Mimsy Were the Borogoves

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

Will prohibition destroy the Iraq turnaround?

Jerry Stratton, January 28, 2008

There’s nothing like prohibition to fund gang violence and to corrupt government officials. I think that if alcohol had been illegal in 1787 the United States would not have survived long enough to become a stable country. Alcohol prohibition was bad enough here in the twenties, and prohibition-related gang violence today is still endemic in some parts of the country.

Now, after months of reduced violence in Iraq and Iraqi gangs coming in from the heat to join the democratic process, comes news that opium is taking root in Iraq. This has the potential to derail the good things happening in Iraq and turn it into another narco-state like Columbia and, increasingly, Mexico. Prohibition may well nurture too much violence and corruption for a young Iraq to handle.

We don’t have to legalize heroin to undercut opium trafficking any more than we had to legalize pure alcohol to undercut alcohol trafficking. Re-legalize opium and it will drastically cut demand for the stronger forms of the drug. But the time to undercut the black market in opium is now, and the only way to do it is to bring opium out of the black market.

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