Saturday, September 19, 2009

Misha Glenny on the Drug War

Misha Glenny, author of McMafia, has a great op-ed piece in the New York Times about the need to end the War on Drugs. I particularly like how he frames the argument in terms of national security:
Two significant developments are contributing to the sudden surge in calls for reconsidering prohibition. The first is that drugs are now damaging long-term Western security interests, especially in Afghanistan and Mexico. The second is that production is migrating away from its traditional homes like Colombia and the Golden Triangle and moving into the heart of Western consumer areas like Canada, the Netherlands and Britain.

The problem is becoming so dramatic that elder statesmen, senior law enforcement officers, intellectuals and philanthropists the world over are speaking out loud and clear: The “War on Drugs” is a disastrous policy that achieves none of its aims and inflicts huge damage on global security and governance wherever it is prosecuted.

The whole essay is worth reading (and he has some very kind words about LEAP).

Correction: This did not appear in the NY Times. It was printed in the weekend edition of the International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the Times Company (so that's why it is hosted on


  1. If anyone's reading comments today you should go to:

    When you get baked by your brownies

    I've known the blog writer for four years and some of the arguments get pretty intense. Just keep it clean and proper please as we debunk what no doubt many will throw in there.

  2. One thing that keeps coming to mind is the total lack of approaching this from a scientific standpoint.

    Ok, I've seen on TV how cops use pepper spray on each other and shoot each other with tazers so they know what it's like to have that stuff used on them. At first I was surprised they did this, then I respected it a lot!

    So why can't these crazed Drug Warriors smoke a joint?! Do they really believe the "Refer Madness" that they will suddenly love communism, or strip naked and try to rape someone, or want to grow their hair long and say "dude" all the time, do they think that a puff or two from a joint is going to be so "mind altering" they will forever be tarnished?

    Surely there is enough anecdotal evidence out there, or even scientific research, that says people who have tried marijuana once have just as easily said, "OK, next." And gone back to the their beer/wine, or even nothing but adrenaline rushes from playing paintball.

    I guess part of the problem is not only with the Drug Warriors spewing their misinformation, but the brainwashed masses who swallow it whole. These people need a serious education in truth; their constant focus on drugs does nothing but draw attention to them.

    I am committed to overturning this huge injustice on society/the world, and am content to put down my pen once "we win." The proverbial taking off the gloves after the fight. But until them, the escalation is 100% them, the fact this is becoming big news and in the faces of kids IS NOT my choosing but theirs.

    Save the Children, End Prohibition.

  3. Quick follow-up, a quote from Mark Twain:

    "It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare."

    Like I alluded to above, the "physical courage" gives a nearly immediate "high" to those carrying the guns, sending them to battle, etc… the adrenaline rush.

    Moral courage is much less immediately rewarding, especially cognitively/mentally, since one can easily imagine the mean-spirited people (and their lobbyists, and their "religious" followers, etc…) coming out of the woodwork to beat you down with their Holier-Than-Thou attitudes and poor logic.


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