Pubdate: Thu, 14 Feb 2002
Source: Athens News, The (OH)
Copyright: 2002, Athens News
Author: Dan Wolf
Bookmark: (Terrorism)


The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy wants you to believe 
that domestic drug consumption supports international terrorism. This is 
only somewhat true and in a very circuitous way.

However, the context of the delivery of this message makes it hypocritical. 
At the most superficial level, the Superbowl advertisements' argument that 
the underworld network in place to support the drug trade can easily be 
utilized by other malignant elements suggests a solution the White House 
Office is expressly against. Their allegations, while true, ignore the fact 
that the easiest method to eliminate the black-market infrastructure of the 
drug trade is to take the drug trade off the black market.

In the same way prohibition of alcohol created large extra-legal 
organizations to support its trade, so too does the prohibition of drugs. 
If in fact the real moral impetus behind objections to drug use is 
objection to support for terrorists, perhaps a call for partial 
legalization is past due.

One caveat to their argument: it only applies to terrorists directly if you 
are buying black tar opium while in Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Serbia, 
Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Spain and perhaps Italy. There is only a very 
remote possibility U.S. drugs come from the opposite side of the globe.

In addition, the argument could be made that a debt of gratitude is owed to 
all those Swiss junkies. If a family living in northern Afghanistan begins 
to starve because they can't afford food, it becomes more likely that they 
will turn to the local Madrasa for food or shelter, and as a result, be 
subject to terrorist brainwashing. This is not funded by the fat drug lords 
of Afghanistan, but by Wahabbi Saudi Arabian oil. The income from the trade 
of opium may be the only thing that kept some Afghanis off the crack of 
Islamic Extremism. So, if you really want to fight terrorism, don't quit 
your drug habit, buy a smaller car.

You should also criticize the Bush administration. Recently, Hamid Karzai 
visited Washington to raise funds for his new coalition Afghani government. 
You may recognize him as the guy in the funny hat who sat next to Laura 
Bush during the State of the Union Address. He was successful in 
accumulating $50 million in U.S. financial aid.

In contrast, the new budget proposed by the Bush White House calls for a $2 
billion increase in U.S. border control next year. That's 40 times our 
budget for nation building in Afghanistan. The proposed increases in the 
defense budget simply as a result of Sept. 11 are over 400 times our aid to 
Afghanistan. The total proposed defense budget for fiscal 2002: $379 
billion is 7,500 times our proposed aid to Afghanistan. Clearly an ad 
campaign that emphasizes combating the roots of terrorism by abstaining 
from drugs, which will cost $152 million over the next three years, is 
disingenuous at least.

How could such ignorance of the situation occur in our top government law 
enforcement officials, who are ensconced in the war on terrorism even now? 
Shouldn't they realize building a more stable Third World is more effective 
at combating terrorism than throwing millions at an ad campaign meant to 
indirectly affect a minor segment of the terrorist threat.

Well, I am sure they do. You see, this was not in fact a part of a united 
front against terror, but like so much of the war on drugs, this was simply 
a marketing strategy. No Washington bureaucrat had a hand in the design of 
this misleading hypocrisy. This was the brainchild of a Madison Avenue 
marketing firm. Using focus groups and elite international talent this 
commercial was as contrived and artificial as any Super Bowl halftime show.

Dan Wolf, Treasurer

Students for Sensible Drug Policy

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