(Excerpted from Right Web.)

The emerging consensus, even among the political establishment, is that the war on drugs is a costly failure. Drug production is surging in Latin America—as are the body counts—opium is a staple crop in Afghanistan despite the presence of tens of thousands of occupying troops, and anti-drug policies that have helped put hundreds of thousands of non-violent offenders behind bars have had no discernible impact on usage.

But for much of the rightwing establishment, drug prohibition is just like any other war: deserving of uncritical support even in the face of defeat.

Not so long ago the only folks try to link the war on terror and the war on drugs were antiwar critics and crusading reformers attempting to highlight the futility of both wars. Now the linkage is a staple of the neoconservative right’s stated rationale for maintaining a global U.S. military presence in a quixotic effort for perfect security.

The Emerging Elite Consensus

Many people trace the advent of the modern war on drugs to President Richard Nixon, who in a 1971 special message to Congress formally declared a war against illicit narcotics, stating his intention to launch a “full-scale attack on the problem of drug abuse in America.” And not just by locking up users, he said, but by striking at the “supply” side of the problem: the production “and trafficking in these drugs beyond our borders.”

Forty years and more than a trillion dollars later, the U.S. government’s war on drugs—which from South America to Central Asia has been more than mere metaphor—is widely considered by both policy experts and former presidents alike to be a dismal failure.

Read the rest at Right Web.

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