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May 14, 2009

Drug Czar calls for end to "War on Drugs"

Fun with the use/mention distinction.

The WSJ headline says: White House Czar Calls for End to "War on Drugs"

Note that Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske isn't calling for an end to the war on drugs, but rather to the phrase "the War on Drugs" to describe America's frenzied militarized prohibition policies.

Still, Kerlikowske is making sense when he says, "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," he said. "We're not at war with people in this country."

So, kudos to Kerlikowske. Abolishing the antiquated Nixon-era buzzword is a step in the right direction. It's about time the U.S. got serious about preventing and treating drug abuse instead of wasting billions on interdicting drugs and punishing drug users.

Addendum: The craziness can't end soon enough. We've got the Boy Scouts doing simulated drug raids sponsored by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. 

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Comments

George Carlin bit on "war" as the only metaphor in our discourse for solving a problem:

link

War on Crime
War on Poverty
War on Litter
War on Crime
War on Drugs

You nailed it, Lindsay.

I read somewhere that it's actually a law that anyone nominated for this office is actually not allowed to have the position that marijuana or any other drug should be legal. Does anyone know if that's true? If so, this sort of thing might be the best we can ever hope for from this office.

You're right. ONDCP is legally obliged to support prohibition.

How is that legally enforceable, though? Spending department money on legalization efforts, I could see that being banned. But speaking one's mind against drug laws? Laws against that would have some major First Amendment implications.

Supporting prohibition is the only reason the ONDCP exists. The ideal move would be to close that office and begin anew under a different name and stated agenda.

It's a propaganda outlet, nothing else. They dish out the rhetoric and the "PSAs" about how weed ruins our lives.

Think of the money wasted on that budget...

LINK
National Drug Control Strategy
FY 2009 Budget Summary

The National Drug Control Budget Summary identifies resources and performance indicators for programs within the Executive Branch that are integral to the President’s National Drug Control Strategy. The Strategy, which is the Administration’s plan for reducing drug use and availability, is based on three pillars: (1) Stopping Use Before It Starts, (2) Healing America’s Drug Users, and (3) Disrupting the Market for Illicit Drugs. In Fiscal Year 2009, the President requests $14.1 billion in support of these key elements. This request demonstrates a balanced approach to drug control policy, where activities to reduce the demand for narcotics are augmented by efforts to stem their supply.

The President’s FY 2009 request provides for an increase of $459.0 million or 3.4 percent over the FY 2008 enacted level of $13.7 billion. The FY 2008 level does not include the pending supplemental request of $385.1 million for counternarcotics support to Mexico and Central America as part of the Merida Initiative.


Of course, as you stated, this is about doing away with certain language. There is no intention to do away with the war. Just perhaps shifting it's focus to the border, but nothing solid about that either.

Segue

This Saturday, I am participating in the NY Walk to Defeat ALS with family and what I am sure will be new friends.

If anyone would care to make a small donation, I would be honored.

LB...move to CA...

The "War on Terror" phrase has been retired. That doesn't mean war is over.

"That which we call a rose; by any other name would smell as sweet"

This is just another government semantic game.

Play on!

one of those explorer programs is a big deal down in the california border town where i live. we used to be an agricultural community. now our main crop is prisons, and border patrol.

in good times, our unemployment averages were high due to the seasonal nature of agricultural work. now, with the border tightening up, and the prisons being the main industry, most of those kids are simply following the clear signposts as to where the jobs are.

the "war on drugs" to my thinking was where the assault on civil liberties truly began. nixon decided that police needed broader powers of survelliance, then we went to "no knock" warrants, then we went to the odious seizure regime, many of our narc units are self supporting from the things they loot from citizens.

yeah, we are getting what we pay for.

A change in terminology is just a change in terminology, but it's a start, anyway.

After all, the words we use shape our thoughts.

And really, with a heap of dung this big, we can start shoveling anywhere and be making progress.

Just another rebranding of the same tired franchise, much like Obama himself. A fresh coat of paint to make everything look pretty again is all. I prefer the "War on Drugs" to whatever other euphemism they care to dream up because that is exactly what this is, a war.

I'd like to think we could end the "war on drugs" and begin the "war on stupidity". We could start with the creepy turn taken by the Hitler youth boy scouts.

Jesus Christ, I was a boy scout with a troop of fellow army brats and we sure as hell didn't do bullshit like that. Who's the scoutmaster? Dick Cheney?

That doesn't solve the drug problem, that solves the enforcement problem.

I just watched "Grass" last night. It's a documentary on the path to prohibition of Marijuana, narrated by Woody Harrelson. Good stuff, but deeply depressing if you have any sort of interest in truth or justice. Well worth a watch if you can. Available from iTunes for ~$10.

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