Legalizing Drugs To Combat Terrorism

Legalizing Drugs To Combat Terrorism
Posted by FoM on May 29, 2000 at 18:05:59 PT
By Arthur Cole
Source: Union-Tribune 
Drug addiction is a terrible thing. It robs people of their happiness, their livelihood, their will to live. It tears apart families, destabilizes communities and places a tremendous burden on society as a whole. America, and the world, should never relax their vigilance against drug addiction. 
And yet, it is becoming increasingly clear that the ongoing prohibition of narcotics has not only failed to stem the flow of drugs into our country but is now placing the life of every single U.S. citizen in jeopardy.How? By funneling billions of dollars out of the U.S. economy and directly into the hands of international terrorists who, most experts agree, are only a stone's throw away from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. State Department recently released its annual assessment of terrorist activities around the world. Aside from accusing the usual countries of providing safe havens for terrorists, the report provided a rather candid analysis of the funding mechanisms behind some of the larger terrorist and revolutionary organizations around the world. The report states that since the fall of the Soviet Union, international terrorism is no longer funded principally by rogue states seeking to further political aims. Rather, most organizations now operate independently from any one nation and are held together by fundamental religious or ideological beliefs, with their primary support coming from international narcotics trafficking and other illegal operations. In other words, the United States and other democratic countries are now the primary source of funds supporting the terrorist activities against our citizens. Two excellent cases in point are the organizations that the U.S. government has drawn a bead on: the followers of Osama bin Laden, believed to be responsible for the bombings of our embassies in Africa, and the FARC guerrillas waging war against the government of Colombia. Bin Laden is based in Afghanistan, the world's leading producer of poppy, the basic ingredient in heroin, while the Colombians are closely tied with the cocaine cartels of South America.Top officials are so concerned over the likelihood of terrorists gaining weapons of mass destruction that the federal government last week conducted two simultaneous drills -- one in Portland, Maine, the other in Denver, Colo. -- to gauge the readiness of federal, state and local authorities to respond to such an attack. The scenario is that terrorists have unleashed chemical and biological agents in two of our major cities, with casualties in the thousands.The knee-jerk reaction to this type of threat is to redouble our efforts to stamp out the drug trade: to put more police on the streets, mandate stiffer sentences for traffickers, increase interdiction efforts and step up crop eradication programs in South America. But after 30 years of continuing escalation on this front with little in the way of results (we can't even keep our maximum security prisons drug-free), it is time to adopt a different approach. Legalization, even of hard street narcotics, is the best way to eliminate the terrorists' funding source before they acquire the capital needed to purchase chemical, biological or even nuclear material and the necessary delivery systems and technical know-how to unleash these weapons.Advocates of maintaining the status quo regarding our drug laws view any consideration toward legalization as heresy. Legalization would lead to rampant drug abuse among our citizens, hampering our nation with enormous social problems as sober-minded people rush out to become heroin addicts. This is highly debatable (how many of your friends and neighbors are anxiously awaiting the chance to buy heroin but abstain simply because it's illegal?). But even if consumption does increase as a result of legalization, wouldn't this be preferable to an anthrax attack on New York City or a smallpox outbreak in Los Angeles? For many people, legalization conjures up images of open-air drug festivals in which the same thugs operating in the black market are free to prowl around grade schools with no fear of prosecution. But legalization does not mean that all the laws are wiped off the books leading to a general free-for-all. Quite the opposite, in fact. Legalization allows us to introduce all sorts of controls over a market where we now have no control at all.It could be structured so that only the states or the federal government can establish local clinics, staffed by medical professionals, providing narcotics with warning labels regarding safe dosages, dangerous interactions with alcohol and other drugs, where to go for counseling, etc. Legalization would also alleviate the enormous collateral damage that is being done to our nation and our cities in particular. Contrary to popular opinion, most drug-related crimes are not committed by strung out addicts robbing convenience stores for drug money. Rather, it is rival drug gangs battling over turf.It is drug deals gone bad. The bullets start flying and the innocent bystanders -- the little girl playing in her front yard, the elderly couple waiting for a bus -- are the ones to get hit. Legalize the trade and the violence goes away.And study after study has shown that it is much more effective, and cheaper, to treat addicts for their addiction, rather than lock them in prison to become hardened criminals only to be released back into society to make room for the next wave of non-violent drug offenders. What is most unfortunate about our current drug laws is that the issue is not even on the radar screen of most Americans. It's not an issue for the upcoming elections and there is no national urgency to change in this era of budget surpluses and falling crime rates. A few billion on a failed policy? There's nothing special about that. Money being siphoned off by people who would use it to attack us? We needn't worry about that until the problem arrives at our front doors. But when that problem does arrive -- when, not if -- it will come in the form of mass suffering and death more horrible and in far greater numbers than even the worst drug scourge. Our only hope is to prevent such an attack before it comes by diverting the drug profits away from the black market and those who would cause such destruction and into the hands of the government where it can be used to treat drug addiction and address other social ills.If we fail to act, we need not look very far for the source behind the next major terrorist attack. We merely have to go to our own bathroom mirrors and take a long hard look.Cole is a free-lance journalist living in Hope Valley, R.I. NewsHawk: Celaya  Published: May 28, 2000 Copyright: 2000 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.CannabisNews Articles On Legalization:
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on May 30, 2000 at 08:34:28 PT:
Feeding the tiger that wants to eat *you*.
V. I. Lenin, one of the founders of modern terrorism, once made a startling statement. One of his cronies asked him what they would do with all the bourgoisie when the Revolution came. Lenin said that te revolutionaries would hang them all. When the cronie asked where will they get all the rope needed to hang so many people, Lenin quipped that the bourgoisie would sell them all the rope they needed.All through the Cold War, the Western powers traded with the Soviet Union. And the Communists used the trade credits and practically free loans to build the war machine that threatened to extinguish life on this planet 20 times over. And of course, we weren't to be outdone; first we feed the monster, and then we have to build the cage for it, and the guns to protect ourselves if it gets out. Trillions of dollars spent in defense...against something we had a big hand in making.Rather like the DrugWar: our citizens spend millions for something dirt cheap, which ostensibly terrifies the government, which supposedly out of concern for their 'safety' spends billions of dollars trying to prevent them from doing so. It erodes civil liberties to protect them. It kills citizens in order to save them. It creates essentially do nothing jobs in law enforcement to solve an unsolvable problem. Just like the military/industrial complex before it, it feeds the monster it publicly screams it wants to slay, because it is, as one old Cold Warrior told me years ago, "It's the only game in town where you still win even with the house taking its' percentage."Yep, the government, by continuing this farce, is practically giving the narcos all they need to do their worst. Only this tiger is far more willing to bite. 
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Comment #1 posted by MikeEEEEE on May 29, 2000 at 18:53:55 PT
Hate fuels hate
The hate for drugs in this government has fueled a hate for the US abroad, an interesting concept.
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