Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jan 2008
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Kirk Tousaw


Re: There remains the small matter of the opium trade, Jan. 23.

Dan Gardner hit another home run with his column on the major 
omission in the Manley report.

A discussion of the situation in Afghanistan that leaves out any real 
analysis of the opium situation is essentially useless. Of course, 
our government is rarely capable of serious thinking on the drug issue.

Mr. Gardner's comments could, with a few revisions, apply to the 
domestic drug scene. The black market we have created through 
prohibition causes violence in our streets and the deaths of 
Canadians, yet our leaders spout empty rhetoric about getting tough 
on crime and propose so-called solutions, such as more police and 
longer jail terms, that will do nothing but exacerbate the problems.

The United Nations goal of a drug-free world would be laughable if 
the consequences were not so tragic. From the plight of the 
Afghanistan opium poppy farmer to bombs and pesticide raining on 
peasant cocoa farmers in Columbia to the innocent victims of drive-by 
shootings in our own country, the primarily U.S.-backed war on drugs 
is, in fact, a very real and deadly war on people. The victims of 
that war are legion, and the casualties are growing daily.

It is time to speak plainly. Politicians, prosecutors and police 
should no longer be permitted to hide behind the false veneer of 
being anti-drug, or anti-crime. The fact is that if you support drug 
prohibition, you support and contribute to the existence and growth 
of massive organized criminal enterprises.

If you support drug prohibition, you support death and disease at 
home and abroad. If you support drug prohibition, you are part of the 
problem, not part of the solution.

Kirk Tousaw,

Vancouver, B.C.
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