March 24, 2012 1 Comment
But it’s not just the War on Terror. It’s also the War on Drugs. President Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs 40 years ago, and we now spend $42 billion a year fighting drugs (just illegal ones- alcohol, nicotine, oxycontin, morphine, those are fine) and more people use drugs now than ever before. The Global Commission on Drug Policy has recently affirmed what many of us already know. The war on drugs has failed.
Terror and Drugs have existed since the dawn of civilization, but recently our government decided to declare war on the two. Oh, and directly or indirectly kill millions and spend trillions of dollars since declaring both wars. It’s important to specifically look at how the two wars have created more terrorism.
The main reason why we are less safe now is simply because many people passionately hate us, and no, they don’t hate us for our freedom. They hate us for various reasons that I won’t get into, but the biggest reason of all is our foreign policy, and there is overwhelming evidence to support this. As a mostly Christian nation of people, our foreign policy blatantly contradicts the “golden rule.” Remember that one? That was the “treat others as you would want to be treated” rule that Jesus of Nazareth preached and popularized. For every military action we have made during the War on Terror, we have failed to ask ourselves, “what would we do if another country conducted such military action to us?” For example, if an unmanned aerial vehicle from Pakistan secretly dropped a bomb on a house where suspected enemy combatants lived (they’re innocent until proven dead!), killing an entire family except for an 8-year old, which country would that 8-year old grow up to hate? If Germany decided to build a permanent military base in Texas in the name of “national security,” how would Americans react?
You can distract yourselves with “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Celebrity Apprentice” every night, but the fact remains that while you watch those “reality” TV shows, the real reality is that civilians are accidentally killed everyday by the United States military and NATO. The real reality is that the United States has over 1000 permanent military bases outside of its borders. The real reality is that new terrorists are created because of the invasion and occupation of foreign countries by our military.
What about the civil liberties that American citizens seem to take for granted? Those have also been consistently attacked since the War on Terror began. Thanks to the Patriot Act,our government can spy on us or search our home without us knowing. (so much for the 4th amendment) We are also not allowed to dance in public (so much for the 1st amendment). We have two choices at the airport before we get on a plane: get exposed to radiation and show off our naked bodies or get groped. (so much for decency)
The War on Drugs, certainly related to the War on Terror, has also created more terrorism. Whenever anything is illegal, that creates a black market. Those who operate within the black market are more prone to operate outside of the law. After all, they’re already breaking the law to begin with, right? If someone doesn’t pay or if a business deal goes sour in the black market, violence is usually the solution to get a message across. Most drug-related violence is actually drug trade-related violence.
Statistics are hard to figure because there is so much hidden damage. For example, let’s look at the stereotypical gang. Almost all gangs make at least some of their money through the illegal drug trade. Say Johnny is looking to join a gang which makes most of its money from selling crack cocaine. In order to join, Johnny has to kill someone from a rival gang. He drives by the rival gang member’s house and opens fire. But he is not home. Instead, he accidentally kills his little brother and sister. When you watch the local news that night, you probably won’t make the connection that the double homicide was linked to the drug trade.
Now, what if cocaine was legal? It would be counter productive for the gang to sell cocaine. They would have to compete with the legal market, and couldn’t compete, so they would be forced to sell another illegal product. But if there were no other illegal products they could easily access, the gang wouldn’t be sustainable and it would fall apart. Johnny therefore would not care to join the gang and two children would still be alive.
That is a simplification to a complex problem, but history tells us that prohibition actually causes more problems than it solves. Look at the problems of prohibition of alcohol in this country or look at the success of decriminalizing marijuana in Portugal. The biggest problem with the War on Drugs is the terrorism it creates. The 1 million gang members in this country are easily the most frightening terrorists we have to worry about on a daily basis. They are the ones directly creating terror on our streets, disportionately affecting the lower class of our society (you know, the ones who rarely vote and don’t hold public office). The police fighting the drug wars are also unintentionally (sometimes intentionally) creating even more terror, often invading homes only to find no trace of drugs. Remember, the United States locks up more of its own citizens than any other country in the world. Most of those sent to prison are there for minor drug possession charges. Most of the drug possession charges alsodisproportionately affect minorities.
Terrorism is winning, and largely thanks to the ignorance of the masses and misinformation and disinformation in the mainstream media, it will continue to win. Ironically, this is after millions of lives lost and trillions of dollars spent fighting it. Who is to blame in the world for all of the world’s terrorism? A small amount of terrorism can be blamed on Al-Qaeda, The Taliban, and other terrorist organizations and also Muammar Gaddafi, Omar al-Bashir, and other brutal dictators. However, most of the blame, unfortunately, has to be put on the world’s greatest current superpower, the USA. The terror we cause is unintended and often accidental, but it is causing hatred around the world, thus fueling more terrorism from future generations. I love my country and I love what my country stands for, but I do not love its foreign policy and its drug policy, the two things that are putting my family directly in harm’s way the most. If we all want to survive, if we all want to feel and be safe, we must change both now.
Matt Beat is many things. He is a father. A middle school history teacher in Overland Park, Kansas. And indie rokker as one half of the power duo known as Electric Needle Room. His writing has appeared in the likes of the Kansas City Underground Examiner, and the charity based book about independent music, Children of Mercy: Tales and Teachings From The World of Independent Music. Recently Matt has combined his love for american politics and history with his love for music with a collection of songs about all of the Presidents of United States of America, released annually on, you got it, President’s Day. Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of said albums are available on Bandcamp. You can read more insight from Matt at The Beat Matt Blog, where this blog originally appeared on June 22nd, 2011.