Our Most Shameful War

No, I’m not writing about Viet Nam.

Although the veterans of Viet Nam, their memorial, are now being accorded respect for the bravery and sacrifice they gave along with their fullness of patriotic self, that war is not – probably never will be – well viewed or considered. Indeed, it was not long ago, that even the veterans were considered second class patriots, tarred by the same brush as that war, rejected as a mere political contrivance, unnecessarily undertaken by politicians for less than noble ideals.

The Viet Cong’s Tet Offensive, that pushed that war to proliferation began January 31, 1968. The war ended in 1975. Eight years of our brave young people slogging from one nameless jungle hamlet to another, surrounded by a population of people that could not be distinguished in face or clothing from the enemy, inhaling Agent Orange that we sprayed on our own troops to defoliate the jungle, suffering, dying,  for what measurable end?

I have written practically once each year for longer than the Viet Name war lasted, that the war against Drug Trafficking could be stopped by mid-night tonight, or any night, with the stroke of a pen; that the interdicting, the spraying of chemicals on foreign crops, the violence, the corruption, the deaths, murders, executions, which is not only totally useless, but also totally unnecessary, could end just like that (snap your fingers)..

I only need 20 seconds to have even you agree with me that Legalization of Drugs would end Drug Trafficking this very night. Remember I said trafficking, not addiction. Those are two very separate, very distinct tragedies. Legalization, making drugs available to whoever needs them, whenever they need them – give them away free for the first year – under strict state controls, just as we now control alcohol – which is also a mind altering substance – would eliminate entirely the profit in drugs. Who would spend money for, and therefore, who would smuggle, swallow condoms of heroin, fill table legs with cocaine, for something an addict could get for free, 79 cents a pint? Didn’t legalization eliminate bootleg booze?

Thus, legalization would eliminate profit, which would eliminate trafficking. And it is trafficking that produces the money, the corruption, the need for interdiction, foreign pay-offs, undercover cops, poison drugs, etc. etc.

What about the addict problem, you ask? Won’t legalization make even more addicts. Let me ask you this: you, reading this, do you want a snoot full right now, free or otherwise? If you don’t, you’re not an addict. If you do, you are. And those who are addicted, or could be addicted if they gave it away for free, could be treated like medical patients, alcoholics, not criminals, counseled, not jailed, helped, not vilified.

Did you know that 40% of our police, courts, jails, are filled with non-violent drug offenders, addicts or couriers. That cost is staggering. 40 % of 2,500,000 prisoners, is one million times approximately $30,000 cost per prisoner per year, is $30 billion right there; not to mention the cost of the judges, the police, the D.E.A. agents throughout the world. What about paying foreign governments and foreign farmers not to grow plants that produce drugs (defoliation of another color). The total cost of all this is never tallied in full by any Government agency. You couldn’t take it. 

Is this so called ‘war on drugs’ distinguishable from the Viet Nam war in its foolishness, its faceless enemy, the fighting on terrain not different from every town and village in America? Its shameful cost?

But politicians know that this wasteful, fatuous war, accomplishes nothing, costs more than any war this nation has ever fought. But they’re afraid to acknowledge this reality, end this war, because of your stupidity – yes, you, the person reading this article – your stupidity.

Politicians couldn’t care less if your kid takes drugs of  dies of an over dose. Did they care if your kids sucked in Agent Orange or had their brains blown out in a Viet Nam jungle?  They couldn’t care less of the cost, or the principle – what principle – behind this ‘war’. They don’t care about anything about this pointless drug war, except that right now, standing against the war on drugs means no election: Election! Elect me, Me. Me. ME.

Politicians don’t care what they vote for, as long as you vote for them. And they’re afraid that your little brain won’t be able to handle the reality, the logic, of the end of the trafficking war, the beginning of the treatment program. They’re afraid that if they even voice their opinion that legalization could effectively end the drug war, that you won’t elect them again. And, frankly, that’s the ONLY motivation they have – election.

Politicians may not have orchides, but they really do have great ears. They can hear word of mouth like it’s a drum roll. They can hear when people in the street, you, begin to think, maybe we are peeing up a rope, maybe we could get more done if we eliminated trafficking; when you begin to wonder, could legalization really end the profit in drugs? with the profit out of drugs, would trafficking really stop? If trafficking stopped, could that money treat addicts? Could the vast, uncounted sums of money be better spent on eliminating the need, hunger, addiction for drugs?

If you even started thinking these thoughts, told it to your neighbor, who told it to his other neighbor, who told it, etc., etc., you know who would eventually react as if it were their very own ideas. You got it! I don’t even have to mention who.