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jbartas
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 5:52 am    Post subject: War on Drugs Reply with quote

We've all heard the meme "War on Drugs", but is what's going on really a war? And why are we fighting it anyway? Who started it, and why?

Motives:

I first heard this meme in the 1980s, when the handlers of Ronald Reagan (an actor who portrayed the US President) decided they needed an "Orwell War" to distract voters from what their backers were doing to the middle class. The cold war was old news, and they knew any "hot" (i.e. real) war they started would be over too quickly. They needed a "war" that would drag on for years, but not actually require painful sacrifices from the voters. The "War On Drugs" (WAD) concept fit the bill - it distracted the rubes and enabled the sort of civil rights abrogations that often go with war, all the while masquerading as a social program.

Who were they warring against? Before criminalization, the folks who produced and distributed the drugs were about as criminal as tea growers or candy makers. There was no black market, no gangs, no drug violence - the government would create all that later. Still, the Feds made a decision to war against a productive and law-abiding part of their own population.

Governments attacking a group of their own citizens for political purposes was not new. As recently as WW-II Nazi Germany had slaughtered their own Jewish citizens, and the US had interred Japanese-Americans. It was easy to promote the WW-II era programs since the victims were minorities, and so most citizens could join in the attack without having to worry about going to concentration camps themseslves. But by the time of the Reagan Era, the civil rights movement had made it politically risky to directly victimize specific ethnic groups.

WAD solved this problem - by selecting drugs which were popular with minorities and letting the mainstream alcohol and tobacco vices remain legal, they got all the benefits of a race war without the pesky legal issues. This explains why alcohol, which causes more damage than all the illegal drugs put together, was left alone.


Roots in Racism:

To be fair, the idea of outlawing certain drugs goes back well before Reagan. The US Government first regulated Marijuana via the 1937 "Marijuana Tax Act", passed with the aid of a large set of very dishonest memes.

Some of the Memes were overtly racist, for example, these quotes from Harold Anslinger, the first "Drug Czar":

Quote:
"the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races."

.. and my favorite:

Quote:
"Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."


Politics vs. Science:

One ongoing problem for Drug Warriors is science. The only real opposition to the initial 1937 law came from the AMA, who saw that the science did not support banning hemp.

Richard Nixon also had this problem as he ramped up his own drug war. When saddled with research and impartial observers, his own commission threated to come back with a recommendation to legalize.

It was Reagan's spin-doctors who made the leap to "faith-based" wars. Ignoring science, they proposed to ramp up the drug "war" for purely "moral" reasons, and later (under Bush-1) appointed moralist William Bennett as Drug Czar. Ironically,Mr Bennett turned out to be an addict himself. It was also Reagan's handlers who actually publicized the strict-father-freindly term "Drug War". The combination of moralizing and dismissing science allowed them to escalate the tradition of wasting tax money to weave this bogus "war" into our culture to it's current multi-billion dollar levels.


The Meme Metastasizes:

Over 20 years after Reagan, it seems futile to hope the situation will change anytime soon. After 1 million arrests, 50 billion dollars wasted, and incalculable social and personal damage; why examine this old meme now? Because the meme is morphing. Like the Cold War before it, the drug war is getting old. After 20 years with no progress it's become something of a joke, and no longer inspires wingnuts like it once did. George W Bush' history as a drug abuser is also problematic.

Thus a new "War" meme is required, one with fresh appeal, but retaining classic war-meme benefits: endless war, no possibility of victory, and an ethnic group to blame.

Ladies and Gentlmen, presenting:

"The War on Terror."




Last edited by jbartas on Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:52 am; edited 2 times in total
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KimCooper



Joined: 08 Oct 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

any chance we could end the War on Drugs and save that money?


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jbartas
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Location: Cupertino, California, U.S. of A!

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 3:55 am    Post subject: Important update Reply with quote

Maybe, Kim. Today I discovered there is actually some organized sanity on this issue. On March 1st 2006 Walter Cronkite (yes, THAT Walter Cronkite) published a letter on this topic, essentially reflecting my position that the war on drugs is a horrible waste. He didn't get into the reason this insanity exists, but he did some investigation and profiled recent victims of our governments tragic blundering. This is a compelling article - Mr. Cronkite is indeed a pro.

He also provides a pointer to the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization working to end this insanity. It seems like a good cause - I'm surprised I have not heard of them before. Here's their homepage.

http://www.drugpolicy.org/homepage.cfm

Anyone know more about them?


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jbartas
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another interesting link to freedom fighters, courtesy of "Terrible" on the Blondsense blog:

http://www.marijuananews.com/


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:26 am    Post subject: Anslinger Reply with quote

Mr. Anslinger was one of the most racist government officials, even worse than J. Edgar Hoover (at least Hoover had a black chauffeur.) Anslinger wanted to stage a titantic drug bust, and the victims were going to be the big names of black entertainment, like Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Duke Ellington. His idea was to stop the corrupting influence of jazz by associating it with drug use. He thought that these raids would make him nationally famous, and he would become a bigger law enforcement figure than Hoover. Fortunately, higher-ups in the government did not support the planned raids, and the black entertainers were allowed to go free.


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KimCooper



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Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:29 am    Post subject: hemp versus nylon Reply with quote

I just heard today that the "real" reason marijuana/hemp was made illegal was because of nylon-- they needed to make hemp go away to promote nylon.
I've never heard that explanation before. what do you think? Is it possible that that is the real explanation?
I have also read that the plant that hemp fiber is from is a variety with very little THC, whereas the variety that has a lot of THC has inferior fiber. How would that impact the allegation above? To be sure, our government seems to be unable to comprehend that there is more than one strain of Cannibis, but does that affect the argument?


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KimCooper



Joined: 08 Oct 2005
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Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh-oh, you're going to have to do something about the spammer-trolls. Does anybody really buy whatever they are selling?


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roblimo



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Bradenton, Fleriduh

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 6:09 pm    Post subject: Just Say No to the War on Drugs Reply with quote

"Just say no" was Nancy Reagan's remedy for drug use. Why can't we adopt her famous phrase to the war on drugs itself?


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KimCooper



Joined: 08 Oct 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because we're not in power?



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Sean Higgins



Joined: 11 Jan 2006
Posts: 9
Location: uh... Mountain View

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:14 pm    Post subject: War on Drugs Reply with quote

Don't get TOO serious about critiquing the 'War on Drugs' -- you could end up like Gary Webb:

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1213-31.htm

Which leads me to the possibility of another interesting meme:

conspiracy theorist.


Conspiracy theorist(s): a convenient label for people who've read or researched too much on a given topic, particularly information that is not disseminated or approved by the perpetrators of the crimes being concealed (i.e: JFK miasma, RFK, MLK, Iran-Contra, Bush/Rove election theft, etc., etc.)



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Sean Higgins



Joined: 11 Jan 2006
Posts: 9
Location: uh... Mountain View

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:40 pm    Post subject: Wars for Drugs Reply with quote

There is an uncanny relationship between the location of the United States' wars/covert activity and the spike in availability of the hard drug du jour domestically.
E.g: Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia > heroin/thai stick
Nicaragua, early 80s (Panama, etc) > cocaine
Chile/Brazil/Argentina/Uruguay (70s) > cocaine
Taliban vs. USSR (late 70s -80s) > heroin/hashish
Pakistan ( http://home.iprimus.com.au/korob/fdtcards/Asia.html )
http://www.namebase.org/main4/Ul_2Dhaq-Zia.html
http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/Z/ZiaulHaq.asp
http://www.questia.com/library/encyclopedia/zia-ul-haq-mohammad.jsp?l=Z&p=1

ETC!

Excellent book on these topics: ACID DREAMS: the CIA, the Sixties and Beyond (Martin A. Lee, Bruce Shlain, Grove Press, 2nd ed. 1992)
- SAH



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