Excellent OpEd in the New York Times by Charles M. Blow
Friday marks the 40th anniversary of one of the biggest, most expensive, most destructive social policy experiments in American history: The war on drugs. [...]
So began a war that has waxed and waned, sputtered and sprinted, until it became an unmitigated disaster, an abomination of justice and a self-perpetuating, trillion-dollar economy of wasted human capital, ruined lives and decimated communities. [...]
An effort meant to save us from a form of moral decay became its own insidious brand of moral perversion — turning people who should have been patients into prisoners, criminalizing victimless behavior, targeting those whose first offense was entering the world wrapped in the wrong skin. It feeds our achingly contradictory tendency toward prudery and our overwhelming thirst for punishment.
He goes on to note the Global Commission Report released last week and then says:
The White House immediately shot back: no dice. The Obama administration presented a collection of statistics that compared current drug use and demand with the peak of the late 1970s, although a direct correlation between those declines and the drug war are highly debatable. In doing so, it completely sidestepped the human, economic and societal toll of the mass incarceration of millions of Americans, many for simple possession.
No need to put a human face on 40 years of folly when you can swaddle its inefficacy in a patchwork quilt of self-serving statistics.