Next week marks the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's launch of the war on drugs, writes Charles Blow in the New York Times. It is most definitely not a celebratory column. It is "a war that has waxed and waned, sputtered and sprinted, until it became an unmitigated disaster, an abomination of justice and a self-perpetuating, trillion-dollar economy of wasted human capital, ruined lives and decimated communities."
The black community in particular has been devastated, he writes, citing a study showing that African-Americans get locked up on drug charges at 10 times the rate of whites, even though whites have more drug offenses. A global panel and two congressional reports agree, but the White House continues to trot out stats that defend the practice while ignoring the human toll, writes Blow. "No need to put a human face on 40 years of folly when you can swaddle its inefficacy in a patchwork quilt of self-serving statistics." (Read more War on Drugs stories.)