Yesterday the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota sued five big beer companies—Anheuser-Busch InBev, SAB Miller, Molson Coors , MillerCoors, and Pabst—for making crappy beer. Just kidding. The tribe actually blames the brewers for making too much beer, enough to supply Oglala Sioux on the officially dry Pine Ridge Reservation. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, also names four beer stores in Whiteclay, a tiny Nebraska town near the reservation where nearly 5 million cans of beer were sold in 2010. "You cannot sell 4.9 million 12-ounce cans of beer," says the tribe's attorney, "and wash your hands like Pontius Pilate, and say, 'We've got nothing to do with it being smuggled.'"
If you think the tribe's demands that people outside the reservation help enforce its ban on alcohol are unreasonable, consider how the U.S. treats "source countries" that provide the illegal drugs Americans want. Its efforts to destroy and intercept those drugs go well beyond filing lawsuits. If the Oglala Sioux had the resources to wage a War on Alcohol that involved bombing breweries and raiding liquor stores, on what moral grounds could the U.S. government object?