John P Walters – Drug Warrior to the Bitter End

John P Walters is either ignorant, willfully misleading, or both. Saturday’s WSJ contained a pro/con section discussing legalization of drugs. The pro-legalization side, written by Steven B. Duke, mostly dwells on the benefits of legalizing marijuana, with arguments you’ve probably heard before: tax revenue, reduce burden on our prison system, etc. John Walters, a two-term Bush-ite, bases his argument against marijuana legalization by ignoring marijuana, and pointing fingers at methamphetamine addicts, and the crack so-called epidemic of the 1980s.

Justified alarm over drug-related Mexican border violence has led to the predictable spate of drug legalization proposals. The most prominent was a call by three former Latin American presidents — from Brazil, Colombia and Mexico — to end what they claimed was the drug war. While there are many “end the drug war” plans, all of them, as even their advocates admit, result in more drug use and addiction. Their response? We should emasculate prevention and law enforcement and just spend more on treatment.

What would America look like with twice or three times as many drug users and addicts? To answer, consider what America was like in the recent past, during the frightening epidemic of methamphetamine, so similar to the crack outbreak of the 1980s. Each was a nightmare, fueled by ready drug availability.

Americans can’t forget the meth epidemic hitting the heartland earlier this decade. In 2004, 1.4 million people said they had used methamphetamine in the past year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The powerful, long-lasting stimulant began growing rapidly as the make-it-yourself drug, using a precursor in over-the-counter cold medicine. It later was produced in large quantities by Mexican traffickers and smuggled into the U.S. Drugs weren’t just an urban problem anymore.

[From Drugs: To Legalize or Not –]

I have never actually ever met a marijuana addict in my life: do such creatures exist?

Walters continues his spiel:

The violence essential to drug trafficking is meant to be shocking — from the marijuana traffickers who brutally murdered DEA special agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in Mexico in 1985 to the viciousness of rolling heads across a dance floor — calculated to frighten decent citizens and government authorities into silence.

and so on

Legalizing drugs is the worst thing we could do for President Felipe Calderón and our Mexican allies. It would weaken the moral authority of his fight and the Mexicans would immediately realize that we have no intention of reducing consumption. Who do we think would take the profits from a legal drug trade? U.S. suppliers would certainly spring up, but that wouldn’t preclude Mexican supplies as well — or Mexican production for consumption in other countries. The Mexicans know that they too have a dangerous use and addiction problem. They have already learned that it is wrong and dangerous to make abuse and addiction worse.

We can make progress faster when more of us learn that drug use and addiction can not be an expression of individual liberty in a free society. Drug abuse is, by nature and the laws of organic chemistry that govern this disease, incompatible with freedom and civil society. Drug abuse makes human life solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short (a special version of Hobbes’s hell in our own families). In the deepest sense, this is why failure is not an option.

What a buffoon

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