From Publishers Weekly
Far from a sloganeering metaphor, the war on drugs is an all-too-bloody reality, argues this meticulous and impassioned indictment of U.S. drug policy. While it has eroded civil liberties at home, the author argues, the war on drugs has been a catastrophe for Latin American countries. Their governments have been pressured by the U.S. into adopting a heavy-handed and unpopular program of drug prohibition; peasants have had their crops poisoned by drug eradication programs; dozens of planes have been shot down at the behest of U.S. surveillance teams; and brutal DEA-organized drug sweeps have inspired large protests. Meanwhile, he says, the proceeds from the illicit drug trade flow into the hands of criminal syndicates and guerilla insurgents, fueling the civil war in Colombia and a plague of corruption and gang violence throughout Latin America. Meanwhile, despite all the attempts at suppression, the worldwide market for drugs has exploded and drug prices are as low as ever. Carpenter, a vice president at the libertarian Cato Institute and author of The Captive Press, argues that the failure of the war on drugs is the predictable consequence of defying the law of supply and demand. Given the strong market for drugs, attempts at prohibition result in high prices and irresistible profits for farmers and smugglers willing to risk criminal sanctions. The only solution, he contends, is full legalization of marijuana, cocaine and heroin. It's a provocative thesis, but Carpenter's thorough research, sober argumentation and clear writing strengthen this challenge to what he sees as the reigning prohibitionist orthodoxy.
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...war on drugs is an all-too-bloody reality, argues this meticulous and impassioned indictment of U.S. drug policy. (Publishers Weekly Annex (February 3, 2003))
See all Editorial Reviews
A refreshingly candid, controversial, and hard-hitting assessment of Washington's increasingly expensive...utterly futile campaign against illegal drugs. (Kenneth Maxwell, Foreign Affairs)
Mr. Carpenter asks Washington to stop its demeaning and costly 'spectacle of alternately bribing and threatening its neighbors....' (William H. Peterson, Washington Times)