It’s long been said that the “War on Drugs” is a fiction created by certain interests in society, in order to attack particular segments of the American population. There’s been plausible deniability for a while, but now the truth is revealed by someone who was there when it was engineered.
Harper’s ran a piece written by Dan Baum, who was writing in support of drug legalization, in which a very honest and completely damning quote was given by former Nixon policy advisor John Ehrlichman. The quote will give even the most ardent anti-drug naysayers pause when they realize that the whole “war on drugs” that they’ve completely bought into is a total lie.
The quote is below:
At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
I must have looked shocked. Ehrlichman just shrugged. Then he looked at his watch, handed me a signed copy of his steamy spy novel, The Company, and led me to the door.
This false war has been carried on for decades by subsequent presidents, as a useful tool to continue suppressing anti-establishment segments of society. Just look at Ronald Reagan’s crack “epidemic.” Former CIA officials have come forth to admit the drug was funneled into black neighborhoods as a form of social sabotage. It also provided an excuse for brutal over policing and mass incarceration of a majority of their young people for a growing profitable prison industrial complex.
Baum also goes on to explain a huge reason why Republicans are so strongly against the legalization of marijuana, despite its obvious success:
The citizens of the U.S. jurisdictions that legalized marijuana may have set in motion more machinery than most of them had imagined. “Without marijuana prohibition, the government can’t sustain the drug war,” Ira Glasser, who ran the American Civil Liberties Union from 1978 to 2001, told me. “Without marijuana, the use of drugs is negligible, and you can’t justify the law-enforcement and prison spending on the other drugs. Their use is vanishingly small. I always thought that if you could cut the marijuana head off the beast, the drug war couldn’t be sustained.”
With the legalization of marijuana, a process has been started in America that would bring an end to a long-used secret Nixonian tool that was used for decades to attack liberal progressive and minority communities. This is exactly why Republicans are so strongly against it. It’s time for this secret war on America by the right-wing to come to a permanent end.
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