A War on Drugs Is a War on Ourselves 

A War on Drugs Is a War on Ourselves 
Posted by CN Staff on October 13, 2006 at 08:09:07 PT
By Charles Nguyen 
Source: UCSD Guardian
USA -- "The war on drugs has failed." Those are the words of retired newsman Walter Cronkite from a March Huffington Post blog. Some argue that Cronkite single-handedly sparked the movement against the Vietnam War — when he speaks, people listen. I did too. Twenty-four years ago, former President Ronald Reagan perpetuated an American convention of the Oval Office: proclaim a war on drugs. In his Oct. 14 yearly radio speech, the 40th president repeated words used by the successive administrations of Bush I, Willie I, Willie II and Bush II.
The American government’s encounter with drugs began before Reagan, and the first inklings of hostility date back to the ‘70s, with former President Richard Nixon’s founding of the Drug Enforcement Agency. But it was the success of drug enforcement agencies in the ‘80s, romanticized by Don Johnson’s highlighter suit jackets and Ferraris, which cemented the dunce cap on presidents for years to come. The “war on drugs,” along with health care, remains one of the longest, and most costly, political fumbles in history. Currently, it costs our federal government about $600 per second, according to the Office of National Drug Policy’s budget. Ironically enough, Americans’ attack on drugs goes hand in hand with the hippies of the 60s. The counterculture birthed from free love, free drugs and paraded in “Easy Rider” continued through the decades. The whiplash against drugs came in government form, and was renamed for each decade (1960s: Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, 1970s: Drug Enforcement Administration, 1980s: South Florida Task Force, 1990s: Office of National Drug Control Policy). Reagan’s reign — which began with a campaign statement that marijuana was “probably the most dangerous drug in America” — emphasized enforcement over treatment, and the trend has continued, especially regarding still-Schedule I marijuana. About half of all drug arrests are related to marijuana, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. After Reagan, Bush Sr. created the Office of Drug Control Policy, one of the most storied enemies of drug America. Led by a “drug czar,” the department has helmed the social, cultural and legislative “war on drugs.” The first drug czar, William Bennett, campaigned to establish and bolster the druggie stereotype, aka that lazy, deflated stoner we see on anti-drug commercials. But it’s the latest drug czar, albeit a fake one, who caught my fancy. “If there is a war on drugs, then many of our family members are the enemy,” said fictional U.S. drug czar Robert Wakefield, a character played by Michael Douglas in the Oscar-winning film “Traffic.” “And I don’t know how you wage war on your own family.” It’s a mentality we all should adopt. Drugs are in our life, burrowed in our children and colleagues. To continue this war would be to incite battles with the people around us. The anecdotes are countless, but eerily similar: a kid clueless about the justice system makes a stupid mistake, and pays a life sentence for it. For reference, see the account in “Reefer Madness” — a written 2003 exposé of America’s marijuana laws — of Mark Young, an Indianan with a clean record sentenced to life after connecting a marijuana seller with a buyer. There are a million stories like his. But still the war continues, as do the extremely conservative views of our nation’s drug czars. Following Bennett was Barry McCaffrey, who secretly and illegally inserted anti-drug messages in advertisements. Bush Jr.’s version, John Walters, is no better. According to Time magazine, the leading voice on America’s drug policy came to a drug treatment center in Reno in 2002, talked about billionaires funding efforts to decriminalize marijuana, and then addressed them frankly: “Let’s stop hiding. I’m here. Where are you?” Yes, let’s fight. Let’s goad and provoke until your child, your coworker, your boss and almost every teenager is jailed. To take cues from our nation’s leaders such as Walters would be to damn anyone who has ever tried drugs. Think about that. Think about facetime with Walters and what he would say to you, your lab partner, your mother or anyone who could have possibly experimented. I know he would probably hate me. A lot. And not even former President Bill Clinton, the lone Democratic president since 1981, can claim a more liberal drug stance than his Republican counterparts. The famous “smoked, but didn’t inhale” excuse might have been a sign, but Clinton kept the same stranglehold on Drug America as did Reagan and Bush Sr. The number of marijuana arrests during Clinton’s tenure hit historic levels. American policy is as lazy as the stoner stereotype it peddles through its politicians. Imagine this scenario as a commercial from the now-defunct D.A.R.E. program: Sober kid: “Hey man, feel like revolutionizing America’s drug policy? Create a comprehensive, but standardized treatment system for addicts? Permit but regulate substance abuse to pull profits from government-taxed goods? Lower crime rates, while sparing crunched prisons and courts and prosecutors’ social lives?” Stoned kid: “Nah man, let’s just do what Reagan did.” Sober kid: “Want to at least talk about it?” Stoned kid: “Nah man, he’s a movie star. Let’s just listen to him.” Perhaps it isn’t laziness, but just another one of America’s reactive prototypes of policy, bound to an uncompromising set of morals. This commentary, facing the anti-drug mob, will most likely go unheard, like so many choked efforts to the same means. But I’ll play America’s version of “Simon/Reagan Says.” Cronkite says: It’s time to rethink how we deal with drugs. Complete Title: Let’s Face the Truth, America: A War on Drugs Is a War on Ourselves Source: UCSD Guardian, The (CA Edu)Author: Charles Nguyen Published: Friday, October 13, 2006 - Issue 11, Volume 118    Copyright: 2006 UCSD GuardianContact: editor ucsdguardian.orgWebsite: Articles: Hippie-Hating and Baiting Nixon Campaigned, FBI Watched Lennon
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Comment #10 posted by The GCW on October 13, 2006 at 16:41:11 PT
Cronkite, Mirken & We smell scum.
US AL: PUB LTE: White House That Didn't Shoot StraightPubdate: Thu, 12 Oct 2006Source: Anniston Star (AL)Referenced: Bruce MirkenWHITE HOUSE THAT DIDN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT Re "White House That Didn't Shoot Straight" ( Editorial, Oct. 9 ): As your editorial noted, it is appalling that research shows the White House anti-drug ad campaign to have been ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst. Far worse is the fact that the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy ( ONDCP ) deliberately hid the evaluation showing the program's failure from both the public and Congress. On Oct. 7 the National Journal reported: "Westat released the results to the White House office in 2004. But the report went no further for a year and a half, until the Government Accountability Office demanded its release in August 2006. According to John Carnevale, the former director of budget and planning for the ONDCP, the office did not like the report's conclusions and chose to sit on it -- even though Congress had appropriated $1.2 billion between 1998 and 2004 for the ONDCP's media campaign, according to GAO data." Every official responsible for this fiasco should be fired immediately. Failing that, Congress should cut off their funding without delay. Bruce Mirken Director of Communications Marijuana Policy Project Washington, D.C.
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on October 13, 2006 at 13:42:07 PT:
Sorry, made a mistake
Mr. Kampia runs MPP, not MAPP. my bad. But the rest stands.
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Comment #8 posted by observer on October 13, 2006 at 11:54:39 PT
the term: "Drug War" 1936
Here's an example of the term "Drug War" used in the movie "Reefer Madness" in 1936."FEDERALS AID POLICE IN DRUG WAR"
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on October 13, 2006 at 10:23:24 PT
Thank you. I got it now. I thought he meant Bush I as in the first Bush president and Bush II the current one. Well now I'm totally confused. 
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on October 13, 2006 at 10:21:44 PT:
And, yes, I was shouting. Deliberately.This just ticked me off: Bush Jr.’s version, John Walters, is no better. According to Time magazine, the leading voice on America’s drug policy came to a drug treatment center in Reno in 2002, talked about billionaires funding efforts to decriminalize marijuana, and then addressed them frankly: “Let’s stop hiding. I’m here. Where are you?”Well, he's at it again with his talking points about 'outsiders' funding 44. The memory seethes. Three years later. Three years later, after he offered to debate, first, and it seems ol' Johnny has forgotten something:Mr. Kampia of MAPP offered to meet him in the public arena, and go rhetorical mano-a-mano with him. And what did brave-noise-making Johnny do? HE EFFIN' WIMPED OUT, IS WHAT HE DID! Turned tail and ran like a scalded dog, yelping about all the research had been done and a debate wasn't necessary. I repeat: John P(ee). Walters cowardly cut and ran from a debate. He chickened out. He developed a yellow streak down his back to match the one in his mind, heart and soul. He talks a great game, but like my Marine Da always says about BSers, he's "got a bulldog mouth and a puppydog's  $$." And he still won't debate. He has a golden opportunity to make his case in Colorado by meeting face-to-face with Mason Tvert on a podium and settle this issue in the public's mind once and for men do.It's been just over three years since Johnny made his challenge...and backed down like the spineless punk he is. I remember his cowardly 'advancing backwards' towards the exit, and I'm not the only one. C'mon, Johnny, I know your goons read here. I know that if anything of interest pops up, your goons tell you. We've been waitin' for ya. There's still an opportunity to show us you a have a pair. Mason Tvert has thrown the gauntlet. What about it?
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Comment #5 posted by potpal on October 13, 2006 at 10:04:18 PT
willie1 and willie2
Clinton's '2' terms...
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 13, 2006 at 09:57:31 PT
I misunderstood what you meant. I thought he was talking about Bennett and Clinton.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 13, 2006 at 09:55:53 PT
I thought that was what the writer meant but Bennett wasn't a president so it threw me.
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on October 13, 2006 at 09:47:56 PT
Willie I, Willie II 
Maybe those are the two terms served by William (Willie or Slick Willie)Jefferson Clinton.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 13, 2006 at 09:38:40 PT
A Question
Who is Willie I and Willie II?
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