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Wall Street Journal Thinks Americans Still Love the Drug War

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Yesterday's Wall Street Journal interview with new drug czar Gil Kerlikowske is generating discussion due to Kerlikowske's statement that we must move beyond the "war on drugs" analogy. But Gary Fields's piece also included a dubious assumption that shouldn’t escape notice:

Mr. Kerlikowske's comments are a signal that the Obama administration is set to follow a more moderate -- and likely more controversial -- stance on the nation's drug problems. Prior administrations talked about pushing treatment and reducing demand while continuing to focus primarily on a tough criminal-justice approach.

This is controversial? There is no evidence of that. In fact, everywhere you look, you'll see a changing political climate with regards to drug policy:

1. Obama made repeated statements in favor of various drug policy reforms on the campaign trail, including support for medical marijuana, treatment over incarceration, needle exchange, and fixing the crack/cocaine sentencing disparity. In a hard-fought campaign, these were among his least controversial positions.

2. Support for legalizing marijuana is surging in America, currently polling as high as 52%. Since taking office, Obama's biggest controversy with regards to drug policy was his statement in opposition to legalizing marijuana.

3. A recent Zogby poll found that 76% of Americans believe the war on drugs has failed. This view was held by a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

The idea that there's anything controversial about moving towards a more moderate drug policy is just false on its face. The opposite is true. Americans are tired of the "tough criminal justice approach" and they elected a president who said he'd bring a new perspective to this issue.

If anything, it would have made more sense to say these policy shifts will most likely make our drug policy less controversial. Certainly, that's what Kerlikowske expects by making these conciliatory remarks. He's pandering to the growing public sentiment that the drug war is getting out of hand. Seriously, why on earth would anyone expect controversy over this? To the contrary, people find it reassuring, which is exactly why the White House is framing it this way. I thought that was obvious.

Thus, with this one seemingly harmless quip, "likely more controversial," the WSJ ends up missing the entire point of the story and utterly misdiagnosing what Kerlikowske represents. Public attitudes about the war on drugs are changing, thereby forcing our political leadership to begin implementing certain popular reforms while generally reframing the entire issue.

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Comment On Comments

As of this comment post, there are 190 comments connected to that article.

As I scan through them, the comments are dominated by people opposing drug prohibition.

Every article they publish on the subject produces a similar domination.

People are smart enough to know:

Politicians and police involved in the black market started and still carry out the terrorist prohibition and human trafficking racket,wars against people and drugs as a way to keep earth a type 0 civilization for fraud to create profit from human misery.

Big bucks

Maybe we are heading in the right direction, but to change the laws means cops will be laid off the DEA, SWAT, Drug TASK Force Units.

When Mayor Calvo introduced his bill to increase oversight and accountability for SWAT, all law enforcement opposed it.

Even if Obama wants to change the direction of the drug war it will be an up hill battle with law enforcement all the way.

Given the huge amounts of money we continue to pour into a failed drug war, why isn't the mainstream media getting the facts out there.


It is being a little bit naive to assume that no one would find the legalization of pot controversial. Many people hold on to their unfounded religious and moral beliefs that will make them at least reluctant to accept a new drug policy. The author was implying that future actions may be more controversial, not simply stating that the war on drugs in quote-unquote over.

Wall Street Journal thinks Americans still love

The Wall Street Journal.

America Hates The Drug War

America Hates The Drug War
Because of these reasons.

1# Cost To much Money$
2# Are children are buying it from dealers
3# Marijuana can be used for medical reasons
4# Goverment can earn money by taxing it
5# Convicted for just smokeing
6# Are rights as Americans

Really good reasons why it should be legal
and regulated.

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