Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Walter Cronkite pimps for the Drug Policy Alliance

Jerry Stratton, March 3, 2006

Walter Cronkite is telling the truth about the war on drugs and asking for donations for the Drug Policy Alliance. I second that. I’ve been a member of the DPA for over ten years now in their various incarnations. They do good work.

Some people are saying that he’s talking like this is new; that’s a disservice to him. I remember Cronkite’s special The Drug Dilemma: War or Peace? back on June 20, 1995. At the end of that show, he said:

It’s surely time for this nation to stop flying blind, stop accepting the assurances of politicians and other officials, that if we only keep doing what we are doing, add a little more cash, break down a few more doors, lock up a few more Jan Warrens and Nicole Richardsons, then we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Victory will be ours.

Tonight we have seen a war that in it’s broad outline is not working. And we’ve seen some less war-like ideas that appear to hold promise. We’ve raised more questions than we’ve answered, because that’s where the drug war stands today. We’re a confused people, desperately in need of answers and leadership. Legalization seems to many like too dangerous an experiment, to others, the war on drugs as it is now conducted, seems inhumane and too costly. Is there a middle ground?

Well, it seems to this reporter, that the time has come for President Clinton to do what President Hoover did when prohibition was tearing the nation apart: appoint a bipartisan commission of distinguished citizens, perhaps including some of the people we heard tonight, a blue-ribbon panel to re-appraise our drug policy right down to its very core, a commission with full investigative authority and the prestige and power to override bureaucratic concerns and political considerations.

We cannot go into tomorrow with the same formulas that are failing today. We must not blindly add to the body count and the terrible cost of the war on drugs, only to learn from another Robert McNamara 30 years from now that what we’ve been doing is, “wrong, terribly wrong”.

President Clinton did not take that advice, however. In response to Cronkite’s latest article, others are talking about how this is all Bush’s fault; that’s a false hope, though: until Bush (and possibly including him), Clinton’s administration was by far the worst offender ramping up the violence and injustices of prohibition.

Democratic administrations have been just as willing as Republican administrations to put people in jail on flimsy (or no) evidence for something that shouldn’t be a crime to begin with. The shocking cases in Tulia, Texas, that Cronkite mentions happened in 1999, under the Clinton administration. The final victims weren’t released until 2003 when Republican Governor Rick Perry signed a bill freeing the remaining thirteen on bond.

If we want to end the injustices of prohibition, we need to remember that, and keep up the call (and donations) no matter who is in power.

  1. <- Defense is Partisan
  2. Borders Violence ->