New Proof: War on Drugs Started as War on Peace-Niks and Blacks

The conspiracy cranks appear to be correct on this one.

We’ve all seen the guy, holding court at a local bus bench, orating into oncoming traffic, alerting the world to the fact, in his mind at least, that Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs—an effort that is going strong to this very day—was all a craven ploy to criminalize African Americans and anti-war protestors.

Poor deluded fellow, he is 100 percent correct.

Dan Baum, writing in Harper’s magazine, has uncovered a 1994 quote from Nixon policy advisor John Ehrlichman relating to the planning stages of a systemic attack on individual liberties that would monster-ize the Drug Enforcement Administration and rack up funeral expenses and prison-housing costs beyond compute.

From Jezebel’s coverage:

We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

John Ehrlichman, as anyone with a basic American history degree or a balding head of gray hair can tell you, was convicted in January 1975 of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury for his roles in the Watergate break in and other politically motivated burglaries. He spent one-and-a-half of his prime earning years in prison, and died at the age of 73 in 1999.

Despite being publicly tried for his violation of America’s democratic process and locked up for 18 months among basic thieves, Ehrlichman’s public service largely failed to establish a widespread association of privileged white-male executives and government operatives with criminal enterprises.