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Obama Wages a Very Dumb War

In 2002, then Illinois state senator Barack Obama gave a stirring speech where he said these (now-famous) words:

I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

And when Obama was running for president in 2008, talking about the war on drugs, he insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.” He promised to end the Bush administration raids on suppliers of medical marijuana, which is legal in 16 states.

So why is it that in the past year, the Obama administration has reversed its position and is again cracking down on medical marijuana providers — including those who obey all state and local laws — beyond anything done by Bush? Obama even renominated Michele Leonhart to head the DEA, even though she was a holdover drug warrior from the Bush administration who (counterintuitively and shockingly) claimed that the slaughter of close to 1000 Mexican children by the drug cartels was a “sign of success in the fight against drugs”.

According to the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project “There’s no question that Obama’s the worst president on medical marijuana. He’s gone from first to worst.”

By any measure, the War on Drugs is a dumb war. And the war on marijuana is the dumbest of all, shoving an “ideological agenda down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.” The Obama administration has ignored a plea from two sitting governors to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, which includes drugs like cocaine and meth as having a recognized medicinal value but with high potential for abuse. Instead, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, which says it has no medicinal value at all, despite studies to the contrary.

Rolling Stone magazine (how apropos!) has an excellent article listing Obama administration raids on even the most law abiding medical marijuana dispensaries, and even targeting patients with severe illnesses who depend on the drug for relief.

Some people theorize that the Obama administration is cracking down on marijuana in an election year strategy to outflank the Republicans on their red-meat issues (not just on drugs, but on things like free trade and offshore drilling). If so, then Obama’s war on drugs is not only dumb, it is cynical.

It is time for the Obama administration to keep its promises and stop playing politics with people’s lives and health.



  1. Maybe his arm is being twisted? I’d love to know why. How much power do modern presidents have over the FDA?

    Monday, February 20, 2012 at 3:14 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    I am highly allergic to cigarette smoke. Last week FedEx put a package in my garage, the garage was full of cig smoke. I was sick formost of the week. Asthma attacks.
    My neighbor was putting lines up for TimeWarner, fell out of the cherry picker, broke his back, ripped his rotor cuff. Went back to work. Hurts all the time. Filled my garage with smoke on Saturday. It didn’t bother me at all. When I asked, he confessed to it being Marijuana to control the pain (not prescribed). So I now know that I’m allergic to the additives in cigarette smoke. Not cigarette smoke. Marijuana is just fine for him and me.
    Contact the Web Site and give your opinion.
    Everyone contact the site. Tell your story.

    Monday, February 20, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink
  3. IL-08 wrote:

    I don’t understand why it would be an election year ploy, that makes no sense at all. The middle doesn’t really care about medical mj, so that would be playing to the right, and there is no way the right would give him any credit on any initiative. Even if Obama went out and killed Osama Bin Laden, the right would never give him credit for it.

    So the right is never going to give him any credit;
    the middle doesn’t really care;
    the left is against this policy;
    plus it’s the wrong thing for the country…

    I must agree with the assessment ‘dumb’.

    Monday, February 20, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  4. Don wrote:

    IL-08 “so that would be playing to the right, and there is no way the right would give him any credit on any initiative….”

    I’m regularly baffled by the Administration’s decisions which seem to be an attempt to appeal to a broader base, most of whom can’t accept anything the Administration does as being positive. This goes all the way back to the original discussion on health care. Single payer never even entered the picture. Control of insurance rates was given a passing node but the eventual legislation left gaping holes for the insurance companies to drive through to maintain their usurious rates. Now he caves on birth control and church employees.

    The crackdown on medical marijuana started in California. When the Administration in DC was asked what was going on we were told that what was occurring was a local Federal prosecutor’s action, not a shift in the national policy. Curious how this attempt to combat medical marijuana has spread to other states. And I was no naive as to think that the Attorney General set direction for local Federal prosecutors under the direction of the White House. Silly me.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink