In the ’90s, General Barry McCaffrey served as Bill Clinton’s drug czar. For McCaffrey, czar was the perfect term to use. After promising to cut “youth drug use” in half within ten years, his tactics were exactly what you’d expect from a “czar”.
To start, he spent $2 BILLION on a television ad campaign aimed at discouraging young people from using illicit substances – primarily weed. This was as much as major corporations like Nike and American Express were spending on their advertising.
What’s a couple billion tax dollars between friends for a nonsensical cause?
He was also a leading figure in the Clinton administration’s Plan Columbia, which was another multi-billion dollar anti-drug program that armed, trained, and advised Columbian soldiers to fight against “insurgents”. To McCaffrey, it was silly to differentiate between antidrug efforts and anti-insurgency efforts. So what if dumping weapons & ammunition into Columbia was akin to throwing gasoline on a fire?
Part of Plan Columbia involved spraying herbicide on the country’s coca crops. Unfortunately, most of these crops were grown by poor farmers, and the aerial spraying failed to remain contained to only the coca crops – legal crops necessary for daily sustenance were also damaged.
In what was a predictable result, regular people suffered while the stated goal went unachieved. Victory in the “war on drugs” remained elusive.
Perhaps most his most sinister act as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (a cabinet-level position) was when McCaffrey’s team funded a bio-research project at Montana State University in which they sought to engineer a “superfungus” to attack cannabis & coca plants.
Nothing could possibly go wrong there!
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This has been another edition of “420 Words”
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