The Other Forever War

Why the War on Drugs Grinds On and On

Still from Straight Outta Compton. (New Line Cinema)

Why does the drug war grind on, decade after decade, immune to reason, often grotesque in its hypocrisy? How can one listen without laughing to the solemn posturing of the U.S. government about the  stings Mexican banks for their washing of drug money, without a word about corresponding drug money-washing by U.S. banks? Small wonder Mexican politicians deride the US  for its double standard.

In all its hypocrisy and cruelty the drug war drags on because it serves an important repressive function that no state is eager to abandon. If its real, as opposed to its proclaimed purpose is recognized, the drug war “works.”  And that purpose has never been the halting of production, shipment and consumption of drugs. Take a look at the history of drug wars over the past 175 years. These drug wars are either openly avowed or tacit enterprises that expand the drug trade, or they are pretexts for social and political repression.

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Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3

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