I think there's a fundamental disconnect in our (individual and collective) spending decision strategies.
Currently, someone asks Congress for money, and they decide whether to spend it.
What they do not do is ask for the opportunity cost. "Given the amount this would cost, and the cost of other proposals we have tabled or killed, is this the best use of funds?"
I would argue that most of us determine personal spending based on funds we actually have, unless there is an emergency or a purchase for business or personal life that is likely to be rewarding. Therefore, thinking about borrowing money for something that is not only historically ineffective but also harmful, would sound like the very definition of an insane person.
The drug warriors want more people on heroin. I'm totally not kidding.
Right now, scientific research has shown that there is a certain population of US citizens who want prescriptions for narcotic pain killers. This population claims to need pain management, that they are in pain; their doctors apparently agree since prescriptions are being issued.
But the government has been clamping down increasingly on painkiller prescriptions. The mainstream media has gleefully co-operated; trumpeting a "plague of painkiller addiction" as a scourge that must be stopped, despite the collateral damage. Doctors who prescribe pain medication on any ongoing basis - such as for migraine or cluster headaches - are demonized and harassed.
But the numbers also clearly show that when suffering people become unable to get their painkillers legally, they often turn to heroin. By removing a patient's ability to safely and legally obtain effective pain management, the government drug warriors are knowingly empowering heroin traffickers and knowingly increasing the number of Americans involved with dangerously powerful unregulated drugs.
We know that we are driving people into heroin abuse and enriching heroin dealers by interfering with physicians' ability to provide patients with pain medication. We know this. It's absolutely scientifically irrefutable; the research shows a clear causal connection.
The USA's drug warriors are the equivalent of tire salesmen scattering nails on the highway.
The general is afraid that terrorists might use drug smuggling routes to bring WMDs into the country. Because naturally if you were trying to get a dirty bomb into the U.S. you’d ship it in the company of a bunch of other illegal goods that the authorities know about and are actively seeking to interdict.
In fairness, known drug smuggling routes are exactly where the FBI is going to direct their latest movie-plot patsy to send the dirty bombs. Gotta keep that funding gravy train flowin'.
It's actually worse than that; it's not really about the funding, except that the funding is a means to an end. They think they are patriots, that they are "the good guys", and they've convinced themselves that the things they do are necessary to "save America". The NSA people are the same.
If our spook agencies were merely venal you could buy them off for the benefit of everyone. Unfortunately they have their own strange sense of honor, that allows them to torture and murder people but doesn't allow them to be bought off.
I harbor no illusions for the flavor of jingoist that serves within clandestine agencies. I was making an allusion to the "terrorist plots" that were all, to the end, cooked up by the FBI, brought to fruition by the FBI and then "stopped" by the FBI.
Foiled once again by lack of a sarcasm font. Yargh.
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