Walter Cronkite: Telling the Truth About the War on Drugs
Former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite has a long piece at HuffPo telling us “the way it is” on the drug war.
Today, our nation is fighting two wars: one abroad and one at home. While the war in Iraq is in the headlines, the other war is still being fought on our own streets. Its casualties are the wasted lives of our own citizens. I am speaking of the war on drugs.
And I cannot help but wonder how many more lives, and how much more money, will be wasted before another Robert McNamara admits what is plain for all to see: the war on drugs is a failure.
And what is the impact of this policy?
It surely hasn’t made our streets safer. Instead, we have locked up literally millions of people…disproportionately people of color…who have caused little or no harm to others – wasting resources that could be used for counter-terrorism, reducing violent crime, or catching white-collar criminals.
With police wielding unprecedented powers to invade privacy, tap phones and conduct searches seemingly at random, our civil liberties are in a very precarious condition.
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on this effort – with no one held accountable for its failure.
Amid the clichés of the drug war, our country has lost sight of the scientific facts. Amid the frantic rhetoric of our leaders, we’ve become blind to reality: The war on drugs, as it is currently fought, is too expensive, and too inhumane.
But nothing will change until someone has the courage to stand up and say what so many politicians privately know: The war on drugs has failed.
The tone of the piece gives the impression that Cronkite thinks he has stumbled upon this revelation through dogged reporting rather than stating something that most of us have known for years. Still, his name still carries a certain gravitas and may garner some attention.