The Drug War Debacle
Despite hundreds of billions of dollars invested in the drug war, cocaine is cheaper and more available than ever. The war is now led by a general, Barry McCaffrey, who presides over a $16 billion budget, a lot more money than the U.S. spends for its poor and needy. Drug war critics cite ever-escalating costs, potential for corruption and erosion of civil liberties. The government now has broad powers to circumvent the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Dan Baum reported for The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone. He is the author of Smoke and Mirrors, Citizen Coors, Nine Lives and Gun Guys. He died in 2020.