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November 22, 2012

“Nobody Died in Watergate”

I occasionally watch Fox News just to hear their latest take on reality and was brought up short yesterday morning when I heard the flannel-mouthed Chris Wallace assert “nobody died in Watergate” in support of the Republican witch hunt about who said what and what relation it might have had to the deaths of four Americans at the hands of a Libyan mob in Benghazi back in September.

Don’t radical Republicans realize the election is over, the world has moved on, and we are in the midst of another crisis in the Middle East? Clearly, the answer is no; the election hasn't changed their need to oppose Obama any more than whatever temporary "peace" ends the new violence in Gaza and Jerusalem will end the hatred that has divided Arabs and Israelis since the state of Israel was founded by UN mandate in 1947.

The issue of culpability for “Benghazi” is now a shibboleth in an attempt to block the President's appointment of Susan Rice as Secretary of State to replace Hilary Clinton. Whatever the accuracy of Rice’s statement and her (perhaps) overlong adherence to an erroneous intelligence assessment, the idea that it was culpable in the deaths of our Ambassador and three others makes as much sense as blaming Robert Mueller for the the FBI's dismissal of specific warnings from Agent Colleen Rowley about to Zacarias Moussaoui well before 9/11.

Be that as it may, Wallace’s clueless reference to Watergate betrays an even bigger failure: the catastrophic social damage that resulted after "responsible" governments and "leading" social institutions accepted the unsupported assertions of the two principal Watergate culprits in the Controlled Substances Act they persuaded the US Congress to pass and the UN to accept without a scintilla of supporting clinical evidence.

I’m not claiming that either Nixon or Mitchell could have anticipated the catastrophe their rhetorical enhancements of Harry Anslinger’s clumsy 1937 ban on "marihuana" would lead to, only that there may be no better example of the ripple effects that can result when malevolence is incorporated into public policy.

Nixon's intention was not to protect the public against "drug abuse" as he claimed, but to punish the pot-smoking hippies who were then protesting his bombing of Laos and Cambodia to influence negotiations aimed at ending the Vietnam war.

What is most discouraging to me is the degree to which institutions and governments all over the world have endorsed Mitchell's formulations as essential to public health, but were clearly intended to punish youthful users of drugs that had never been studied as responsibly or competently as they should have been.

Unfortunately, the same is still true: transporting small amounts of "marijuana" across the border of any UN signatory nation is a "crime" that, if discovered, can result in immediate arrest of the smuggler; yet once we finally had had an opportunity to do clinical research on career pot users, self-appointed "experts sans expertise" arrogated the right to decide what research should reveal.

Ironically, how President Obama, himself a toker in High School, deals with the conundrum created by voters in Washington state and Colorado will be a major determinant of his legacy.

There's still a lot to say about this complex and terribly misunderstood issue, but this seems like a good place to stop for the moment.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at November 22, 2012 07:09 PM