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posted by azrael on Friday July 11 2014, @02:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the time-to-rethink dept.

A report at Alternet gives some context to the amount spent by the U.S. on its drug policy.

  • 1,100 - The number of Americans that die each year due to violent crime caused by the drug war
  • $51 billion - The amount that the U.S. government spends each year on the war on drugs
  • 61 percent - The percentage of individuals targeted by drug-related SWAT raids who are people of color
  • 82 percent - The number of Americans who believe that the government is losing the War on Drugs
  • 18 months - The age of Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh, a recent American casualty of the drug war

The article goes into further details on the number, including:

On May 28, a team of police officers raided the Phonesavanh's home, with the mistaken belief that the residents were involved with drugs. As they entered, they tossed a flashbang grenade that landed directly in the crib of baby Bou Bou, which exploded within point-blank range - critically injuring him.

In a harrowing article, his mother, Alecia, described seeing "a singed crib" and "a pool of blood", and later being informed by medics: "There's still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs". Alecia said that the sole silver lining to this story is that it may "make us angry enough that we stop accepting brutal SWAT raids as a normal way to fight the war on drugs".

Fortunately, Bou Bou has been making a gradual recovery, but his family is relying on donations to support their living and medical costs.

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by kaganar on Friday July 11 2014, @04:48PM

    by kaganar (605) on Friday July 11 2014, @04:48PM (#67690)

    Look, I know I'm unobjectively whining here, but as a US citizen I feel powerless no matter who I vote for when I see these kind of statistics. If I had to choose between "the war on drugs" for $51 billion a year and (ending world hunger [] (by some accounts) -- or heck, just ending hunger in the U.S. for a fraction of the quoted figure, well then.. It's not that hard of a choice.

    I'm sure the war on drugs is doing something good, however any middle-school student I know can find drugs, so it's certainly not keeping drugs out of citizens' hands. Maybe it's only about keeping it "off the streets" (quite literally), in which case that's just ordinance enforcement -- policemen and fines.

    And looking at military expenditure -- we'll pay 10x the price to help ensure we can blow you up rather than making sure you get enough food. No wonder why we're viewed as pricks. (I propose we direct 10% of our military to feed the hungry in the world -- as a propaganda mechanism for national defense purposes.)

    I love my country, I enjoy many freedoms, and I have a good life here. But man, our national priorities hurt the soul.

    Alright, enough venting -- come poke numerous holes in my rant. ;-)

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  • (Score: 2) by metamonkey on Friday July 11 2014, @05:27PM

    by metamonkey (3174) on Friday July 11 2014, @05:27PM (#67715)

    There's no hole, you just don't understand the purpose of the US government. It is not to aid US citizens, or anybody else, really. It's to funnel wealth from the middle class to the upper class. This is the military contractors; the weapons manufacturers. Bombs are profitable, especially when they pave the way for kleptocracies friendly to American corporations who can then exploit their oil and mineral resources. Food for the hungry is not profitable.

    Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12 2014, @04:38AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12 2014, @04:38AM (#67979)

    No wonder why we're viewed as pricks.

    No, we're viewed as pricks because Americans are universally assholes. Go spend time in any other country, preferably someplace where you can interact with people from many different countries, and if any of them are jerks or even slightly rude, its almost certain they're American.