Hidden Costs of the War on Drugs

Last night I had a conversation with a 29-year-old restaurant employee who is a military veteran.  He told us that it was his first job after recovering from injuries in the military.  Specifically, he sustained a head injury that led to epilepsy.  He spent over a year on a dozen or more harsh drugs, but is now on only an anti-seizure medication for the epilepsy, which he will have for the rest of his life.  He is able to draw a 20-year veterans’ pension after only eight years and will be paid 60 percent of his last salary for life, in addition to other very costly-sounding medical benefits, education subsidies, etc. , all paid for by the taxpayers, of course.  Thanks to the Fed, the state has a seemingly-unlimited supply of such blood money.

When we asked him what happened to him and where he was, he said he was head butted by a rifle when he and his comrades were “chasing down drug runners” in the Caribbean.  He then immediately said, “But I’m not supposed to tell anyone about our location.”  My immediate thought was to ask him that if what he was doing was really “in the public interest,” why is it kept secret from the public?  I did not, since this young man was merely another throwaway tool in one of the state’s imperialistic ventures.

One has to wonder how many thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of “veterans” are like this young man who were duped into joining the military “to defend their country” when they were naïve teenagers whose brains were not even full formed yet, and then sent to God knows where to murder foreign strangers trying to sell drugs.  And one also has to wonder how many billions such long-term pensions and medical expenses will add to the costs of the war on drugs, America’s longest and least successful “war.”  (Of course, it is “successful” for the politicians and bureaucrats who enrich themselves and their friends by administering it).


8:29 am on January 17, 2014