George fills up his SUV.''
The commercials, which started to air on Sunday, are already causing controversy. Some local television stations have refused to run them because of concerns about their accuracy. Spokesmen for the auto industry have been dismissive, and even Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, a leading proponent of tougher fuel efficiency standards, has distanced himself from the ads' accusatory message. While I don't drive an SUV, I have little sympathy for anti-SUV rhetoric which often substitutes a quasi-religious zeal to denounce America's sins of excessive consumption for facts and reasoned analysis. The ads linking SUV ownership to terrorism are the latest manifestation of this mindset, and one can point to numerous problems with their premise. Drivers of small cars fill up at the same gas pumps as do SUV owners; it's not just what you drive, it's how much you drive. (''I say if your drive your offspring to any superfluous activity besides school, you're supporting terrorism,'' a friend of mine sarcastically suggested.) Critics point out that some of the wealthy sponsors of these commercials live in vast, oil-heated homes, have fleets of cars, and fly private jets. In one sense, however, the ads are most welcome - as a parody of the even more ludicrous commercials from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which assert that anyone who uses drugs is helping support terrorism. The ''drug money funds terrorism'' ad campaign was launched by the government a year ago. First, there were the ads in which clean-cut teenagers and young adults stared into the camera saying things like ''I helped blow up a building.'' A new series of ads, currently on the airwaves, shows two men in suits discussing the connection between drugs and terrorism. The younger man, who looks rather clueless, tries to argue that it's a complicated issue; his older- and wiser-looking companion quickly sets him straight, and he concludes, ''Not that complicated.'' It's hard to think of a more blatant insult to the intelligence of the American public than this crass attempt to exploit the tragedy of Sept. 11 for the antidrug agenda. Do terrorists sometimes benefit from drug profits? The answer is yes. The heroin and opium trade in Central Asia has been identified, in particular, as a source of funding for terrorist groups including the Taliban and Al Qaeda. But there really is more than one side to this issue. The Taliban also profited from our war on drugs, receiving $43 million from the US government in 2001 for the purpose of eradicating Afghanistan's heroin-producing poppy fields. And whatever one thinks of the various pros and cons of drug legalization, it's hard to deny that prohibition is what allows criminal groups, including terrorists, to profit from the drug trade. Meanwhile, as the Drug Policy Alliance notes, the federal authorities have yet to come up with conclusive proof of a single case in which proceeds from drug dealing in the United States went to Middle Eastern terrorists. And some claims about the drug-terror link are downright misleading. Thus, drug war zealots have cited evidence that Ecstasy trade has a Middle Eastern connection, obviously implying a terrorist link. In fact, the organized crime groups allegedly involved in Ecstasy trafficking consist of Israelis from the former Soviet Union - who may not be nice guys, of course, but can hardly be suspected of funneling money to the Al Qaeda. Surely, Americans who get locked up for growing marijuana plants in their basements have not given any aid or comfort to international terrorists. Yet somehow, I doubt that we'll see an ad campaign with the slogan, ''Fight terrorism - grow your own pot!'' In the past two decades, the US government has expended billions of dollars and untold human effort on the War on Drugs. Just when the terrorist threat might have made us question the wisdom of this investment, the drug warriors quickly piggybacked onto the War against Terrorism. Come to think of it, it's not that complicated. Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine. Her column appears regularly in the Globe. This story ran on page A11 of the Boston Globe on 1/13/2003.Source: Boston Globe (MA)Author: Cathy YoungPublished: January 13, 2003Copyright: 2003 Globe Newspaper CompanyContact: letter globe.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance The Drug War Commercial Should Read Ads Say S.U.V. Owners Support Terrorists
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Comment #7 posted by lag on January 13, 2003 at 17:43:26 PT
Wait a sec
I am a green lovin' freak...just not necessarily the environmental kind(although, I am trying to be better about my use of resources(can you say flushing the toilet once a week? j/k)).
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Comment #6 posted by lag on January 13, 2003 at 17:40:16 PT
Why are people taking these ads so seriously?
People seem to be really missing the point, although, I suppose I may be the one missing more than the point. But I see these ads as great satire in so many ways.First off...the ads are great because they really show how ridiculous the drugs == terrorism ads are.But, they also do mention an issue that is very important...just like it may not be my right to relax in my own home with a doob it should be even less your right to drive fuel inefficient vehicles that will do a lot of damage to our environment. I am not even a green loving freak(no offense to the green loving freaks out there, I love ya). The problem is that people are getting all offended..."How dare they accuse me...I can drive what I like." Yet the issue is more an issue of why not look at alternative fuel sources. They are coming, but they could be here a lot sooner if we would invest more proactively in them. They aren't telling you freaks to stop driving your SUVs...but trying to make you think why you might want to.
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on January 13, 2003 at 17:39:35 PT
p4me, about Your link... & Bush: The lunker.
If Europe disaproves of capitol punishment, (dishing up death as punishment), then they should find Prez Bush repulsive and vile and unacceptable. Didn't Bush as Tex Gov executed more Americans than any other... and His brother Jeb is in second place?Seems like bad genealogy, on Biblical levels of Truth realizations.Bush seems like a walking crime. The pervert can not seem to kill enough. He may have started out killing animals to eat then kill them for nothing, and now animals don't provide the high He once sought. Now He is hooked on the hard murder.He must kill men for His sport. Is hunting a gateway kill to harder murder? Do studies show that murderers of men killed animals first?We must pray for His soul, His spirit and His ignorance. Pray for the oppertunity to teach Bush the way to Christ God Our Father.Jesus Christ, was a fisher of men and would have welcomed a lunker like Bush. Through the Holy Spirit of Truth, We can do the work of Christ for this lunker.The Green Collar Worker
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on January 13, 2003 at 15:17:16 PT
"The commercials, which started to air on Sunday, are already causing controversy. Some local television stations have refused to run them because of concerns about their accuracy."If some stations refuse to run the ads because of concerns about their accuracy then I hope these stations refuse to run the bogus ONDCP ads. Talk about inaccurate! Sorry, George.The way out is the way in -Security, Secrecy and a Bush Brother: - The Road To Tyranny (Realplayer Video) Unanswered Questions from 9/11(QuickTime Video, parts 1-4)
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Comment #3 posted by Doobinie on January 13, 2003 at 13:21:08 PT
Every time George fills up his SUV
This is my favourite part of this whole thing. Did anyone else enjoy that the ad's main offender is named George?Ah, George, you Oil Tycoon. We see your schemes, and we choose to make fun of you.Love and Peace,Doobinie
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Comment #2 posted by p4me on January 13, 2003 at 12:52:21 PT
Article on prisons and Invisible Punishmment
here is a good article titled, "When Doing Time Isn't Enough" by ELAINE CASSEL that reviews a book titled "Invisible Punishment."
 " at
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on January 13, 2003 at 10:42:46 PT
Superior citizens don't buy the crap.
It sounds like the majority of citizens understand that the commercials linking cannabis to terrorism is untrue and a waste of resources.
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