United States' Answer To Drug War Proves Harmful 

United States' Answer To Drug War Proves Harmful 
Posted by CN Staff on October 09, 2003 at 08:04:37 PT
By Ben Lando, Opinion Columnist
Source: Western Herald
In order for the war on terrorism to be successful, citizens of every country, especially those of the United States, need to do their part. It's the effort by ordinary citizens -- keeping a look out for terrorists and those who help them, staying up-to-date on the risk those people of interest pose and taking action when necessary -- that will be a key to victory and eventually ensure the safety of all citizens of this planet.
So, as the self-proclaimed director of the citizen's faction of the U.S. Homeland Security Department (HSD), I request all taxpaying U.S. citizens to turn themselves in to the regional HSD office. Those who cooperate will only be charged with one count of financing terrorist activities in Colombia -- a deal I suggest you take, or be hunted down like your al-Qaida, Taliban and Republican Guard brethren. U.S. taxpayers contributed to a $605 million check for military assistance to Colombia last year, money that paid for chemicals to be sprayed on the citizens of that country. One could compare that to what Saddam Hussein did to the Kurds, since the U.S. government knew about that as well, but in the Colombia case, the U.S. government helped plan the chemical attack, and paid for it, as part of a program called Plan Colombia.In an attempt to curb the flow of cocaine from Colombia to the millions of cokeheads in this country, the U.S. and Colombian governments have decided it's OK to drop loads of the enhanced version of the weed killer Roundup across the countryside in order to kill the fields of coca plants that are grown there. But when dropping chemicals from crop-dusting planes at much higher altitudes than the process is designed for, there is no accuracy; when the crop dusting planes strike, part of the chemical falls straight to the ground, and the rest hovers in the sky, literally, like a black cloud. Since there's no controlling it after it is unleashed it from the planes, it falls beyond the intended patches of coca plants, onto legal agriculture and livestock, into bodies of water and, most deplorably, into the lungs of people. The warnings on the bottle of regular Roundup should say it all; urging users not to ingest the chemical because it will irritate the digestive tract "as demonstrated by signs and symptoms of mouth membrane irritations, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea." It also warns against adding it to bodies of water "such as ponds, lakes or streams as Roundup can be harmful to certain aquatic organisms." Unfortunately, the lives and livelihoods of innocent people aren't valued that much by the U.S. and Colombian governments, in the context of the 30-year struggle called the "war on drugs." Putting human life at risk in order to kill a plant is not only a violation of basic human rights that supersede any man-made piece of legislation, but also a badly formed and illogical policy. If someone wants to do cocaine, someone will produce it, regardless of the legal and moral consequence. The only thing that will change is the price, increasing as the risk and penalty does. So in effect, the misguided drug policy Americans' pay for is actually making drug production more profitable, making drug traffickers more money and increasing the incentive to grow and sell it. It's not the kingpins that grow the coca though; it's the poor peasant farmers just trying to feed their family. Yet the U.S. government wants the farmers to stop growing a crop that makes money and start growing more bananas. But as militant, by-any-means-necessary capitalism has taught the world, the bottom line is the bottom line, which is why most farmers don't care about a crack-head in Kalamazoo. They have said no to the alternative crop subsidy program, which is where the U.S. pays farmers to grow crops other than coca, in order to stem production. Coca plants make more money than legal crops though, and the drug traffickers offer door-to-door service. The United States expects farmers to grow crops that don't make as much money, pack them into forms of transportation they don't have, drive them through the country on non-existent roads and put them into markets that they obviously don't have. Growing coca makes more sense and cents.In these difficult financial times, government-spending priorities need to also be cost effective. According to the conservative RAND Corporation, drug treatment is 23 times more cost effective than aerial fumigation in the attempt to stop drug use. As the federal deficit grows, so do the bills for war, while tax revenue goes down (thanks W). That leaves the ax to fall on the programs that benefit the neediest among us, like elementary school funding and veteran's benefits (no child left behind and support our troops, eh?). On May 1, 2003, President Bush used these cautionary words to declare the end of major combat in Iraq: "Any person, organization, or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and equally guilty of terrorist crimes. Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilized world -- and will be confronted." Is this nation ready to look in the mirror? Do Americans support terrorism as a double-standard policy? Are Americans so blinded by fear that whatever the Democrats and Republicans in D.C. say actually goes without critical thought? If so, then there goes the purpose of democracy, and any meaning behind the constitution and the real struggle for freedom both at home and abroad. The purpose of the United States then becomes as transparent as the air we breathe. At lease there's no Roundup in it.Ben Lando, a Western Herald opinion columnist, is a junior form Kalamazoo majoring in political science. Source: Western Herald (MI)Author: Ben Lando, Opinion ColumnistPublished: October 08, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Western Herald Website:  Herald-Opinion groupwise.wmich.eduRelated Articles & Web Site:Colombia Drug War News Scientists Legalize Controversial Herbicide Safe Are Your Illegal Drugs? 
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Comment #9 posted by BGreen on October 10, 2003 at 06:37:45 PT
Sanho Tree is his name
just for the record.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #8 posted by sukoi on October 10, 2003 at 04:17:30 PT
More info on this subject
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Comment #7 posted by ekim on October 09, 2003 at 20:25:38 PT
go ben you are doing great
FoM remember back a while ago when you posted a story on the spraying from Shno Tree (sorry if its misspelled.) i sent it to Ben and right away he called Shno Tree and got a interview which he did live on WMU radio in Kzoo a couple of months back. Ben is a stand up guy, been on the line for years that i have known him and many more before that. Today on the front page of the Kal Gazette it said Feds send in Gov officals defend P. act today. The city has just written a small swip at the act. mike 
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Comment #6 posted by Arthur on October 09, 2003 at 17:11:41 PT:
U.S. government.
LOOK at what the U.S. government and the C I A did to a lot of Service men in 1960's with LSD and herbicide agent orgen and paraquat and other drugs and they are not terrorists. that was under   President  L. B. J. and some of us still flash back and they say that it is our imagination. but WHO is the bus**ards            THE U.S. government.
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Comment #5 posted by Max Flowers on October 09, 2003 at 14:01:27 PT
Mr. Lando, nice to see you are waking up
Are Americans so blinded by fear that whatever the Democrats and Republicans in D.C. say actually goes without critical thought?
[end]Sorry to tell you Ben, the vast majority are, yes. But we're glad you've woken up and joined the conscious.quote:
If so, then there goes the purpose of democracy, and any meaning behind the constitution and the real struggle for freedom both at home and abroad.
[end]Again, I say nice to have you awake and aware Ben, now please go and raise the alarm to the legions of other brainwashed, pawn "journalists" whose ranks you have happily left. We need about a million more like you.MF
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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on October 09, 2003 at 10:21:58 PT
No Child Left Behind
Everybody else is, though. Poverty is on the increase. 43 million Americans are without health insurance. Congress dawdles with a war in Iraq while hapless US citizens get left behind. The drug war is lost, but who cares? Just keep spending money on frivolous ventures that will accomplish nothing except misery for the marginalised masses. What the heck, what can be done? That's government.If you're not with it, you're against it. If you're not with your government, you're going to get left behind. 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 09, 2003 at 10:10:12 PT
NIDA Launches Site for 11-14 Year Olds
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Comment #2 posted by Virgil on October 09, 2003 at 09:22:22 PT
Correction/mutation to comment1
Cannabis Prohibition is a million times more harmful than regulated cannabis ever could have been.
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Comment #1 posted by Virgil on October 09, 2003 at 08:54:40 PT
The article makes sense
A terrorist is anyone Bu$h says is a terrorist even though in actualiy no country has more weapons of mass destruction or inflicts more terror in the world than the US.Loretta Nall used the word unjustifyable at about 11 minutes and 50 seconds into the Pot-tv news for October 8th in reference to CP- do not want any fuzzy talk concerning CP so here goes.Cannabis Prohibition is unjustifyable.Cannabis Prohibition is a million times more harmful than legalized cannabis ever could have been.On a Show Me The Movie thought, I cannot get Reagan's Bedtime for Bonzo out of my head with a new title "Bud for Bonzo." I would like to see SNL do a skit with the actor playing Reagan lying in bed and Bonzo getting him high while sleeping and waking him up by cooking breakfast. "Bonzo, you sure can cook." Yeah, get Reagan fried.
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