Memorial Day Suggestion - 28 Years of a Bad Thing is Enough!
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 31 May 100 15:22:13 -0700
Subject: Memorial Day Suggestion - 28 Years of a Bad Thing is Enough!
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From: Ray Leach <firstname.lastname@example.org>
On Memorial Day, let's remember the War on Drugs' 140,000 victims
As America prepares to honor its military dead on Memorial Day 2000,
perhaps it's time to remember the 140,000 tragic victims of another war:
The War on Drugs.
The 140,000 men, women, and children who died because of the War on
Drugs are just as deserving of remembrance as the military personnel who
died fighting America's other wars.
Keep in mind, the War on Drugs has been one of the longest, costliest,
and deadliest wars in U.S. history. The only difference is that our fallen
veterans were killed by the guns and bombs of a foreign power -- while the
victims of the War on Drugs were killed by the policies of their own
But Memorial Day traditionally honors only war dead. Rhetoric aside,
does the "War on Drugs" really qualify as a war?
The War on Drugs has lasted longer than any other war in U.S. history,
has been more deadly than most conventional wars, has cost billions of
dollars, and involves tens of thousands of military personnel. The numbers:
* Duration: President Richard Nixon first officially declared a War on
Drugs in 1972 -- so the conflict has been raging for 28 years.
The War on Drugs has lasted longer than World War I, World War II, and
the Vietnam War combined. And since the enemy - -- the 36% of Americans
who have used drugs, or 94.7 million people -- just gets stronger every
year, there's no end in sight."
* Victims: Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman estimated that drug
prohibition causes 5,000 homicides a year -- children killed in drive-by
shootings, adults killed in drug-related robberies and murders, and so on.
If that number is accurate, the 28-year-long War on Drugs has resulted
in 140,000 American casualties -- far more than the battlefield deaths of
the Vietnam and Korean wars combined.
* Cost: Since 1989, the armed forces have spent in excess of $7 billion
on anti-drug operations. In fiscal 1997 alone, the Pentagon appropriated
$947 million for military anti-drug efforts.
Where does that money go? To pay for the military personnel who inspect
cargo for the U.S. Customs Agency, translate wiretaps for the DEA, analyze
military intelligence files on foreign drug gangs, fly helicopters to
transport police officers, track money-laundering operations for the
Treasury Department, scan the Gulf of Mexico with radar, and disrupt drug
sales on the streets of Washington, DC.
* Troops: More than 8,000 military personnel and thousands of National
Guard troops are currently participating in anti-drug missions on U.S.
soil, according to government figures.
And those numbers don't include the 19,000 state and local law
enforcement officials who are assigned full-time to the War on Drugs, and
who are increasingly being armed with military-style weapons and tanks.
"The fact is, a massive army has been recruited for this war."
In addition, high-tech military equipment has been thrown into the
anti-drug battle, including AWAC reconnaissance planes and
Relocatable-Over-the-Horizon Radar (ROTHER) installations.
But despite all that money, equipment, and personnel, the DEA admits
that only about 10% of illegal drugs entering the U.S. are seized by law
enforcement officials, according to the Los Angeles Times - -- which means
that the War on Drugs has been a 90% defeat for the U.S. government.
And that's why it's time to end the Drug War, declare a Drug Peace,
and commemorate on Memorial Day the victims of this tragic war.
We honor the men and women of our armed forces because they were willing
to sacrifice their lives to protect our nation. We should honor the 140,000
victims of the War on Drugs because they were sacrificed by politicians in
an unwinable war that has ravaged our nation for 28 years.
Our only hope is that by remembering them -- and the misguided war that
killed them -- they will not have died in vain.
© 2000 Peter Langston