War on Drugs
The war on drugs is a propaganda effort that tries to make people do what the government wants. Propagandists use slogans and public relations campaigns to advance their agenda in the War on Drugs.
The origins of counterdrug efforts can be traced through a series of strategies to the National Security Strategy. Therein the President's strategic objective is to "reduce the flow of drugs into the United States by encouraging reduction in foreign production, combatting international traffickers and reducing demand at home...;" he would also help combat the "illicit drug trafficking" threat to friendly nations. Implementing these general goals is the National Drug Control Strategy, prepared within the Executive Office of the White House by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. 
The phrase war on drugs doesn't make sense, because it is really a war on people who use drugs. Drugs aren't all bad, either, because doctors give people drugs, too.
The use of the term "war", as also in war on terrorism and war on poverty, may imply that certain rules of civil conduct and pre-existing rights be suspended in order to "win" the "war", at which point the suspended or lost rights will somehow be restored. This is of course not the history of civil or human rights lost to states engaged in wars. Income tax, for instance, was a "temporary measure" imposed in anticipation of expansions in U.S. government expenditures when World War I was brewing and the military draft, likewise imposed during World War II, continued until after the end of the Vietnam War.
There is evidence to indicate that the "war on drugs" was never intended to be "won" and thereby concluded; rather it, as also George W. Bush's "war on terror", has been viewed as a perpetual excuse for sustaining a military and corporate presence and other influences across the planet. In this context, the "war on drugs" has not been a failure. It did however help finance the Taliban in Afghanistan, in a fine example of what historians refer to as blowback. And it has certainly helped sustain the prison-industrial complex.
- "the reality is that if you want to control the cash flow and capital that controls the overworld, you've got to control the cash flows getting generated by the underworld. Indeed, you've got to have an underworld. If it does not exist, you need to outlaw some things to get one going." 
"The U.S. war on drugs in Latin America has focused on the lowest, most vulnerable rung of the drug ladder: the coca growers and the drug industry workers. Unlike Peru and Colombia, where antidrug efforts have been combined with controlling guerrilla warfare, Bolivia has no guerilla movement, so the full force of repression has been felt by the 35,000 coca growing families, who justify coca cultivation as part of their cultural heritage. This misguided strategy--a failure by any measure--has been pursued at an enormous price to Bolivia. Aside from destroying the country's economy without providing alternatives, it has led to a greatly increased military presence in the Chapare coca-growing region and to widespread harassment, torture, and even murder of its indigenous people." 
The widespread use of defoliants in these countries, particularly in Colombia, has had a devastating effect on primarily agricultural economies. The New York Times reported on Oct. 23 2003 the recent toppling of the president of Bolivia: "President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada told President Bush that he would push ahead with a plan to eradicate coca but that he needed more money to ease the impact on farmers. Otherwise, the Bolivian president's advisers recalled him as saying, 'I may be back here in a year, this time seeking political asylum.' Mr. Bush was amused, Bolivian officials recounted, told his visitor that all heads of state had tough problems and wished him good luck. Now Mr. Sánchez de Lozada, Washington's most stalwart ally in South America, is living in exile in the United States after being toppled last week by a popular uprising..." 
Since 1988, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has continued its efforts to suppress cocaine trafficking along the Andean ridge under a United States based program called Operation Snowcap. Snowcap has provided temporary duty agents to U.S. ambassadors to support the country strategy and advise host nation counterdrug forces. 
The militarized approach of U.S. drug policy exacerbates negative regional trends and further threatens democratization and human rights in the Andes. 
International military assistance for Colombia through private security transnational enterprises is not exclusive of the United States or limited to Plan Colombia. This “cooperation” also involves enterprises from other countries, such as Israel, with the full knowledge of said governments and Washington. These significant multiple-million-dollar contracts are signed directly by the Colombian Ministry of Defense. Nonetheless, mercenary activity carried out as a part of Plan Colombia is the most publicized. In 2006, the US Congress published an official report on US enterprises that had signed contracts with the State Department or the Defense Department so as to carry out anti-narcotics activities as a part of Plan Colombia. Most the private contract enterprises are under the responsibility of the Defense Department, but the largest contract (DynCorp) is in the hands of the State Department. 
Related SourceWatch articles
- Bolivia - Oct'03 Insurrection
- Imperial terror in South America
- Operation Alliance
- Operation Support Justice links other Operations carried out in part by the Dept. of Defense
- Plan Colombia
- Plan Dignity
- Project Northstar
- "war on" phraseology
- DrugWar.com, site for the book "Drug War: Covert Money, Power & Policy" by Dan Russell (ISBN 0965025349)
- 14 reports by PBS/Frontline
- "How the Drug Money Works", (several links).
- Dopers.org - A portal of knowledge about harm reduction, civil liberties, and drug law reform; Shows what can be done to improve the situation caused by the War on Drugs
- June 2003 a view on Bolivian coca
- June 2002 a view on Peruvian coca
- 1995 Human Rights Watch report, Bolivia - Human Rights Violations and the War on Drugs; also available PDF version
- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/ Drug Wars - PBS' website companion to documentary film about American failures in controlling drugs.
- http://home.comcast.net/~gary.webb/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html Gary Webb "Dark Alliance" - 1996 San Jose Mercury News report on CIA drug smuggling connection.
- Operation Infinite Purity - Initially constructed to mock the War on Drugs; seems to have kept up with the times.
- Media Awareness Project - clipping archive of drug policy articles
- DrugSense News Bot - breaking drug war propaganda news. Automated concept analysis. Site sees 700-800 new articles each day
- Darren Scheuttler, "Myanmar Hits Back at Washington Over Drug Report," Reuters, October 29, 2003: "Myanmar, a top supplier of heroin and speed pills from Southeast Asia's notorious 'Golden Triangle,' blamed U.S. sanctions Wednesday for hampering its campaign against drugs.
- Anthony Hecht, "Peace Through The Chronic," Slapnose, April 27, 2004.