human rights Drug War dove key hands

Is America addicted to the Drug War?

The Drug War grinds on as a monotonous, dehumanizing routine:

News media play up public fears to sell copy. Politicians sell themselves as being “tough on crime.” Every year, they ban more activities, and pass longer prison sentences, more forfeiture laws, and higher enforcement budgets. The next year they repeat this same ritual.

Well paid bureaucrats scrutinize the legal system for glimmers of compassion, discretionand freedom to close the “loopholes.” Drug warriors write Anti-This Acts and Omnibus That Laws and forbid discussion of reform. Human rights violations and conflicts of interest within the prison and law enforcement industries are accepted as a regrettable aspect of doing war. Another record size property seizure; more mothers in prison; one marijuana arrest every 49 seconds with over 11 million busts served; the biggest law enforcement budgets in history, the most sweeping and intrusive police powers ever.

Our government shows advanced symptoms of being addicted to its own Drug War. Politicians habitually increase their drug law dosage. Constantly looking for a stronger fix, they spend the nation into debt without getting satisfaction. Our leaders refuse to admit the destructive consequences of their behavior. Drug enforcement agents abuse the public trust. The media reinforce the negative behavior while living in morbid denial of their own role, like a co-dependent partner.

Lost in the frenzy is a simple fact. Illicit drug users are people, too. Most casual drug users are peaceful and productive members of society until they become casualties of the Drug War.

Your Home Is Your Castle:
The Right to Privacy

Privacy has long been considered an implied right of the Constitution, as described in the Fourth Amendment; but what this covers is vague and has been eroded dramatically by the Drug War.

Courts have ruled that chemical analysis of body fluids, and body cavity searches by police are not excessive. Government agents are allowed to pose as people’s friends, rifle through their trash, monitor telephone and electrical bills, peer over fences, fly over homes, scan them with infrared sensors, heat detectors and even enhanced satellite surveillance photography to see what Americans are doing in their own backyards.

The Quagmire of Another Vietnam?

The parallels between the Vietnam conflict and the Drug War are many. Some Drug War equipment is even leftover from Vietnam, such as night viewing equipment, the helicopters used for fly-over surveillance in marijuana eradication programs, etc.

Both wars have hidden political agendas and ambiguous military goals. And in both wars, government officials who disagree with the policy remain silent. Will it take 30 years for the equivalent of a Robert MacNamara to step forward and admit to knowing that the Drug War is terribly wrong?

 Vietnam War

Unwinnable war
Innocent civilian casualties
Grassroots opposition
Indistinguishable enemy
“Search and destroy”
Same villages won and lost
Body count “victories”
Dehumanizing the enemy
Fighting “Communism”
$8.57 billion / year avg.
21 years (1954-1975)
$180 billion total outlay
Drug War 

Unwinnable war 
Innocent civilian casualties
Grassroots opposition
Indistinguishable enemy
“Search and destroy” 
Same streets won and lost
Arrest & seizure “victories”
Dehumanizing the enemy
Fighting “Drugs” 
$18.4 b. / 2000 est. (federal only)
27+ years (1972-?) 
$??? billion (fed, state and local)


Author, cannabis expert witness, journalist, artist