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General Interest, Politics

HERE’S A BETTER IDEA

The Pentagon just added 50 names to to their “Wanted: Dead or Alive” list in Afghanistan. Those lucky 50 would be not be Taliban commanders or known terrorists but Afghani heroin dealers, who now supply 90% of that super-expensive recreational drug worldwide. Which has been going on for ages, but these days the mega-profits are being channeled to the Taliban to purchase such bare necessities as rocket launchers, high-explosives, machine guns and a pretty shrewd public relations staff to explain away said rocket launchers, high explosives and machine guns. Everyone knows America is the biggest consumer of heroin, so maybe the Pentagon figures to win battles in two wars with one stroke, the one in Afghanistan and the War on Drugs, both of which have so for been miserable failures.

The Aghani War has never came close to achieving its original and only stated objective, to find and kill or capture Osama bin Laden and his al Queda gang, the people who attacked America so devastatingly on September 11, 2001. When finding the tallest guy in Afghanistan proved to be tedious going, America turned to nation building instead, trying to turn a Medieval confederation of tribal war lords into a Mini-Me of The United States, a task on the order of difficulty of spinning straw into gold or guessing Rumpelstiltskins’s name. First they’d have to let go of some very peculiar notions by civilized standards, like lifting the house arrest of half their population for just one glaring example. Doesn’t seem like such a realistic goal when the Taliban are obsessed with blowing up schools that have the unmitigated gall to teach girls to read.

Speaking of unrealistic goals, the 40 year-old War on Drugs has succeeded only in making America the world’s leader (by 700,000 over our nearest competitor, China) in imprisoning her own citizens, with an astounding 2.2 million served (We’re Number One, We’re Number One!). Meanwhile, recreational drugs are being used now more than ever, and by an increasingly wide demographic of Americans. Seems counter productive, yet a huge multi-trillion dollar infrastructure has been put in place to interdict contraband drugs, prosecute users and dealers and incarcerate them for long periods of time, their hapless butts being the raw material of a booming prison system, one of America’s few growth industries. Bottom line, this Prohibition isn’t working out any better than the original one did back in the 1920s and early 30s.

That was a disaster that led to the rise of large organized murderous cartels that supplied the undiminished demand for alcohol at exorbitantly high prices. The gangsters grew fabulously wealthy, murdering in broad daylight and corrupting countless public officials with their riches. Just like today with the drug cartels. Only these days, some of the cartels are guys like the Taliban, and a lot of the untaxed drug billions drained from the American economy is put into blowing up girls’ schools and American soldiers. Now that’s a new wrinkle, mysteriously predicted by no one in our government despite the fact the the rebel group FARC has been doing the same with cocaine profits in Columbia for decades and every other Hollywood spy movie has a villain with a private army financed by drug profits. Exactly who is hiring our “intelligence” experts? Is Brownie still around? Hell of a job, bozo…

Here’s a better idea: Why not repeal the Prohibition on recreational drugs? All of them, across the board. Sounds crazy, no? Perhaps, but no crazier that repealing Prohibition in the early 1930s. Exactly no new alcoholics were created, and the taxation of alcohol has contributed untold trillions of dollars to local, state and federal treasuries ever since, and the “dealers” of this deadliest of all recreational intoxicants are mild-mannered and law abiding retail clerks, whose only “drive-bys” are to the dry cleaners, Little League fields and fast food joints. Legalize, supervise and tax every drug and there will be no new junkies created and children will have the same access to recreational drugs as they have to alcohol. Why let drug dealers decide at which age children should have powerful drugs made available to them? That’s how it stands now. Pretending otherwise is absurd.

The medical and statistical facts reveal that approximately 10% of the population are addicts. That same 10% of the population consumes 90% of the alcoholic beverages and recreational drugs and always has. No law has prevented them from obtaining their intoxicant of choice no matter what the price, and no number of arrests of drug dealers has prevented their potential replacements from lining up 10 deep to get on the gravy train of untaxed wealth. So even if the Pentagon is successful in slaying all 50 of these Afghani drug lords, there are 100 more second and third bananas waiting eagerly to get paid big time and willing to keep the Taliban supplied with deadly armaments and slick propagandists as the price of doing business.

Some junkie in an alley in Chicago getting sick because he needs his heroin doesn’t think about any of this, he’s going to get his shot no matter what. He’s no different from a drunk in 1928 not caring that his bathtub gin was making the likes of Al Capone rich. So, take the profits away from the dealer. Heroin is made from wildflowers (anybody think those poppy seeds on their bagel is a rare and exotic spice?). Marijuana is a weed. Coca plants are also abundant and wild, valuable only because cocaine is illegal. If recreational drugs were legal, their source crops would be no more expensive that the hops and barley used to make beer, or the rye and corn that produces whiskey. Try running an army or living a billionaire playboy’s life style on an honest farmer’s profit margin some time. While a great many farmers would be able to make a decent living for themselves and their families cultivating such crops at competitive market prices, the hard work involved would discourage gangsters and insurgents, two segments of society not widely celebrated for their work ethic.

The United States could cut its prison, criminal justice and law enforcement systems in half, reserving them only for hardened criminals as originally intended. The drug addicts would be the same people who are drug addicts now, the only difference being that their habits would then be affordable vices just like alcohol and tobacco, cutting crime rates drastically. The other 90% of Americans who are not prone to addiction will remain non-addicts, just as always. Treatment and therapy for addiction could be expanded beyond the solution of locking people away in prison where they learn to be more effective criminals. Our armies in Afghanistan might then be able to do a cave by cave manhunt for bin Laden without having to worry about insurgents obtaining state of the art weapons from obscene drug profits and we could leave that backward quasi-nation to their own devices until they decide to join the rest of humanity in the 21st century.

So, what’s preventing the outbreak of sanity and a bow to hard reality that is the mark of a nation of adults here in America? A nation that outlaws the world’s oldest profession isn’t likely to grow up anytime soon. The term consenting adults is lost on immature voyeurs and killjoys. A nation of Peeping Toms alternately mesmerized and revolted by their unceasing intrusions into the private lives and affairs of others doesn’t want to let go of its vicarious thrills and wagging fingers. Everyone’s private business seems to be everyone else’s (it’s not), with the divine right reserved to condemn and demonize according to capricious whim or religious persuasion, and this in a nation where government and religion are legally barred from even dating, never mind marrying (That’s incest material, resulting in simpleton offspring. See: theocracies).

The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 did not make drinking mandatory, nor did it remove the general consensus that drinking (or drugging) to excess is a particularly nasty habit leading to all sorts of trouble for both individuals and society. It simply bowed to the reality that if some small percentage of the population wanted to throw their lives away there was nothing the rest of us could do to prevent that, laws to the contrary or not. Addiction is, after all, a recognized disease and Prohibition only stopped outlawing a disease, as well as the pleasure of that 90% of humanity who can easily drink responsibly and never become hopeless addicts. If a law was passed outlawing the flu, then the nation would be rife with criminals every winter, and those with head colds would be flirting with lawless behavior.

Only a child would consider passing such a law. Only peevish children require a bogey man to fear or a segment of their peers they can safely snub and punish, even though those peers are doing them no harm. That same schoolyard attitude has infected our society to the point where priggish snobs are scolding complete strangers about their smoking or eating habits. Who’s damned business would that be other than the person with the cigarette or the cheeseburger? It’s their lungs and hips at stake and nobody else’s. But there’s an unspoken creed among these children in adult bodies that they are allowed to be bossy little busybodies sticking their noses wherever they feel like sticking them, so there! Guess again, peewee. There is real harm done with this pervasive attitude, real death, real human misery and real corruption in this life that is anything but the playground game they think it is.

Now that drug cartels are also our enemy combatants killing our precious young soldiers, wouldn’t that be an incentive to put away the Teddy Bears and start acting like grown up men and women already? Maybe be smarter than our enemies and take the untaxed profits away from vicious criminals and enemy soldiers, thus stopping the bleeding of untold billions of dollars from our national economy? We did exactly that with gambling, by the way, and life as we knew it did not vanish. Live and let live perhaps, before some joker decides to outlaw the things that they like to do because some other jokers don’t approve? Apparently not. It’s just too much fun peeking into bedrooms and parlors, well worth the death, corruption, misery and the shamefully bloated prison population that our patently unrealistic policies perpetuate. Let’s grow up.

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