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Chomsky on Drug War: There Isn't One

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By Ben Cohen

By Ben Cohen

Chomsky trashes the government's 'War on Drugs' as a meaningless slogan:

There isn't any war on drugs. If there was a war on drugs, the

government would take measures which it knows could control the use of


And it's pretty well understood. Years ago -- maybe
twenty-five, thirty years ago -- around the time Nixon's first War on
Drugs was called, there was a big study by the army and the RAND
corporation (the main, outside advisory research bureau) analyzing the
effects on drug use of various approaches to it. They studied four. The
one that came out the most cost effective was prevention and treatment
by a large margin. Next, much more expensive and less effective, was
police work. Still less effective and more costly was border
interdiction. And least effective and most costly was out-of-country
operations like chemical warfare in Columbia. Well, the methods that
are used are the exact opposite. Most of the funding goes into
cross-border operations (least effective, most costly,) next,
interdiction and police action, and least to prevention and treatment.
And there's pretty independent evidence that this is correct.

The reason? Fascinating, and very scary:

Out-of-country operations are just a cover for counter-insurgency, or
for clearing land in Columbia and driving out peasants so
multi-national corporations can come in for mining, and
resource-extraction, and agribusiness, and macra production, and so on.
Which is why you have (outside of Afghanistan) probably the largest
refugee population in the world in Columbia. [The War on Drugs is] not
effecting drug production. In fact, it's going up by, I think, 25% last
year. But it's going to continue because that wasn't the purpose.