Several people have passed on this bizarre specious drivel attempting to pass itself off as historical analysis by John C. Burnham.
The United States has won the war against illegal drugs. That was the conclusion of a unique gathering on June 17, which marked the 35th anniversary of the war’s beginning in 1971 with the appointment of Dr. Jerome H. Jaffe, a psychiatrist, as the first White House drug czar. […]
Wow! Reminds me of this old Doonesbury strip.
The main conclusion — that we won the war on drugs — was the biggest surprise, because advocates of illegal drugs have in recent years filled the media with rhetoric about “the failed war on drugs.” The czars’ straightforward conclusion may come as a shock, but, as they outlined what the war was about, what they had to say made a lot of sense. […]
Except, of course, that he fails to then follow that with a single statement that makes any sense. Go ahead and read it. Vietnam veterans, cocaine, young kids fried on marijuana, Congress and treatment. There’s not a coherent thought that supports a single argument that he makes.
And then, Burnham destroys any sense that he has an education, let alone a license to teach at Ohio State University (prospective students take note), with this revisionist tripe:
For historians like me, the collective experience of the former czars provides two lessons. The first is unwelcome to extremists of the right and left and their shady commercial allies: Prohibitory laws can work. Historians have established that the 1920s experiment in alcohol prohibition was successful and was repealed in 1933 only because of a massive, well-financed propaganda campaign.
There is one rather amusing moment in his piece where he talks about the fact that czars, ironically, had little power. However, they were sometimes able to get things done:
When new substances of abuse came along, often the czar was able to get officials and private businesses, especially pharmaceutical companies, to get one substance or another restricted before it became a major problem.
Oh, yeah. Those pharmaceutical companies are real allies in prohibition. Wonder why? (But I bet they aren’t too happy to have that particular truth presented.)
Fortunately, Maia Szalavitz was on the scene quickly with Who’s Smoking What? Drug Czars, UN Proclaim Victory in Drug War
After a casual blasting of both the UN and the Drug Czars (their arguments are hardly worthy of any real fisking), Maia concludes:
If drug warriors want to declare victory and go home, however, I’m all for it. But claim that you’ve won and maintain the same policy that spends billions and locks up millions and has virtually no effect on either drug use rates, drug-related harm or addiction rates? What have you been smoking?