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May 17, 2009

Sea Change or Trial Balloon?

It’s fitting that I didn't learn that our newly confirmed drug czar had hinted at a radical change in the policy he’s paid to support in a WSJ interview last Thursday until Dustin Costa called from the federal prison (in Texas) where he’s serving an obscene fifteen-year sentence as a political prisoner of the drug war.

Although many media outlets either didn’t bother to report it or pretended Kerlikowske’s bombshell was just some minor heresy, its muted reception was further evidence to me that we are starting to see a modern replay of the phenomena that brought down Prohibition in the early Thirties: the Depression had simply made it too expensive to enforce as national policy and its central myth was no longer believable.

That doesn’t mean that de-emphasis of the drug war will follow quickly or won’t be fiercely resisted by current beneficiaries; only that any criticism or suggested modification is no longer the political third rail it once was, itself itself a huge, and essential, step forward.

Still to be resolved in the relatively near future are some vexing details: how will the Obama Administration’s Department of “Justice“ proceed with several grossly unfair federal cases now stuck in the pipeline between conviction (or plea bargain) and sentencing?

We Americans pride ourselves on fairness; yet our media routinely covers trivial injustices far more intensely than those inflicted in support of our failing drug policy.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at May 17, 2009 07:01 PM