Busted: Stoned Cowboys, Narco-Lords, and Washington's War on Drugs

Overview


Thirty years ago Richard Nixon called drugs "the modern curse of youth" and launched the modern "War on Drugs" as we know it. Thirty years later, even the conservative National Review has said, "The War on Drugs has failed." Spanning three decades, Busted tells readers why, charting the violence, chaos, and corruption that the War on Drugs has spawned. It includes frontline reporting from all over the world, literary journalism, public records, and provocative commentary from the left and right. P. J. O'Rourke ...
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Overview


Thirty years ago Richard Nixon called drugs "the modern curse of youth" and launched the modern "War on Drugs" as we know it. Thirty years later, even the conservative National Review has said, "The War on Drugs has failed." Spanning three decades, Busted tells readers why, charting the violence, chaos, and corruption that the War on Drugs has spawned. It includes frontline reporting from all over the world, literary journalism, public records, and provocative commentary from the left and right. P. J. O'Rourke writes, "Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows.... Prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could." And Christopher Hitchens has charged that the drug war involves "a demented overseas entanglement, with off-the-record U.S. military aircraft running shady missions over Colombia and Peru, and high-level collaboration with ruthless and unaccountable ‘Special Forces.' Colombia doesn't look any more like the U.S. as a result, but the U.S. does look a lot more like Colombia." From the crack dens of South Central L.A. to Iran Contra, from Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" to Plan Columbia, here is a collection of the most provocative, dissenting writing on the drug wars. Contributors include Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, William Buckley Jr., Milton Friedman, Gary Webb, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, and a jailhouse interview with General Manuel Noriega by Oliver Stone.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In assessing the famed campaign of the subtitle, Gray (Drug Crazy) has brought together 33 contributors, often journalist-analysts with access to sources that vary from coca farmers in Colombia to former drug czar Barry McCaffrey. The majority agrees that the war on drugs is an exercise in futility. Journalist Ethan Nadelmann believes the policy has failed because U.S. politicians prefer "rhetoric to reality, and moralism to pragmatism." Craig Reinarman and Joshua Wolf Shenk probe the psychology behind Americans' legal, illegal, and prescribed relationships to mind-altering substances, and report that U.S. drug warriors "fear Dutch drug policy like the Catholic Church feared Galileo." Rowena Young considers drug use a false antidote to feelings of purposeless and social isolation. To make the point more concretely, Philippe Bourgois asks a crack dealer in East Harlem how he feels about selling drugs; the man responds: "I hate the people! I hate the environment!...But it's like you get caught up with it....Another day another dollar." Rolling Stone writer T.D. Allman asks a group of Colombian drug farmers whether they want to get out of the coca business, and they answer with a resounding "yes." Roger Hernandez of the Farmers' Association cries out, "We are victims of the drug consumers. We need help to break the circle." Gray, chair of the advocacy group Common Sense for Drug Policy, has collected a vibrant group of thinkers; the opinions are diverse, and the quality of writing consistently high. Most of what they say won't be surprising to critics of U.S. drug policy, but having the arguments in one place and in an accessible format should be a boon to campus and lay readers. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Writers from a broad political spectrum assemble their voices to clobber the pathetic, irresponsible, and murderous war on drugs. From magazines as diverse as The Nation and Playboy, Gray has drawn these essays lambasting the drug policy still being pursued by the government. Among the 32 pieces can be found Milton Friedman decrying the inherent racism of our drug policy, and William F. Buckley Jr. pursuing a utilitarian tact, taking into account the lives and dollars spent enforcing drug laws or, potentially, not enforcing them. Christopher Hitchens is enraged that "three decades of this grotesque, state-sponsored racketeering have led to unbelievable levels of political corruption and to an unheard-of assault on civil and political liberties." His notion is expanded on in one of the true gems here, Graham Boyd and Jack Hitt’s citation of infringements on the Bill of Rights due to the drug war. These include the threatened arrest of doctors who even mention the use of marijuana for medical purposes, curtailments of the freedoms of religion and assembly, the practice of unreasonable search and seizure, the use of self-incrimination and cruel punishments, and the setting aside of trial by jury. Episodes of people being "assaulted in their homes by SWAT teams waving machine guns, spewing foul language, threatening to shoot people, and trashing the house" have become everyday business. Charles Bowden contributes his customary whispery, terrifying material, this time on the life of an informant, and P.J. O’Rourke manages to lift readers’ spirits with his sidelong commentary: "I don’t do drugs anymore. They interfere with the Prozac, lithium, Viagra, and painkillers." If you weren’t alreadysuspicious of the "war on drugs" and this collection fails to dissuade you, then you probably work for the DEA.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560254324
  • Publisher: Nation Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Series: Nation Bks.
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author


Mike Gray is the author of Drug Crazy and the screenwriter of The China Syndrome. He has produced the award-winning documentaries American Revolution and The Murder of Fred Hampton. Gray has written for The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, and Rolling Stone. He is the chair of Common Sense for a Drug Policy, a D.C.-based pressure group.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Blow Back 3
A Talk with Manuel Noriega 17
Teachings of Don Fernando: A Life and Death in the Narcotics Trade 31
George Soro's Long Strange Trip: A Philanthropist Defies Drug War Orthodoxy 51
What Do We Do When the Drug War Stops? 63
BYO Heroin 67
World Leaders on Dope: Right Joins Left in Call for An End to the Drug War 71
Mayor Rocky Anderson Talks about What It's Like to ... Drop the D.A.R.E. Program 77
Breaking out of the 12-Step Lockstep 81
Drug Abuse Treatment or Drug Treatment Abuse 85
Re-engineering the Drug Business 91
Workaday World, Crack Economy: Breaking Rocks in El Barrio 109
America's Lonely Drug War 121
America's Dirty War on Drugs 125
Why Dutch Drug Policy Threatens the U.S. 127
The Drug Wars: Voices from the Street 137
This is Your Bill of Rights 149
Smash-up Policing: When Law Enforcement Goes Military 155
Casualty in the War on Drugs 159
There's No Justice in the War on Drugs: Can Our Laws Be Moral if They Have So Racist an Effect? 169
Commonsense Drug Policy 173
My Problem With the War on Drugs 187
The War On Drugs Is Lost 197
The Politics of Ecstasy 213
A Mother's Advice about Drugs 217
The Myth of "Harmless" Marijuana 219
The Problem is Pot Prohibition 223
Dope Fiends: A Tape transcript 227
America's Altered States: When Does Legal Relief of Pain Become Illegal Pursuit of Pleasure? 233
The War on (Some) Drugs 257
No Relief in Sight 261
Whither Medical Marijuana 273
About the Contributors 281
Resources 285
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2005

    This compilation is very effective at showing the futility of the War on Drugs!

    This is a great book because it is a compilation of articles so it never directly tells you how to think. It lets you draw your own conclusion. The point is driven home in a very unique way, by touching on all aspects of the Drug War. After reading this I see a more complete picture of the futility and contradictions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2004

    Perfected By Diversity

    Must read book. You can argue with the book, but, you'd only be fooling yourself. The variety of writers perspectives carefully point out the obvious: the 'war on drugs' is plain dumb.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2009

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