Just Following Orders
Is this man just enforcing the law, or is he actively (and enthusiastically) adding propaganda on top of it? It seems the DEA has a traveling exhibit linking drug funding to terrorism. Legalization proponents say the profits are due to the black market and prohibition, the head of the DEA says he’s “just following orders”. Where have I heard that excuse before?
“If we taxed and regulated drugs, terrorists wouldn’t have drugs as a source of profit,” said Tom Angell of the nonprofit Students for Sensible Drug Policy, which focuses on restoring financial aid for college students with drug convictions.
DEA spokesman Steve Robertson responded: “We’re a law enforcement agency — we enforce the laws as they are written. Congress makes the laws. People say if we didn’t have [drug] laws there wouldn’t be a problem, but there was a problem before and that’s why laws were established.”
I can see that sometimes people need to fulfill a job requirement that they may personally disagree with. But do they need to create traveling propaganda exhibits as well? Did Congress tell the DEA to do that?
A photograph of President Bush waving a flag after the Sept. 11 attacks is juxtaposed against a black-and-white image of an African American mother smoking crack cocaine in bed next to her baby. Larger-than-life portraits of Osama bin Laden and Pablo Escobar line the walls. The central message of a traveling Drug Enforcement Administration exhibit unveiled at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry yesterday is that terrorism and drugs are inextricably linked.
And if you didn’t believe in your mission, would you say something like this?
DEA spokesman Robertson also took a broader view of terrorism and drugs.
“Terrorists’ goal is to tear down current societies and governments and offer something else,” he said. “Drug abuse degrades societies from within because of the effect on society, on users and on health services. Drug trafficking is a way to degrade societies, which helps terrorists in their goal.”
There’s a big difference between just enforcing the laws that Congress makes and actively promoting the policies as if they are just and logical. If you tell me that you honestly believe drugs are bad and the prohibition is good, we can have a logical debate about it. But when you’re actively promoting prohibition and generating propaganda while offloading the responsibility for your actions to Congress, you’re trying to have it both ways.