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The war on drugs works in opposition to the battle against terrorism.

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It is time to end the ridiculous, ineffectual War on Drugs in order to concentrate on the very real War on Terrorism (though casting it as a war is misleading and leads to ineffective activities like the bombing in Afghanistan). The WOD is a civil war based more on moral hysteria than any logic. Why is a relatively nonlethal drug like marijuana illegal while alcohol, so much more potent and potentially dangerous, is not? The argument that pot leads to the harder stuff lies at the very root of why we have to stop this losing campaign, now!

Sometime in the Sixties, Allen Ginsberg argued that making pot illegal was promoting this very graduation. Ginsberg pointed out that lines of distribution would be set up for the relatively benign pot along which, later, harder and different drugs would flow. When I was in high school in 1966, 1967, most kids scored in the City, though there were a few ambitious dealers who would buy a couple of dime bags and split them up to sell them at home. Almost nobody did drugs. In 1970, when I was home visiting from college, you could get any drug in any quantity you wanted at the high school. Within a decade, this was true of most schools in the country. Even where you would least expect it. The lines of distribution, once established, served all sorts of product.

Ignoring the moral and logical argument against the WOD, let's talk about the tactical one. Specifically, the War on Drugs works in opposition to the battle against terrorism. Smuggling drugs is very, very lucrative. This has made our borders porous because it is very worthwhile to figure out how to penetrate them. Smuggling goes on in enormous quantities every day. Obviously, even if all drugs were legal, all kinds of smuggling would continue. But drugs -- easily among the most lucrative smuggled products -- and politics are already comfortable bedfellows. Internationally, in many areas anti-government forces have long ago turned to the drug trade as a source of revenue (the Northern Alliance comes to mind). Terrorists will logically cultivate this relationship. Drug smuggling can provide both the funds and the means for terrorists. There are networks of distribution set up throughout the United States for drugs because there are so many drug users and sympathizers. But how can these networks be perverted or imitated or situated as decoys? There are only so many wars a country should conduct on its own soil at the same time.

This WOD has proven to be a long-term, expensive war against we the people in which everyone loses. Imagine, if tomorrow alcohol were made illegal and everyone who possessed a bottle went to prison. Ridiculous? We have filled our prisons with just such neighbors. Which makes it harder to isolate the real criminals, those who pose an ongoing danger to society.

The world has changed. Today is the day to change our priorities. The fight against terrorism is already expensive, and costs will simply keep escalating. It is time to turn our attention from our own people, who mean us no harm, to those who so clearly do. At the bedrock is my conviction that the War on Drugs should, at best, be considered frivolously reactionary if it weren't so expensive in human and financial terms. It is wrong. Besides being wrong, right now, it is very dangerous to the real health of our country.


Austin's economy is very confused right now. It seems to be staggering about, not sure if it's going to take a very bad fall or somehow make it through another round. The Chronicle is not immune to this slide, and our revenues have fallen during the past year. The holiday season will be very important this year, but the months to watch are January and February. They will be welcoming us not only into a New Year but a new world.


We went to the Eat Drink Watch Movies series at the Alamo Drafthouse North to see Big Night. The Alamo North seems to be quite a success. The secret of the Alamo: The food is good and the service expert, especially considering the circumstances. This night the food, by Asti Trattoria and La Traviata, was outstanding, one of the finest meals our family has eaten in a while. The whole experience was great. Thanks to Virginia Wood, Tim and Karrie League at the Alamo, and all the restaurants that provided such wonderful meals (Michael King is still talking about the smothered pork chops from the Soul Food night).


This week, continuing the Eat Drink theme, we bring you a do-it-yourself guide to Central Texas barbecue dynasties. Here is the info, here's the map, now get out there and do it yourself, Eat Drink Drive Around (and eat lots of barbecue).


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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

War on Drugs, War on Terrorism, Allen Ginsberg, Austin economy, Eat Drink Watch Movies, Alamo Drafthouse North, Big Night, Asti Trattoria, La Traviata, Virginia Wood, Tim League, Karrie League, Michael King, Soul Food night, barbecue, do-it-yourself guide

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