The War Based On False Premises
Since 1971, the United States has been waging a war based on false premises. President Richard Nixon began a complete prohibition plan that influenced the drug policies we still have today. Nixon proclaimed, “America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive (Sharp, 1994, p.1).” Despite the beneficial presence of controlling or legalizing drugs in other countries, and even within our own national boundaries, America still has not reformed the failed laws of the past.
In June 1971, Nixon declared in front of Congress, “…as long as there is a demand, there will be those willing to take the risks of meeting the demand (Sharp, 1994, p.27).” Along with this statement, President Nixon publicly proclaimed that any effort to eradicate was destined to fail. Sadly, Nixon didn’t follow his own advice. Shortly after, Nixon launched an interdiction effort in Mexico in an attempt to cut off drug routes flowing through the United States-Mexico border. Two years later, in 1973, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was created. The DEA initiated Operation Intercept, pressuring Mexico to control and regulate its marijuana growers. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars, the flow of drugs came to a halting stop; however, Columbia was quick to replace Mexico as America’s premier supplier. This was America’s first lesson in the “iron law of drug economics (Rosenberger, 1996, p.22).” Each effort made by the government at interdiction since Operation Intercept has resulted in international drug trade reorganization. Drugs are smuggled into the United States via land, sea, and even air, with their routes and techniques changing constantly. In other words, the government closing our borders to drug smuggling is an absolute impossibility as long as demand exists within the United States.
Favorable opinions on drugs didn’t...
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Collett, Merril. 1989. The Cocaine Connection: Drug Trafficking, and Inter-American
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Nadelmann, Ethan. (1991). “The Case for Legalization,” in James Inciardi, ed., The
Drug Legalization Debate
Rosenberger, Leif R. 1996. America’s Drug War Debacle. Brookfield, VT: Ashgate
Sharp, Elaine B. 1994. The Dilemma of Drug Policy in the United States. New York,
NY: HarperCollins College Publishers
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