Fifty years ago, on June 17, 1971, US President Richard Nixon held a press conference and sent a serious message to his countrymen: “The number one public enemy of the United States is drug abuse.” He declared that to defeat the enemy, “a new and comprehensive offensive must be launched,” which is “global” in nature and naturally requires Congress to “provide more funds.”
Indeed, fortunately, Nixon included the geographical description of “in the United States”-lest Americans forget the terrible threat of communism, which is said to endanger their lives at all times, and this especially requires a lot of American soldiers were killed and killed in Vietnam.
Facts have proved that Nixon publicly declared that part of the motives for launching the so-called “war on drugs” was related to the Vietnam War, which triggered an epidemic of heroin abuse and similar phenomena in the US military. This is hardly rocket science: if you are a poor American sent to kill and die, and there is no other way than imperialism, you may be more likely to seek a narcotic-fueled escape from the so-called tragic reality.
In terms of combating “public enemy number one,” the United States has been receiving attention in the global drug trade for decades, including surprises in Southeast Asia, which is of no avail. For example, a 1993 New York Times article stated that during the Vietnam War and the subsequent secret massacre carried out by the United States in neighboring Laos, products from a heroin laboratory in northern Laos were “delivered to the Central Intelligence Agency”. On the plane”. Former airline, American Airlines”.
It is true that the hypocrisy of the United States is as old as the country itself, but the entire “drug war” constitutes its own special degree of hypocrisy. As the famous American historian Howard Zinn pointed out in his book “The History of the American People”, the CIA in the 1950s “gave the drug LSD to unsuspecting Americans to test The effect: an American scientist, who was given such a dose by a CIA agent, jumped from the window of a New York hotel and died.”
However, it is not just this scientist who may be forgiven for thinking that the US government is actually the first public enemy.
For example, think back to the explanation provided by former Nixon adviser and Watergate co-conspirator John Ehrlichman to reporter Dan Baum about the origin of the war on drugs. Nixon’s White House, Ehrlichman said, “There are two enemies: the anti-war left and the blacks… We know that we can’t make anti-war or anti-blacks illegal, but by letting the public associate hippies with heroin marijuana and blacks. , And then criminalize both, we may disrupt these communities.”
And disturbed them. After all, if it is not for the establishment of a social hierarchy based on racism and discrimination, which enables a small number of elites to become rich at the expense of the public, then what is the meaning of capitalism?
In another example of serious hypocrisy and overlap in the 1980s, the U.S. war against Nicaragua also brought about drug problems. Among them, the U.S. dutifully intimidated right-wing mercenaries in relevant countries to get rich through drug trafficking.
A by-product of the arrangement: a cocaine epidemic that destroyed the black community in Los Angeles.
Talk about public enemies.
In turn, this epidemic has contributed to the Anti-Drug Abuse Act during Ronald Reagan’s administration, which stipulated mandatory enforcement of crimes involving a certain amount of drugs. The minimum sentence has caused disproportionate suffering to impoverished communities of color.
The law stipulates that the prison sentence for possession of crack (a drug related to black people) and cocaine powder (related to wealthier whites) is 100 to 1.
In fact, mass imprisonment of poor blacks in for-profit prisons is a good way for capitalism to “disrupt the community.”
In foreign countries, in the past half a century, many communities have been disrupted by the “drug war”, and this “drug war” is actually a war against the poor. I think of Colombia. The United States has invested billions of dollars in a right-wing government that is completely involved in the drug trade. They use the support of the empire to slaughter farmers, leftists, social justice activists, and anyone else who hinders the development of neoliberalism. Dystopia.
In Mexico, hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives in the context of the official launch of the US-supported domestic drug war in 2006.While achieving its ostensible goal of zero – thanks to the continued demand for drugs and criminal convictions in the United States that first made their trafficking so profitable – the war has Succeeded Make Mexico City some of the most violent places on the planet.
At the same time, in the United States, the penultimate president, Donald Trump, brought new life to the drug war. Although optimistic observers have discovered that in the less transparent anti-social Joe Biden’s new government, Biden is likely to improve, but Biden also happens to be one of the creators of drug-related excessive incarceration in the United States. Including the difference between crack and cocaine in the judgment of 100:1.
An article in the News Daily reminded us that in 1991, Biden “lamented” that the death penalty was rarely applied to drug traffickers.
But in view of the country’s firm capitalist commitment to deprive its residents of proper medical care and other basic survival rights, the existence of the United States alone can actually constitute the death penalty. Given the oppressive panorama, it is not shocking that many people turn to drugs.
Now, as the U.S. Drug War enters its 50th anniversary, The opioid flood Because of the lethal predatory practices of the pharmaceutical industry, which are raging in the United States, people can’t help but think that a completely different war on drugs is imperative. Or better yet: a war on the drug itself.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.