Drugs, Terrorism and Myopia


Following up on Chuck's mention of the John Kerry profile in the New York Times Magazine, one passage is striking, and picks up on an idea later defended by Kerry.

In the liberal view, the enemy this time--an entirely new kind of "non-state actor" known as Al Qaeda--more closely resembles an especially murderous drug cartel than it does the vaunted Red Army. Instead of military might, liberal thinkers believe, the moment calls for a combination of expansive diplomacy abroad and interdiction at home, an effort more akin to the war on drugs than to any conventional war of the last century.

Kerry is described as having "said that many of the interdiction tactics that cripple drug lords, including governments working jointly to share intelligence, patrol borders and force banks to identify suspicious customers, can also be some of the most useful tools in the war on terror."

Fascinating, really, but is the hapless war on drugs really a context in which Kerry and Co. want to frame the war against terrorism? Other than the fact that it takes much more than policemen and good intelligence to fight a phenomenon intimately tied in to social developments in faraway countries, other than the fact that it creates an absurd analogy between drug users and Al Qaeda henchmen, the war on drugs is, quite simply, a Sisyphean task--or to paraphrase Oscar Wilde on second marriages: It is the triumph of hope over experience (not to mention of imagination over intelligence).