Drugs are Bad, mmmmK?
I like to take a little bit of time before I sit down to write one of my dronings. That way I don't just spew out a bunch of psychotic venom like I've lost my mind. That way I can write my thoughts down over time and make a few points so that people can say, "He's spewing a lot of psychotic venom and has lost his mind, but maybe he's right about this."
I say that because as I watched the ads during the Super Bowl, one ad actually made me throw things at my TV screen. This, of course, did nothing but frighten the cat and make me have to get up to get the remote control from behind the entertainment center. I know that these sorts of outbursts are supposed to make you feel better, but it didn't. My anger over the ad has just been growing slowly over time. I'm talking, of course, about the Britany Spears Pepsi ad, and the fact that she kept her clothes on.
Oh, wait, that's a different droning.
This one is about the ad that the White House paid for ($2.5 million tax dollars) that tried to draw a connection between drugs use and terrorism.
For those of you who didn't see the ad, it shows a number of brief scenes of people using drugs, looking and the camera and saying things like, "I helped blow up buildings."
It was manipulative. It was powerful. It was damning.
It was wrong.
It was a lie.
And here's why it made me so mad that I still can't think straight when I think about it.
It doesn't come out and say it, but it makes the inference that if you buy drugs, you are supporting the terrorists who attacked the US. The facts of this are enough to make you scratch your head and wonder why they would lie to us so blatantly.
Let's first look at the Taliban, the former ruling party in Afghanistan that allowed the terrorist network Al Qaeda to train there and hide there. It's still in dispute whether the Taliban was part of Al Qaeda, or vice verse, but let's just say, for the sake of argument, that they were deep in bed with each other, and shared a number of the same leaders. Now, as we were told about how people who broke the law in Afghanistan were taken to the soccer stadium and executed (to illustrate how barbaric this government was...oh...maybe that was a bad example for our government to use) they left out one of the crimes that would get you executed. Yes, murder, robbery and having sex outside of marriage would get you killed, but you know what other crime drew down the executioner's song?
Growing, selling or using drugs.
Yep. That's right. The terrorists would kill you for drugs. In fact, if you look at the records, the US Government has been objecting to the Taliban for a few years, but until last year, we were giving them large amounts of money because they were in compliance with the US's anti-drug policies. The brutal reign of the Taliban got the nod from us because they had stomped out the growth of poppies in Afghanistan. They were anti-drug, and even though we KNEW they were supporting Osama Bin Laden for the past 4 years (at least), we would shovel them a few million every year for stopping the flow of opiates.
And our allies, the Northern Alliance? They were planting poppies faster than a 12-year-old girl goes through boy bands. NPR had a report in December that poppies were being planted already, even as some men hadn't shaved off their beards yet, since they knew that was the only way to get money into their country fast enough for them to buy food. We can talk all we want about getting infrastructure built over the next ten years, but a year's crop of heroin will feed a family of four a lot better than working in a factory to make clothes for your local Wal-Mart.
In fact, even the information from the White House is that Osama bin Laden got all of his money through oil, and most of the other financing for Al Qaeda came from the oil barons of Saudi Arabia. If they wanted to be totally truthful, they would show a nice little suburban mom filling up the 30-gallon tank of her mini-van or SUV, looking at the camera and saying, "I'm helping pay for the destruction of the World Trade Center." Or the business executive on his private jet getting ready to burn enough oil to run my Geo Metro for the next 25 years so he can get free pens and note pads at a business conference in New Orleans where he'll go to half a seminar and spend the rest of the time trying to get some girl on a balcony to take off her top- for a sting of 75 cent beads saying, "I paid for an attack on a US Embassy."
Truth hurts, folks, and we need to face up to the fact that our demand for cheap oil has a price. Every penny Osama Bin Laden has came from oil. However, that isn't as good a "shock" ad as showing a few scraggly, creepy looking teenagers telling you that their drug use has helped terrorists, making you in full patriotic fever want to bust down your teenager's door and find out if he's got a couple of poorly rolled joints to help him try to understand just what the hell Radiohead is doing on their last two albums.
If we say that, though, we would anger the mom's who want to drive the big gas-guzzling vehicles and the business interests that have poured millions into the White House's campaign coffers. Drug dealers don't contribute to political campaigns, though, and the few organizations for legalizing drugs don't have a whole lot of cash. So oil companies get to spend the night at the Vice President's house and drugs are the cause of terrorism.
Kind of puts the lie to the ad, right?
You'd think so, but it's not ALL a lie. There have been terrorists in the past who have used the sales of drugs to finance their attacks, and the people in the Bush White House should know. In fact, Dick Cheney would know this very well, as he was a part of the group that spearheaded selling weapons to Iraq and giving the money to the Contras, who also dealt drugs to raise money to attack the government of Nicaragua. But they were terrorists that we trained, so they were actually "freedom fighters". So, in a way, the ad had some truth in it. And to be sure, there are terrorist organizations that DO use the drug trade in order to raise quick cash. Why not? It's a proven trade that never has a downturn.
The demand is always there, and as long as we characterize the fight against drugs as a war, it's a war we are going to lose. I know that a lot of people (myself included) can go into detail about the benefits of legalizing some drugs, but it just isn't going to happen in the US. We are a country far too concerned with what our neighbors are doing behind their closed doors, and with ads like this demonizing the use of drugs instead of having actual discourse on the pros and cons of legalization, it just won't happen. It's reality, and dealing in reality is the only way to make actual points.
I don't want to delve into the conspiracy stuff that the government has a part in the drug traffick, because it doesn't matter.
What matters is that this shows just what the people in charge of the country are thinking. They have floated it as a trial balloon before. Clumsily, as when Bush said the best way to fight terrorism was to go to the Mall or Disney World, or in a chilling fashion, as when Attorney General John Ashcroft said before Congress that anyone questioning Administration Policy was giving aid and comfort to the terrorists.
It shows that they are now free to use the specter of terrorism to push for any part of their agenda, or to brand their enemies as worse than just people who have a different point of view. They are Terrorists or Aiding Terrorists, By God!
It has been done before, and quite well. As recently as 15 years ago, you could throw around that someone was a "communist" and they would be dismissed as "the enemy" by a large part of the US populace. Even after the 50's when the anti-Communist witch hunt had collapsed under its own hate into a more sane version of itself, there were those who would use the Communists to scare people into doing what they wanted, for good or ill. And after seeing this ad, I can see that the people who are in the White House are gearing up to do the same thing with the word "terrorist" rather than "Communist". By the end of the current election cycle, there will be Democrats who get accused of not fighting terrorism or even helping terrorists, just to use that fear factor in the basest of ways. And if it works, Democrats will figure out some way to use it against Republicans. That's just how it seems to work.
Now, I can see what the people who don't agree with this will say when they find my site from some Rush Limbaugh discussion list, "You actually hate Bush so much that you would accuse of him of turning the biggest tragedy in US history into a way to push a political agenda."
I don't hate Bush...but in financing an ad campaign that links the use of drugs to being a de-facto terrorist and aiding terrorists, they are already doing it.
Let's be honest. If using drugs was that horrible and wrong, would they NEED to link it to what happened on 9/11?
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