Lee Wrights: The most destructive and devastating war in American history

“The drug war has arguably been the single most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery.”- Norm Stamper, retired Seattle Chief of Police

by R. Lee Wrights

BURNET, Texas (Aug. 14) – The most destructive and devastating war in American history was not the Vietnam War, not World War II, not even the Civil War. The most destructive and devastating war in American history is the 40-year War on Drugs. It is a war in which thousands die each year, which wastes billions of dollars, and which has put more  people in jail than any other nation in the world. It has come to the point where the War on Drugs is deadlier and more destructive than all the dreaded drugs scattered upon its battlefields.

Like all our nation’s wars, the War on Drugs was manufactured out of fear, based on lies, and has proven ultimately to be a miserable disaster not only for the American people, but for the world. Sadly, any war is such a profitable and advantageous enterprise for power mongers that they learn nothing from history, in fact, choose to ignore history’s lessons. America’s first failed experiment with Prohibition in the early 20th Century, when the social evil that had to be exorcized from society for the public good was Demon Alcohol, provided a great windfall for organized crime. Today, the people who benefit the most from the insane and senseless War on Drugs are the organized gangs of the world: the 20,000 street gangs in the U.S., the international drug cartels – and the federal government.

These gangs have a vested interest in continuing this ongoing carnage because it lets them consolidate and expand their power, extort more money from taxpayers to fight the drug war, and confiscate the savings and property of anyone “suspected” of being involved with drugs. While U.S. politicians wring their hands over the rising bloodbath in Mexico, as drug cartels battle for control of the drug trade, the U.S. government curiously keeps no official records of those killed, even innocent bystanders and police officers, in the drug war battles on American soil.

The War on Drugs is in reality a war on the American people. It is a war on individuals’ life, liberty and property. The War on Drugs has wiped out personal privacy, eroded personal liberties, given the government power to confiscate your property without even accusing, let alone convicting you of a crime, and put so many harmless marijuana smokers in jail on 20-year sentences that there’s no more room for rapists and murders.

America was settled by people who refused to be told what to do, who wanted to live their lives their way. All of the great achievements and advancements in history were brought about by people who were told, “It can’t be done.” Everybody told the Wright brothers that man was not meant to fly. It reminds me of the Chinese proverb: those who say it can’t be done should step out of the way of those who are doing it.

After 40 years of shredding the Bill of Rights in a vain and vicious crusade to eradicate the Demon Drug, the drug war is a total and abject failure; the government can’t even keep drugs our of prisons. As in most wars, the first people to realize that the war is lost and is an unnecessary and immoral waste of human life are the warriors themselves. In their recent report “Ending the Drug War: A Dream Deferred” Law Enforcement Against Prohibition noted that 67 percent of the nation’s police chiefs agree the war is a failure and should end. They should know; the organization is composed of current and former police officers, prosecutors, judges, FBI and DEA agents, corrections officials and military officers who have been on the front lines of the War on Drugs.

The LEAP report notes that more than 120 million Americans have used illicit drugs, including many in the present and past presidential administration, yet have gone on to lead productive lives. Oddly, these same officials are relentless in continuing and expanding a failed policy under the delusion that they can curb or prevent drug abuse in others. Here again, President Obama’s actions contradict his words; he has actually increased federal drug war funding for punishment and interdiction, and increased the frequency and number of federal drug raids on medical marijuana providers in states who have legalized such practice.

We can stop all the foreign wars in which the United States is mired, bring all the troops home, and yet we will still be raining death and destruction on the American people if we continue the War on Drugs at home. Leigh Maddox, a former Maryland State Police captain called America’s failed drug polices “nothing more than a killing field, battering communities, pillaging minorities, and subjecting generations of Americans to poverty, violence and a depth of hopelessness…”

Alcohol prohibition ended after only 14 years when politicians and bureaucrats finally admitted they could not enforce a law most Americans not only rejected but openly defied. Why has it taken America 40 years this time to learn that which took less than two decades in the last century to learn? Prohibition is now, as it always has been, a doomed, unenforceable public policy. With 76 percent of the American people agreeing that the War on Drugs is a failure and should be ended, even the current array of historically-challenged politicians in office should be able to learn from our own not-so-distant past and bring the War on Drugs to a merciful end. It is time to put an end to the insanity of the longest, most devastating and destructive war in American history.

“Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.” – P.J. O’Rourke

R. Lee Wrights, 53, a libertarian writer and political activist, is seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights is a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and co-founder and editor of of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., he now lives and works in Texas.

Lee Wrights for President
Contact: Brian Irving, press secretary

17 thoughts on “Lee Wrights: The most destructive and devastating war in American history

  1. Robert Capozzi

    nice piece overall…

    lw: The most destructive and devastating war in American history is the 40-year War on Drugs.

    me: As a name, yes. It’s been going on for quite a bit longer.

    lw: Like all our nation’s wars, the War on Drugs was manufactured out of fear, based on lies, and has proven ultimately to be a miserable disaster not only for the American people, but for the world.

    me: “All” might be a stretch at best. Some US wars may or may not have been “manufactured” by lies and inappropriate fear. Was the Revolution so, for ex.? WWII? Afghanistan (at the outset)? The Confederate Elite Insurrection?

    Some may say, Yes, even those. Still, unless the reader buys the premise, it could damage credibility to make such a disembodied, unsubstantiated assertion.

    lw: With 76 percent of the American people agreeing that the War on Drugs is a failure and should be ended…

    me: Cite?

  2. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi writes:

    lw: The most destructive and devastating war in American history is the 40-year War on Drugs.

    me: As a name, yes. It’s been going on for quite a bit longer.

    Hmmm, has Capozzi crossed over to the dark side of radical absolutism? Is he viewing the drug war through the jaded and cynical eyes of a crazed anarchist?

    But wait, Capozzi is right. The drug war has been going on a lot longer than 40 years. But only a lunatic anarchist absolutist would point this out because the general public doesn’t accept this reality because it is not a part of the mainstream narrative and going against mainstream dogma is usually frowned upon by moderates as it may possibly alienate the masses.

    However, the fact remains, the drug war is the longest war.


  3. Robert Capozzi

    3 tb, no, my crazed absolutist anarchism days are over, ending sometime in my early 20s. Prohibition is simply a fact. Calling it a “war” seems hyperbolic to me, but we have Nixon to thank for that.

    Thanks for your concern, though.

  4. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi, I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t abandoned your extremist moderate views.

    Calling the continuing prohibition a war might doesn’t seem so hyperbolic when one considers the militarization of the police, the erosion of the 4th amendment, the growth of the prison-industrial complex, and the U.S. support and funding for military operations in Mexico and Colombia.

    The American media has failed to report on much of what is going on in Mexico, including reporting the thousands of Mexicans protesting against the US-backed drug war there.

    To add insult to injury, it now seems the U.S. is supporting one of the Mexican drug cartels and allowing them to import drugs into America. This also seems to be connected to the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” program to send weapons to Mexico.

    I guess it’s just another example of the vile corruption that occurs routinely in the Empire of Evil.

    Check this out:

    Was CIA behind Operation Fast and Furious?

    New and troubling motive for Team Obama’s illegal gunrunning scheme


  5. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 4,

    “Calling it a ‘war’ seems hyperbolic to me”

    Yes, it does seem hyperbolic, but it isn’t.

    The politicians have done a very good job of getting the benefit of “moral equivalent of war” talk, while allowing people to think that that’s just hyperbole.

    As a US Marine I spent about as much time under arms and on active duty prosecuting the “war on drugs” as I did under arms and on active duty in the 1990/91 Persian Gulf affair.

    The US military took about 100,000 Iraqi prisoners of war in 1991. The US drug war apparatus takes eight times as many POWs each year on marijuana charges alone, and retains them within its system of POW camps (“jails” and “prisons”) for far longer.

    There are probably a few more US drug warriors KIA on an annualized basis than there were US military personnel in that 1991 war. Casualties on the other side — which consists of all of us except the drug warriors — are harder to calculate.

    The old “no-fly zone” thing doesn’t hold a candle to the drug war’s network of surveillance and interdiction activities.

    It is a war, and there’s no getting around it. The only reason the casualties are as low as they are, and that it hasn’t ended, is that one side doesn’t really do much fighting. That’s going to change at some point.

  6. Robert Capozzi

    when I say “war,” I mean two nation-states engaged in armed conflict.

    This would be the rare case when I’m the literalist and TK is metaphorical.

    The War on Drugs might well be a kinetic military action, though. 😉

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 7,

    Well, several sides in the war on drugs are certainly armed and in conflict.

    And there’s always at least one, and often more than one, nation-state involved in it, sometimes on opposite sides.

    You may recall that one reason given for the continued US presence in Afghanistan was to quell “narco-terrorism” and prevent the emergence of a new “narco-state.”

    You may also recall that the US invasion of Panama was at least partially predicated on the US indictment of Panama’s head of state, Manuel Noriega, on drug charges.

    Government drug warriors hope you’ll consider their war “metaphorical,” for the same reason that FDR hoped German and Japanese spies would laugh off rumors of a project to develop an atomic bomb.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    8 tk, fair points. My sense is the War on Drugs is largely not state-to-state conflict, although your examples are helpful reminders that it does sometimes involve actual wars in the classic sense.

  9. Tom Blanton

    You may recall that one reason given for the continued US presence in Afghanistan was to quell “narco-terrorism” and prevent the emergence of a new “narco-state.”

    That worked about as well as invading Iraq to keep al Qaida out. It would seem the Empire’s apparatchiks are either incompetent idiots or they announce exactly the opposite of what their goals actually are.

    Probably both, the murderous swine.

    TK provides another good reason to avoid military service – the never ending drug war.

  10. Kimberly Wilder

    I did think that the premise of this had some, not-so-good hyperbole. Because, dropping bombs on women and children seems worse than a lot of the govt’s actions in the war on drugs.

    Though, calling it a “war on drugs” is not a hyperbole. And, some politicians characterized it that way, and treated it that way — as a war.

    I am reminded of a song from 1994 by “The Foreman”, a very interesting folk group which explores left/right thinking:

    Peace is Out
    by Roy Zimmerman
    © 1994 Watunes
    (From “Sing it Loud”, “Folk Heroes” [Reprise] and “The Best of the Foremen”)

    We used to take a nonviolent stance
    In Nehru jackets and bell-bottom pants
    We even used to sing, “Give peace a chance”
    God, we must have been joking

    We used to slander the words of our prez
    And praise whatever the Tao Te Ching says…

    Now when someone says, “Hell no, we won’t go”
    What they mean is “to Berkeley”

    Peace is out, love is out
    No one wants to hear about
    Peace and love anymore
    Now we’re fighting
    In a war against homelessness, a war against drugs
    ‘Cause it’s in to be in a war…

  11. Robert Capozzi

    Look, LBJ started the War on Poverty. Nixon doubled down with the Wars on Drugs and Cancer. The War on Drugs has been militarized, and sometimes some war actions involve the classic meaning of war.

    As a peacenik myself, I’d say this is all quite dysfunctional. Peace heals, war kills and begets more warring.

  12. AroundtheblockAFT

    But, but, but…somewhere someone’s child decided to reject a joint because he might get in trouble with the law, so the whole WOD is completely justified…at least in his parents’ minds.

    [Is there a parent in America that wouldn’t be totally shocked by at least one thing a child has done and has kept from them?]

  13. Robert Capozzi

    13 ATBAFT, yes, that’s probably THE primary reason why the WoD continues. False taboos don’t die easily… Some sensitivity to sleep walkers seems indicated to me.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    16 bi, actually, the Zogby poll report says:

    “Three in four likely voters (76%) believe the U.S. war on drugs is failing, a sentiment that cuts across the political spectrum – including the vast majority of Democrats (86%), political independents (81%), and most Republicans (61%). There is also a strong belief that the anti-drug effort is failing among those who intend to vote for Barack Obama (89%) for president, as well as most supporters of John McCain (61%).
    When asked what they believe is the single best way to combat international drug trafficking and illicit use, 27% of likely voters said legalizing some drugs would be the best approach — 34% of Obama supporters and 20% of McCain backers agreed.
    One in four likely voters (25%) believe stopping the drugs at the border is the best tactic to battle drugs — 39% of McCain supporters, but just 12% of Obama backers agree.
    Overall, 19% of likely voters said reducing demand through treatment and education should be the top focus of the war on drugs.
    13% believe that the best way to fight the war on drugs is to prevent production of narcotics in the country of origin.”

    “Failing” and “want to end” are not the same. Let’s not let wishful thinking get in the way of truth….

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