Fight Terrorism by Ending the War on Drugs
A few days ago President Bush stated that the sale of illegal drugs
is funding terrorism around the world. To halt this, Bush is now
calling for stepping up the War on Drugs.
This is a disastrous and illogical approach to a serious problem.
It is true that terrorist organizations -- including Osama bin
Laden's Al-Qaeda -- have long used the sale of illegal drugs to fund
their horrific activities. On May 31, 2000, CBS News observed: "For
the first time, there is...evidence that Afghanistan's heroin
producing poppy fields are funding bin Laden's organization, Al-Qaeda,
as well as the Taliban."
And this is nothing new. Back in 1994. Interpol's chief drugs
officer, Iqbal Hussain Rizvi, noted: "Drugs have taken over as the
chief means of financing terrorism."
Bush is wrong, however, to think that the War on Drugs is the answer
to this is. In fact, it is the Drug War itself that makes it
possible for terrorists to earn millions of dollars from producing
and selling drugs
By outlawing drugs, the government has created a massive black
market in which those willing to take the risks of selling illegal
drugs can make huge profits. These huge profits -- only possible
because drugs are illegal -- are the only reason terrorists and
other criminals sell drugs. The Drug War, and *only* the Drug War,
makes it possible for them to earn fortunes from drugs -- just as
alcohol Prohibition made thugs like Al Capone rich in the 1920s.
So the Drug War is, in essence, a massive government subsidy to
terrorists. Trying to fight terrorism by stepping up the War on
Drugs is like trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it.
Drugs were legal in America until well into the 20th century, and we
had none of the violence and crime associated with drug use today.
Nor did terrorists or other criminals profit by the sale of drugs.
Those problems are caused by the Drug War, not the drugs
If President Bush really wants to get serious about cutting off
funding for terrorists, he will listen to the growing coalition of
anti-Drug War libertarians, conservatives and liberals, and end the
failed Drug War. We should re-legalize the manufacture, use and sale
of drugs for adults, while holding users responsible for any
criminal actions committed under the influence of drugs. That's the
same as we now do with alcohol and tobacco. Liberty and
responsibility -- this was our traditional American approach, and it
worked far better.
Re-legalization will immediately halt the chief source of terrorism
funding around the world -- as well as curing a whole host of other
Drug War-spawned evils.
James W. Harris
(Written December 2001; not sure if it was published or not)