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 already suspicious of the “war on drugs” and this collection fails to dissuade you, then you probably work for the DEA.