A solution to the world's terrorism problems?
September 19, 2002 12:25 PM   Subscribe

A solution to the world's terrorism problems? Mo Mowlam (formerly responsible for the UK government's drugs policy) suggests that terrorist activity is funded by drug trafficking and the best way to combat this is to legalise all drugs. Everywhere. Go Mo!
posted by hnnrs (17 comments total)
People have been saying this for a long time! Its good that its getting a little more publicity. Of course, the counter argument is that even legal products, if in high demand, can still fund terrorism. Case in point: OIL.

However, I think legalization, combined with efforts from the beginning to support local growing and redistributing, instead of large purchases from far away places, could stem the flow of money going into the wrong hands. And in the case of legalization, where the money is flowing would be more publically viewable, instead of being permenantly hidden in the case of illegal drug profits.
posted by phidauex at 12:39 PM on September 19, 2002

It always struck me as a bit of a farce that the government immediately drew the link between drug money and terrorism (cf those Super Bowl commercials), but never acknowledged the implication that legalization was a legitimate (even valuable?) anti-terrorist tactic. The US, to steal a line from The Magnetic Fields, is "crazy for you, but not that crazy."
posted by tingley at 12:52 PM on September 19, 2002

Mo Mowlem now is a slightly different party animal now she's not a minister.

Try this Q&A for UK govt policy when she was one of them.

Then have a look here.
posted by i_cola at 1:06 PM on September 19, 2002

Is there any solid evidence of drug trafficking funding terrorism? The article offers little proof of this.

I do think some, if not all, drugs should be legalized, however broad and unsubstantiated statements like this just ride on the whole "terrorism is the root of all evil" sentiment.
posted by rosmo at 1:16 PM on September 19, 2002

Shades of Traffik. Once they get a close look at what goes on, even politicians find existing laws hard to justify.

Is there any country in the world where cocaine or herion is legal?
posted by dydecker at 1:17 PM on September 19, 2002

Like terrorists wouldn't simply find a different way to fund their activities is drugs were legalized?
posted by MrBaliHai at 1:35 PM on September 19, 2002

Yeah - they might get funding from the sale of gasoline. Oops! Someone already thought of that one.
posted by luriete at 1:41 PM on September 19, 2002

John le Carre's The Night Manager offers a depressing look inside the underground drugs/arms/money exchange. (It's a fantastic read. Just depressing.)
posted by swerve at 1:44 PM on September 19, 2002

Hey, how about this: We legalize terrorism. Suddenly it's no longer a problem!
posted by blue_beetle at 1:51 PM on September 19, 2002

Why I Don't Want to Decriminalize Marijuana

1) I am a career criminal with a history of violence. I am very glad the dope smokers have filled the jails and prisons. I get out earlier because of "overcrowding."
2) I am a politician who has attracted a large constituency with my anti-drug rhetoric. I take the high moral ground with impunity and generate sound bites against the evil of drugs.
3) I am a member of a religion that teaches that only we are of high moral character and it is our duty and destiny to bring morality to the world, by whatever means necessary. Only we know what's best for everybody else.
4) I am an agent in DEA/FBI/CIA/ABC/XXX and am allowed to seize "suspicious" money, cars, homes, airplanes, ... or anything I think may have been involved with the drug trade. I can do it with impunity. It's a real power trip.
5) I am a bank officer who has opened numerous accounts that deposit up to $9,999 in cash almost every day. 95% of that money I am legally allowed to loan or invest. It looks great on my bottom line.
6) I am a bureaucrat who gets ten times the budget funding I ever got before the "War on Drugs" started.
7) I am a person who does not believe you have the intelligence or common sense to make your own decisions regarding your own personal life.
8) I grow Marijuana and get $600 a plant, three times a year. I can grow over 100 plants at a time in my garage and/or backyard.
9) A large portion of my mutual funds are invested in pharmaceutical companies. The last thing I want is for the sick to be able to grow medicine in their backyards.
10) I am a white supremacist. I love the way the Drug War decimates minority communities. It proves that the system is behind me.
posted by keithl at 2:02 PM on September 19, 2002

Right on, Keithl: I am a father of a son who began with pot and worked his way up to crack and booze....things would be so much easier for him if it was readily available instead of his having to work --he never stole or got to jail--and was much cheaper so he could get more than what he had been using. Great stuff!
Incidentally: if all drugs made legal, then what will poor Iraq, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia do with nothing but oil money to fund terror? Gos: they do not like drugs in their country and they kill druggies and sellers, but somehow terror managed to develop anyway.
Why not make oil illegal and keep only drugs legal?
posted by Postroad at 2:12 PM on September 19, 2002

keithl, looks like you have some conflicts of interest.

And a full calendar.

To some extent this is a specious proposal. Certainly terrorism wouldn't disappear if drugs were abruptly legalized -- they would find other sources of funding, and surely they would also find ways to tap into the new, legal drug pipelines. Depending on where they are in the world (or where they can get to), there are plenty of other "legal" commodities that provide profit streams (or at least transport fees) -- like the war diamonds of Africa.

Mainly, though: Drug decriminalization and legalization ought to be done on its own merits, which are plentiful, not on dubious secondary effects that are briefly popular.
posted by dhartung at 2:12 PM on September 19, 2002

I hear it's done by, like, the price of porsches.

Oooh... and that red dress in Ghutsu. That's just gorgeous!
posted by holloway at 2:35 PM on September 19, 2002

To some extent this is a specious proposal.

You sooo sound like Lisa Simpson ;-)

But, joking aside, it is. The best we could hope for is a temporary slow-down as the terrorist 'marketplaces' adjust to new 'market conditions'. Some 'industries' will fail, others will rise to replace them...
posted by i_cola at 2:52 PM on September 19, 2002

..they would also find ways to tap into the new, legal drug pipelines...

But this would not be very profitable. If it were legal, it would turn into just another cash crop and could be grown virtually anywhere..
posted by originalname37 at 2:53 PM on September 19, 2002

kiethl, i know i've seen that list before. where did you find it [if you don't mind my asking?]

and now to be on topic, i agree with dhartung that decriminalization should be done on its own merits. if not, if the craziness about terrorism ever dies down, criminalization might just be reinstated.
on the other hand, if decriminalization and legalization were put into effect and mostly things went well, after the terrorism craziness died down, it might drugs might not be recriminalized based solely on their own merits.
posted by zorrine at 3:50 PM on September 19, 2002

zorrine: let drugs be recriminalized. i wouldn't be the only one exiting the period of freedom with a several hundred pound stockpile of oxycodone and morphine sulphate stored in a bank of refrigerators.
posted by bunnytricks at 4:25 PM on September 19, 2002

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