Went out for a 100 mile ride this morning and as I was having a fried egg sandwich and cup of coffee at my favorite Huddle House, a thought washed through me. The trigger was an article in paper about the Mexican drug cartels formally stating they were going on a mission to kill US of any type. I guess this amounts to a declaration of war. Its worth noting that we declared war on drugs some fifty years ago and have not gotten past first base.
The first question than came to my mind was why could we not win the War on Drugs and then it hit me. Both Major General Smedley Butler and Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower were very clear that the military industrial complex was a racket and one that would if not already corrupt or subvert democracy to their own ends.
These men were not lightweights as soldiers nor did they rest on their laurels when they left the military. What they did do was to speak to what they thought were the problems of the day. Gen Butler became the director of public safety in Philadelphia and Gen Eisenhower became the president of the USA. Gen Butler wrote a book called War is a Racket And it is available through Amazon books
On the eve of his departure, President Eisenhower gave a nation wide radio speech warning the country of the threats that would/could arise from the formation of a military industrial complex. Follow this link to hear it in its entirety: Ike’s speech on IPC. Where as the sound a visual quality may be lacking there is a transcript available on the same link. However, the point not to be missed in the entire speech is “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
The precedence for such speeches and warnings was set with our first president when George Washington gave his Farewell Address It seems as if we have violated every warning in both Washington’s and Eisenhower’s Farewell address’s
Both Butler and Eisenhower argue that the the military industrial complex arose out of legitimate threats to our nation. However, the very mechanism that saved the nation from those threats has become a threat to the nation itself.
I will argue that the military industrial complex has morphed and expanded into the prison industrial complex created to support the War on Drugs and justified on get Tough of Crime. The numbers of people involved are big and the money is also big.
Take a look at the link provided here for a sense of the scope and money associated with the public-private-incarceration. The article makes several good points and among the best are: Thanks to political connections and lobbying, it dominates the immigrant detention industry. CCA now has close to 10,000 new beds under development in anticipation of continued demand. Now, tell me, what part of the government operation is not for sale through the political gold of money and support during political campaigns.
You can argue the this and that of how it has started but today and for at least a decade, the foundation for the War on Drugs is not the dope man hiding in an alley way but the medicine Cabinet in the family bathroom stocked by the pharmaceutical companies if the nation.
You can argue the rightness or wrongness or the validity but the truth remains the ‘dope man’ only gets involved when the legal drugs are not available. The following links will give a sense of the size of the pain pill market as well as a view on the psychotropic market. Pain Pills and Pain Pills 1. Then follow this up with Perscription drug abuse and Take Back
It is only a brief step from the medicine chest to the street. My estimate is that for children the halfway point is the middle and high schools of the nation. Some kids have money but need drugs when the medicine chest gets locked down or does not meet their growing needs. Others have access to drugs but need money. In fifteen or so years as a prison volunteer, the single largest training grounds for drug dealers doing time have been the schools of the nation. As a side light, for young women, this is also the initiation point of much prostitution.
The motivation of drug abuse comes from the parents whose dependency on pain killers and psychotropic drugs sets the precedence. After all, if mom and dad do it then it must be OK. The only question becomes what will be my drug of choice. Now the race is on and the ‘dope man’ is in business.
Sound preposterous, take a trip back to the 60s and the movie Valley of the Dolls. This is like a stone thrown in the water that went from a ripple to a tidal wave today.
All of this may sound like a twist on Poe’s House of Usher. However, there is a group of ex and current members of the criminal justice community that recognize the threat of drugs not only to our community but the nation as a whole. 40th Anniversary on the war against drugs
Think the prisons are about reform or corrections. Prisons have morphed into a rest and recuperation warehouse for addicts preparing them for another bout with the criminal justice system. Think not, then why is there a 68 percent recidivism rate nationwide.
As a side light, prisons have also become warehouse for the insane.
Medicine Incarceration NEJM 060211
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