The War on Nouns
However our country came to declare wars on broad undefined concepts without real solutions is a mystery to me, but no matter which one you come up with (terrorism, drugs, poverty) we’ve massively failed to find the success our military largely enjoys in our real physical wars. My guess would be that the government, new and media use “war” because it’s something the rest of the world perceives that we’re good at, seeing that we’ve won nearly every war we’ve declared except for Korea and Vietnam (and still hardcore nationalists will tell you those were ties). However, it’s certainly a misnomer for anyone who’s seen our so-called wars on the three aforementioned nouns. Despite our wars being regarded as massive failures worldwide, these are still very real problems plaguing our country, as well as the rest of the world. Seeing as how the warlike approach has not been very effective, I ultimately intend to propose an inverse solution...perhaps one of peace. But the first step is knowing what the real problems are, which I will describe below.
The war on terror began after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, and has raged on until now. In its wake, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and more than five thousand American soldiers have died. This does not even include the countless casualties suffered by both sides, as well as innocent deaths. America has been chided for its shoot first ask questions later policy, drone bombings, and treatment of prisoners not even officially charged with crimes in Guantanamo Bay.
Donald Rumsfeld thought our calling it a “war on terror” was misguided, and he wasn’t alone. In 2005, The New York Times reported, “Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the National Press Club on Monday that he had "objected to the use of the term 'war on terrorism' before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution"(Schmitt & Shanker). It’s a good point. There wasn’t much popular support for a prolonged war, and the killing of Osama bin Laden only created a power vacuum, which many potential successors stand to benefit from. Taking down an international terrorist network with the venerability of a slime mold colony is a tall order, and a war we’re currently losing.
An older war that we’re still losing drastically is Nixon’s War on Drugs that’s been raging since 1971. Drugs are certainly a problem, but public support is waning as the problems only worsen while failing to stop the transport of drugs. CNN reports "The punitive prohibitionist approach to global drug control has proven remarkably costly, ineffective and counterproductive," said Ethan Nadelmann, director of the U.S.-based Drug Policy Alliance.”It has generated extraordinary levels of violence, crime and corruption while failing to reduce the availability and use of psychoactive drugs"(Hunt). Some states are more progressive towards drug legislation, such as California, Washington, and Colorado by attempting to regulate their sale of marijuana and use as opposed to increasing judicial spending over a problem that the public is no longer concerned with.
On the other end of the spectrum, harder drugs like cocaine are still a major issue. Randal C. Archibold from The New York Times suggests “Mexico has new laws to fight money-laundering, but a senior Mexican official said the evidence the United States presents often does not rise to a level that would allow property seizures or arrests under Mexican law” (Archibold). Though our procedures have evolved, many innocent people are thrown into the crossfire between the authorities actually chasing the perpetrators and the criminals protecting their empire. Former schoolteacher-turned-cartel leader Servando Gomez, “La Tuta” reasons, “"[The Knights Templar] are a necessary evil." He once told an assembled crowd "Fortunately -- or unfortunately --