The War on Drugs, just like the War on Terror, drags on pointlessly. Wasting billions of dollars, millions of lives, and precious time with no progress made and no goals met. And not just because the Founding Fathers themselves grew hemp either.
Rather, declaring war on anything, especially abstracts, is a cash bonanza like few others. And with hyperreal grifters like the Bush administration, the most deadly weapon in the war chest is language itself. You start throwing around loaded terms and the next thing you know, Congress gives you military authority to do everything from spy on your own citizens to waterboard someone else's in the same torture rooms that caused you to invade in the first place.
Pardon my tone, but some things you just have to laugh at. What else can you do, really? (Ask Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert about that one.) Especially when the terrorists your draconian administration tackles after the Saudi-fueled mayhem of 9/11 end up being people like Seymour Hersh and Tommy Chong, or the National Education Association. This is the type of lunacy I tackled in a piece that went up on Alternet yesterday:
Last time we checked in on the bizarro nexus between cannabis and terrorism, it was none other than actor/director Tommy Chong who was feeling the Bush administration's post-9/11 wrath. In fact, the stoner icon, whose fabled act was concurrently resuscitated for Fox's drugged and confused comedy hit That 70s Show, was being slapped by John Ashcroft with a nine-month prison bid, a $20,000 fine and over $100,000 in seized assets for selling bongs. The terrorism connection? He was sentenced on Sept. 11, 2003. And if you think that's a specious connection, it's only gotten worse since. In fact, over the last few years, "terrorist" has become an epithet for all seasons... MORE @ ALTERNET
The latest "terrorists" this time around, according to the White House's Office of National Control Drug Policy, are Mexican cartels ferreting undocumented immigrants into Redding's national forests to grow weed. Because nothing says "I want to destroy your country, American infidels!" like raising crops for the sole purpose of getting you and your neighbors totally high.
OK, I'm joking. OK, I'm not. I thought it was hilarity until I recently read that our military campaigns in Afghanistan haven't defeated the Taliban or sniffed bin Laden's trail but have nevertheless managed to make sure the poor nation's heroin trade remained fully functional if not better than ever. Hey, wait. I get it now. They're fighting the War on Terror in Afghanistan, not the War or Drugs. OK, I feel better. OK, I don't.
I'm not here to tell you that anyone should be able to plant and cultivate crops of any type in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest whenever they feel like it. Or that Seymour Hersh can't try to hip the United States to neocon schemes for doomed occupations. Or that the National Education Association's millions of teachers can't have a lobby heckling the father of "No Child Left Behind" for some accountability. Or, at last, that Tommy Chong isn't high some of the time his son is selling bongs.
I'm just here to tell you that these people aren't terrorists. They're just targets, taken down by terminology.
Words have power. We cannot live without them, but we can also use them to imprison, oppress and even kill our fellow inhabitants of this lucky planet called Earth. In fact, we do it all the time, since before the Bible, Koran and every other narrative governments use to consolidate that power and, in the end, watch that contentious power fade into memory.
Follow Scott Thill on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@morphizm