News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

The Trojan Horse

I have been interested in the White House cocaine imbroglio, mostly because it marks the closing of an interesting historical loop. To be sure, this probably isn’t the first time a bag of yayo has ended up in the West Wing, and it’s doubtful it will be the last, but in the age of suspicious white powders it is certainly the most public.

In 1971 Richard Nixon declared a War on Drugs. As a veteran of that war, with the scars to prove it, I can say with utter certainty that we have lost it. It wasn’t a failure, not really, because the first time an infant crawls out of filth, underfed and crying, and hands you a bag of his mother’s meth you know to a moral certainty that drug trafficking isn’t a victimless crime. What you know instinctively is that you are battling a bottomless evil with profound generational effects. That seems like a fight worth having, even if most of the country appears to have given up.

Americans have largely thrown up their hands, are legalizing possession everywhere, and now react in predictable horror to the open-air drug markets in major cities, and the wave of drug-related mental illness and addiction cases wandering the streets like zombies. The decriminalization experiment is doomed to failure, in the same way locking up addicts and street-level clowns was doomed to failure. To fight the war on drugs effectively you must follow the money. Arresting Tweety Bird with an ounce might get you one rung up the ladder, but in the end it does nothing to arrest the flow of money — which is when you start getting somewhere.

We know all of this but rarely do anything about it — not in any meaningful way. And it’s likely that at the international level the U.S. Government is in bed, in one form or another, with many of the cartels, given common enemies in the form of terrorist organizations like the IRGC and Hezbollah, which have staked out huge territories in South America, and have a significant presence in Mexico.

In 1989 President Bush the Elder went on national television and showed the nation a bag of crack cocaine seized across the street from the White House. “This is crack cocaine,” he said, lamenting the horrors it was visiting across the United States, even as credible evidence would later emerge that the CIA was, at that very moment, facilitating cocaine shipments into various parts of the United States.

Fast-forward to 2023 and cocaine is now inside the West Wing of the most secure building anywhere in the country. Worse, fully half of the electorate wanted that little baggy to get pinned on the president’s son, which maybe says something dreadful about our national condition. In the end, the Secret Service claims they couldn’t identify who it belonged to, which seems odd given the 600 or more arrests after the January 6 invasion of the Capitol building. Nobody had any trouble identifying those people, who showed up out of nowhere and enjoyed, at least temporarily, the anonymity provided by a mob.

We will never know for certain if the Secret Service couldn’t, or just wouldn’t, identify a suspect, and in the end, if it wasn’t Hunter’s, a relevant question remains: how many cokeheads are actually working there? Members of the U.S. military are required to submit to random drug tests — the ubiquitous whizz quiz — so maybe we should just drop a random screening on those people working in and around the Situation Room. The results of that would probably be interesting.

We know how to fight better if we wanted to. We know lots and lots of things. We know that the precursor chemicals for meth and fentanyl are shipped from China. We know they offload them in Mexico. We know that Mexico is a narco-terrorist state, and that no one there gets elected unless they are puppets to their cartel masters. We know that, while they may hang each other from bridges all over Guanajuato, and occasionally roll a few heads across the disco floors of Cancun, these are internal beefs over control of the plazas and therefore distribution into the United States. We know that our southern border is a sieve and that for every highly publicized seizure metric tons of dope — cocaine, meth, fentanyl, and heroin — get through.

We know that we have corrupted border agents, corrupted judges, and corrupted politicians throughout our own system. We know that much of the violence in our own cities is spawned by downstream turf wars fought by teenagers over control of the supply. See Chicago, Atlanta, New York. We know that virtually every crime has, somewhere, a nexus to dope.

We also know that America is home to its own cartels, but that they operate under legal cover and are known collectively as Big Pharma. They’ve been stringing people out on opioids and other drugs, with the help of quack doctors and insurance companies, for years. And it’s perfectly legal, though at least under the spotlight of the moment, frowned upon.

Given what we know, we could easily fight a much smarter fight. But we probably won’t. It’s easier to mass-produce addicts. And if we know anything about ourselves in the modern age, it’s that given a choice, we choose easy over hard. Even if it eventually kills us.


Reader Comments(0)