Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Drug War and the War on Terrorism

One hand washes the other

It is no surprise that the Taliban wants to legalize opium and that production is at its highest ever in Afghanistan. A conspiracy theorist would say that the western powers enjoy the drug war because it keeps its enemies in cash which in turns gives the powers something to fight against and therefore the people that vote to keep them in office something to believe in/against. That would be kind of cynical. Let's just say that the people fighting the drug war actually thinks it helps.

Who does it help? It helps the people growing the crop and hurts everyone else. The drug war decreases the supply of drugs which means that those still in business make more money. And it means those that are still in business are the most violent and have the largest systems of illegal networks.

Is this something the 'western world' (vis USA) really wants? Isnt it about time to say lets stop making money for the 'enemy' and causing divisive havoc? It's silly to have our podunct little aid programs trying to encourage 'alternative crops' when the big cash is in poppies. It makes us look ridiculous and just encourages anti-US sentiment abroad.

If the US government really wants to discourage people exercising their own judgement (cigarettes anyone ? alcohol anyone? ) and making some drugs illegal and others not (hypocritical anyone? ) then the war should be fought on the demand side which is what they do in more civilized western nations. No, the idea is not to give out needles and have public shooting galleries and opium dens. These are good ideas but have bad unintended consequences, not least of which is why should people who pay taxes subsidize the pleasure-seeking of others.

The idea is to get the government out of the way so people can make their own choices based on their own experiences and needs. The drug war is ridiculous and becomes more so every day.