Finally admitting to a fact that hundreds of thousands of profiled, disenfranchised Black and Brown men across the United States — and their families — have known for decades, former President Bill Clinton has revealed in a new Sam Branson documentary, “Breaking the Taboo,” that the so-called War on Drugs did not work.
“What I tried to do was to focus on every aspect of the problem. I tried to empower the Colombians for example to do more militarily and police-wise because I thought that they had to. Thirty percent of their country was in the hands of the narcotraffickers,” Clinton says in the film, which is available free online.
In the film, narrator Morgan Freeman says, “the U.S. spent billions of dollars funding military operations” in Colombia to cut of cocaine coming into America.
Clinton later says: “Well obviously, if the expected results was that we would eliminate serious drug use in America and eliminate the narcotrafficking networks — it hasn’t worked.”
Former President Jimmy Carter also weighed in on the pivotal issue:
“President Reagan and his wife [Nancy] adopted the drug program as the No. 1 issue for her to proclaim. She had a phrase: Just say, ‘No,’” Carter says in the film. “She made it clear that her prohibition against drugs included marijuana and everything else. So I don’t think that there’s any doubt that President Reagan made a profound impact then on the consciousness of our country, and I think that he also shaped the opinion of many members of our Congress.”
According to a 20-page Human Rights Watch report released in 2009, “Decades of Disparity: Drug Arrests and Race in the United States,” every year between 1980-2007 Black people were arrested on drug charges 2.8 to 5.5 times as high as those of Whites.
“About one in three of the more than 25.4 million adult drug arrestees during that period was African American.”
Michelle Alexander, author of the riveting tome, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness, addresses just how much the “War on Drugs” didn’t work:
With Black and Brown men being funneled into the Prison Industrial Complex like chattel, the “War” has paid socio-political and financial dividends to politicians and corporations who have invested in the failure of the Black community. From that perspective, maybe the real war, the one that many don’t even know we’ve been fighting, has been won.