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America's Longest War

Olga and I went to a screening of America' Longest War: A Film About Drug Prohibition. The event was put on by the Reason Foundation. Ethan Nadelmann was a participant in a panel discussion after the film. He's a great speaker, and I heard him give a talk at an event that I attended at the Cato Institute in 1999.

In 1999 he said that support for the War on Drugs was a thousand miles high, a thousand miles wide, and one inch thick. I took that to mean that the wall could crumble quite quickly. Tonight he said that War on Drugs is like a cruise ship that can only turn in tiny increments because of all the institutional momentum, money and power tied up in the Drug War.

So if public support for the Drug War can turn quickly (and it does seem to be in flux) but the actual prosecution of that war cannot change direction quickly, then I think that demonstrates that there is only a tenuous relationship between public support for the war and the public policy that drives it.

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