The Battle On Terror And The War On Drugs

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In many ways, the war on terror and the war on drugs have merged. The type of red scare rhetoric from the McCarthy era became nearly interchangeable with the drug war and terrorism during the Reagan administration. “We’re in the middle of a major epidemic...Parents have a right to feel terror,” said Donald Ian MacDonald, Reagan’s top drug advisor. He was referring to drugs. Marlin Fitzwater, Reagan’s Press Secretary openly admitted that “everybody wants to out-drug each other in terms of political rhetoric.” This battle of hyperbole was waged on both sides of the political aisle. Even liberals like former Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-NY) compared the danger from the cartels to “intercontinental ballistic missiles” and wondered “why we treat (their) threat so lightly?” Likewise, former Rep. Thomas F. Hartnett (R-SC) declared that drugs were a “national security threat...worse than any nuclear warfare or any chemical warfare waged on any battlefield.”
The two issues officially fused during the Reagan administration when the term “narcoterrorism” was coined and an effective propaganda tool was formed. The Reagan administration asserted that drug money from Latin America would be “a source of funds to support insurgencies and subversion.” This eased the way for the Reagan administration to amend the Posse Comitatus Act thereby allowing military involvement in the drug war. The Posse Comitatus Act was an act of Congress in 1878 which prohibited the government from using the

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