by theyoungturks, Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 06:16:59 AM EDT
Remember we did have a War on Alcohol. It was called Prohibition. In fact, we took that far more seriously than our War on Drugs. We even passed a constituional amendment about it. Of course, the gigantic difference is that we realized that was a mistake and reversed course.
These days it doesn't seem politically possible to ever change course. If you start a war, the only acceptable answer is to escalate it. We can never surrender, even if we should. So, our War on Drugs must go on forever, no matter how futile, no matter how terrible the results and no matter how counterproductive. It would be weak to ever admit we made a mistake.
Over the last two years we spent $1.6 billion on the Merida Project, where we asked the Mexican government to escalate their War on Drugs. The result? Over the last three years, nearly 25,000 Mexicans have been killed in the drug wars. This is madness. The amount of drugs entering our country is not appreciably different. We lost, drugs won.
But the crime and the horrific drug violence are not related to drug users; they're related to drug dealers. It's the prohibition itself that is causing this crime wave. Just like it did during alcohol prohibition, when Al Capone and all the mobsters reigned supreme here. When are we ever going to learn our lesson? We keep spending insane amounts of money on wars that cannot be won.
Like the War on Terror. Who declares war on a tactic? How do you win that war? Until all of the "terrorists" are dead? Which ones? Until everyone promises not to use that tactic anymore? The reality is it's an excuse to spend huge amounts of money on an endless project that will profit the defense industry for decades to come.
But there was one war we decided to give up on -- the War on Alcohol. And thank God we did! Could you imagine if we were still fighting that battle? If they had passed that law, let alone the amendment, these days, we would never reverse position because it would seem unmanly. So, we would be stuck fighting a useless and wildly counterproductive war on a perfectly fine recreational habit. Kind of like we do now with marijuana.
We have to recognize when something isn't working. The Cuban embargo isn't about to breakthrough in its fiftieth year. It didn't work. Let it go. The Castros still run Cuba and it's way past time to try a new approach. It doesn't mean we have to embrace the Cuban government, it just means we have to try something new to tackle the problem.
The same is true of the so-called War on Drugs. If it really was a war, we lost. It turns out people still want to get high, no matter how hard we try to stop them.
We have to end this stupid, senseless war. It's killing us, literally.