Norm Stamper (CELEBSTONER), with video (08:46):
I all but fell out of my chair when I heard drug czar Gil Kerlikowske say the drug war came to an end two years ago (see clip below). Think of the time, money and energy we could have saved! All those speeches, all that research, the scientific papers, legislative and citizen-led initiatives to repeal prohibition, the massive effort to combat the continuing reality of...war.Howie P.S.: OK. I can't go ONE DAY without a political moment.
Kerlikowske should speak directly to the millions, most of them nonviolent drug offenders, who've been arrested since his declaration of peace.
It was a truly laughable moment in the annals of drug enforcement and drug policy reform. Except that people are still being tortured, still dying at the hands of drug cartels, still being stripped of their freedom, their civil liberties. Still suffering, day in and day out, the multiple ravages of the drug war.
It's too easy to respond by saying, "No, unfortunately Gil is wrong," however accurate that may be. Better to ask him for a single sliver of evidence that the war is over, just because he says it is. Near-record numbers of arrests for marijuana possession (see New York), Bush-era priorities and ratios in the continuing federal saga of enforcement vs. prevention, education and treatment funding, continuing SWAT raids on individual Americans' homes.
Kerlikowske took office promising openness, honesty, a fresh look, a commitment to science-based policies and decision-making. Instead, we get marijuana legalization is not in his or the president's "vocabulary." How unscientific and un-American is that? Marijuana has no "medicinal value." Marijuana is dangerous. On and on.
His statement two years ago that he and the Obama administration would end the drug war had a lot of people thinking we would turn the corner on this nation's obscene, costly war against its own people. Many of us knew better. Now, we all know better.
The former police chief of Seattle (Kerlikowske succeeded him), Norm Stamper, has become one of the leading voices of LEAP,(Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) and is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing.