White Flag in War on Drugs


The age-old admonishment posed by many annoyed mothers – “Just because your friends are jumping off a bridge doesn’t mean you should follow them” – has taken on renewed currency today.

Politicians and pundits in the Tri-State area are raising the white flag of surrender in the War on Drugs.

NJ Governor Christie made headlines after calling the drug war a “well-intentioned” failure.

Recently, the National Review’s Rich Lowry joined Christie in raising the white flag, ending the drug war and legalizing narcotics, starting with marijuana. I was surprised at Mr. Lowry given his past writings protecting traditional American values and opposing efforts to undermine the American way of life.

The white flag movement includes Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut who lowered the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana to a violation – similar to a parking ticket. Cuomo has proposed decriminalizing public possession of small amounts of marijuana, too, but the GOP-led State Senate killed it.

Governor Christie and his allies would have us believe that the drug war has been waged against pot smoking slackers, drug addicts, and minorities.

Leaders in the white flag movement premise their argument on the alleged numbers of non-violent addicts in our jails and prisons.

Proponents know that drug addiction is a status offense, not a crime. Just as being a drunk isn’t a crime so too is being a drug addict. But stealing my car stereo to support that habit is a crime.

The issue is crime, not drug addiction.

A recent NY Post editorial summed it up neatly: “where there are illegal drugs, there are illegal guns.” And I would add, “There is crime.”

Clear-headed people know that the so-called War on Drugs is but a single battlefront in the war against crime.

Raising drug addiction in the debate about drug enforcement and crime is a red herring. The real intent is to legalize pot. Profits from marijuana production would rival that of tobacco.

Leaders in the white flag movement premise their “legalization” argument by citing marijuana. They point to the medicinal uses of marijuana.

Substance abuse specialists know that marijuana is a gateway drug to other controlled drugs, addiction and crime.

Policy reform advocates say that drug use is an individual choice for adults. In essence they are saying that using drugs is a privacy issue; similar to gay marriage and having an abortion.

They fail to acknowledge that drug addicts who are in prison are there for choosing to commit terrible crimes, not for having an addiction.

We are a nation of laws, not just individual choices.

New York Republican state legislators once characterized Rockefeller drug reform as a “jailbreak,” so I wonder how they characterize Governor Christie and Rich Lowry waving the white flag.

The white flag of surrender would be a slap at Edward Byrne, a NYPD officer who was murdered while guarding a witness who had agreed to testify against drug dealers. And it would be a slap at every block association captain – like Nero Graham – who organized his/her neighborhood to take back the streets from the drug dealers.

While legalizing drugs may cause street prices to fall and reduce violent turf battles, demand won’t decrease. Newbies intrigued by the allure of what were once illegal drugs will seek to find out what the fuss was all about.

The direct damage to American productivity caused by expanding the number addicts and families destroyed by addiction would be immense.

The nation will rue the day, if and when, this “white flag” movement takes hold.

Politicians should listen to their mothers and think twice before jumping off that bridge.

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About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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One Response to White Flag in War on Drugs

  1. polnick says:

    One hundred million American adults cannot pass the simple reading tests given to twelve year old kids born in Utah. The state also has the lowest rate of opiate use in the nation which results in less brain damage and smarter children. The shocking amount of illiterates in America might be caused by the heavy use of opiates, instead of hiring expensive teachers, it would be cheaper and more effective to train opiate sniffing dogs that will labor 24/7 for a can of chow.

    Like

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