align="right">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
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... style="font-weight:bold;"> href=" http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/60854" target="blank">MORE
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 href=" http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/world/asia/26heroin.html?_r=1&ref=asia&oref=slogin"
target="blank">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.