Kevin Carson on the objective of the ‘War on Drugs’ having little to do with lifestyle and all to do with perpetual war.
8 Sept 2010 | C4SS
In Orwell’s 1984, Oceania’s perpetual war with the other superpowers of Eurasia and Eastasia was never meant to be won. Its primary purpose was to absorb the economy’s surplus output and serve as a prop to the kind of domestic authoritarianism generally associated with perpetual warfare states. Oceania couldn’t afford to “win” the war—or rather, never winning was the real victory—because the main purpose of fighting it was to support an ongoing system of power.
The War on Drugs, similarly, helps to prop up a system of power. Listening to people like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) argue against drug legalization or decriminalization, you’d almost get the idea that the U.S. government really wants to stop drug use. But it doesn’t.
Domestically, of course, the Drug War promotes police statism and the erosion of civil liberties. But perhaps its most important function is to keep up the price of illegal drugs so that the people controlling the black markets can make money off the drug trade. The international drug lords are the biggest supporters of drug prohibition.
That’s why the War on Drugs will never be won—its whole purpose is to make the drug trade more lucrative for the sinister forces that control it.
And guess what? The United States intelligence community and the banking industry comprise the biggest international drug cartel. They put Medellin to shame.
Alfred W. McCoy, in The Politics of Heroin: C.I.A. Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (2003), provides some useful historical perspective.
Until the Kuomintang was driven out of Burma by a coup in 1961, the C.I.A. encouraged it to expand the opium trade as a source of funding. Afterward, the C.I.A. facilitated the drug trade in Laos and Vietnam through the 1960s. During the 1980s the C.I.A.’s covert support for the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, in cooperation with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (B.C.C.I.) and the Safari Club (a network of foreign intelligence agencies formed to help the C.I.A. fund operations not authorized by Congress), “transformed Central Asia from a self-contained opium zone into a major supplier of heroin for the world market.”
The American-backed Mujaheddin controlled poppy farming in Afghanistan, and the C.I.A. and its clients provided the political cover and logistic support to link the Afghan poppy industry to heroin markets in the United States and Western Europe. The B.C.C.I. served as a major conduit for laundering and transferring drug money.
And don’t forget the role of American government drug lords in financing the Nicaraguan Contras with money from the sale of crack cocaine in the United States. Best of all, the Reagan administration—at the very same time it used harsher drug laws to increase revenue from its drug trade—could use the “nationwide crack epidemic” to build public support for intensified police statism at home. So not only did the War on Drugs give the U.S. government the means to fund death squads around the world—it gave it the domestic means to militarize police departments and turn constitutional due process restraints into toilet paper.
Using the drug trade to fund terror and repression around the world, while bringing the domestic population under ever tighter control—all under the pretense of combating drug use. If that isn’t a “two-fer”, from the parasitic state’s perspective, I don’t know what is.
Kevin Carson is a research associate at the Center for a Stateless Society, contemporary mutualist author and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy and Organization Theory: An Individualist Anarchist Perspective. Mr. Carson has also written for a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation and his own Mutualist Blog.