In Arizona, the news lately has been focused on the new law, aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants. Lost in the spotlight has been the plaintive cry to help from those who live near the border: Call out the National Guard and help us patrol our streets. Our police force is outgunned and outmanned.
In Afghanistan, the National Guard is only part of the elements that are in theater, fighting the Taliban. But as they fight the Taliban, they are also fighting those who make a lot of money from heroin production.
In Washington, the attorney general says he won’t prosecute those who use marijuana. The president says little about the carnage in his home town of Chicago, and blames the people of Arizona for passing a tough law he calls “misguided.”
The war in Iraq may be nearing an end (thanks to George Bush’s surge) and we may have some good momentum in Afghanistan, but we are losing the war on drugs.
The drug runners are infiltrating this country, terrorizing our citizens from the Southwest to the Midwest, outmanning and outgunning our local law enforcement officials, and supplying our kids, from the suburbs to the cities, with destructive narcotics. And we are not doing much to stop it.
In fact, our chief law enforcement official has sent a dubiously ambiguous message on the matter of drugs. Yes, they are kind of illegal, he says. But don’t worry. We won’t get you.
Not exactly “Say No to Drugs,” is it?
I am ambivalent about the war on drugs. I think one of the dumbest things this country has ever done was enact Prohibition, and one of the smartest things it ever did was to repeal it.
And the war on drugs seems to be playing out the same way that war on booze played out 80 years ago. People are going to do what people are going to do, and quite clearly, there is a percentage of people who want to use narcotics.
Those people are creating a market that is worth billions, that is completely unregulated, that is completely untaxed, and that is completely in the hands of very evil people.
The argument against making drug use legal is that it will push up the percentage of people who use drugs from 1 to 5 percent to 10 to 20 percent, and those users will have an even more destructive impact on society.
That may very well be true. I am not enough of an expert to know for sure.
But it is my observation that we are currently losing the war on drugs. Our police officers are outmanned and outgunned. Many parts of our country are facing real security threats from drug gangs, and many of those drugs gangs are extremely violent and ruthless. If we don’t take concrete steps right now, this situation is only going to get worse.
We should either call out the National Guard or seriously rethink our national drug policies. We should either quit the war on drugs or we should win it. The current situation is simply not sustainable.