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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Grow Your Own Damn Drugs

As usual, I got pleasantly lost on Juan Cole's website today, reading an article on the Afghan narcotics industry. (If you're interested in an excellent report on this subject, which outlines why crop eradication does not work in stemming the Afghan opium tide, and in fact it simply punishes the poor and fuels insurgency, then click here for the PDF.)

For many years I've been reading about the murderous violence of south American drug cartels and the flourishing opium industry in Afghanistan. Then I'd go over to my friends' houses, some of them die-hard Republicans, and listen to them brag about the high quality of their drugs, passing their joints and pipes, and promising they'd get some of the same rich sin-semilia goodness, the very same "uncut" cocaine (yeah right), just for you! As soon as their dealer came back from his vacation in Belize.

There wouldn't be a drug industry if it wasn't for all the yuppies that support it with their "recreational" drug use. Sure, there are many inner city crack and heroin addicts, but my bet is that the big money that fuels the drug trade comes from middle to upper class tragically hip Americans.

Now, not all drug users are as ignorant of the connection between their drug use and violence. I have one group of acquaintances who get their pot from a guy who legally grows pot to supply the medicinal marijuana industry. He doesn't mind selling a few bags here and there to his trusted friends. I can say with some confidence that nobody died in that production chain. But few tokers are lucky enough to have such a supplier. This scenario would be much more prevalent, of course, if America would legalize marijuana.

So, here's what I've been wanting to say for a long, long time to all of my friends and acquaintances who regularly partake in illegal drug use: If you don't have a known non-violent supply chain, or if you're not growing your own pot or poppies or coca leaves in your back yard and brewing your own heroin, crack and cocaine in the privacy of your own kitchen, then you're personally supporting murder, violence and corruption in other parts of the world. OK?

And, you can no longer blithely wave your French-nail-varnished or expensive-watch-wearing hands in dismissal and say, "Oh but all that stuff is happening over (or down) there, it doesn't have anything to do with us." Bullshit.

American soldiers (oh, I know, they are primarily poor kids and brown kids, not sons or daughters of any friends of yours) are dieing in Afghanistan, and if you believe Obama's right-wing-stroking election rhetoric, he's going to send our troops currently in Iraq to Afghanistan the second he gets elected (if McCain doesn't run and tell his boy Bush to start moving troops now, in the vain hope of one-upping Obama and winning the November election), so that even more US soldiers can die in Afghanistan.

In addition, I have no idea on the percentages, but I would hazard a guess that some of the undocumented people in America crossed our southern borders in order to escape the drug cartel violence in their home towns. They risk deportation from the US, but the last time I checked, deported is better than dead.

And to my illicit-drug-taking Republican friends? Please get so fucking stoned that you forget to vote. Or just STOP voting Republicans into office who support failed anti-drug legislation that does no more than flood the courts with petty felony possession cases and fill the billion dollar BushCo prison industry (supported by your tax dollars!) with non-violent, non-criminal inmates.

Oh, and stop being such a bunch of fucking hypocrites, OK?

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