5. The War is Over, But the Battle Goes On

Jun-03-2011 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: It makes sense to fight for a cause; that’s how change happens. But (as Albert Einstein may have said) insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The war against drugs is not cutting down drug use; the war on Afghanistan (started, lest we forget, to get Bin Laden) is costing lives and doing nothing to defeat the Taliban, and as for the Harper government’s “War on Crime”, the facts show we’re winning that war without the punitive aspirations he espouses. What do these people fear – a 500 foot tall Bin Laden rising from the sea?

* War On Drugs Not Working, Says Global Commission The Guardian

The global war on drugs has failed and governments should explore legalising marijuana and other controlled substances, according to a commission that includes former heads of state and a former UN secretary general.

A new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy argues that the decades-old “global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.” The 24-page paper was released on Thursday.

“Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won,” the report said.

* Time to Begin Leaving Afghanistan Juan Cole Informed Comment

The protests in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, against yet another alleged killing of 14 women and children in an airstrike that went awry, reminds us that the big counter-insurgency effort in that country still has not produced social peace, still has not yielded a government capable of taking over security duties. NATO has had to issue an apology. If Afghan police and soldiers could project authority and force in local areas, air strikes would be unnecessary. And after nearly 10 years since the overthrow of the Taliban, it is legitimate to ask when and how exactly local troops can be expected to take up this slack? (Editor’s Note: See also relevant “Get Your War On” toon.)

* The Truth About Canadian Crime Rates John Macfarlane The Walrus  Thanks, Susie,

According to Statistics Canada, the crime rate fell by 15 percent between 1998 and 2007, but that’s only part of the story. In 2009, StatsCan introduced an index that measures not only the change in volume of a particular crime, but also its relative seriousness in comparison with others (for example, homicide and rape are assigned higher weights than, say, shoplifting and creating mischief). The index shows that for the same decade, 1998 to 2007, the severity of crime in Canada fell by 21 percent.

Why, then, do so many Canadians believe the situation is getting worse? How is it possible that there were 77,000 fewer crimes in 2008 than the year before — including fewer violent crimes, which account for one in five in Canada — and yet almost half of us continued to believe just the opposite?



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