Is the 'War on Drugs' a Failure? Is It Time to Legalize?
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A high-profile international commission says the "War on Drugs" is an expensive failure, and that drug addiction should be considered a health problem instead of a crime. We look at possible new strategies and their political viability. Also, the Obama Administration debates the size of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. On Reporter's Notebook, last week’s disappointing report on unemployment raises a disturbing question. Can the Republicans and the Democrats agree on how to increase jobs? Do they want to?
Banner image: Fernando Henrique Cardoso (L), former president of Brazil and chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, accepts petition from Ricken Patel (R), Executive Director of Avaaz, a global campaigning organization, at a press conference June 2, 2011 in New York City. Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Administration Debates Size of Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan ()
President Obama's new security team is considering troop reductions in Afghanistan that might be larger than what departing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called for this weekend. "It seems to me that between the successes that we've already enjoyed and the increased capacity of the Afghan forces, we are a in a position, based on conditions on the ground...to consider some modest draw-downs beginning in July." David Sanger is chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times.
Illegal Drugs: Public Health and Public Safety ()
The global "War on Drugs" began in 50 years ago at the United Nations. Richard Nixon made it US policy 10 years later. Since then it has "failed to cut drug usage, but has filled our jails, cost millions in taxpayer dollars, fuelled organized crime and caused thousands of deaths." That's according to the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, three former South American presidents, former Secretary of State George Shultz, ex-Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, and British entrepreneur Richard Branson. The Obama Administration says legalization would not take the money away from violent drug cartels and that drug use might increase more than ever. In any case, the panel has focused global attention on a crisis that's not going away. Does the political will exist to make any changes in strategy?
- Ethan Nadelmann: Drug Policy Alliance, @ethannadelmann
- Robert DuPont: Georgetown Medical School
- Vanda Felbab-Brown: Brookings Institution
- Beau Kilmer: RAND Drug Policy Research Center
Washington Watches as Economy Slips ()
Just 54,000 new jobs were created last month, compared to 232,000 in April. After the jobs report came out Friday, President Obama went to Ohio to celebrate the auto-industry bailout of 2009. The Republicans blamed him for unemployment and talked about long-term improvements in reducing the deficit. Did either Obama or the Republicans offer any plans for immediate action? Did they try to reach a consensus on what to do now? Jim Tankersly is economics correspondent for the National Journal.
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