Cover image for Busted : stone cowboys, narco-lords, and Washington's war on drugs
Busted : stone cowboys, narco-lords, and Washington's war on drugs
Gray, Mike.
Publication Information:
New York : Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books ; Berkeley, Calif. : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiv, 290 pages ; 23 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV5825 .B89 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Thirty years ago Richard Nixon called drugs "the modern curse of youth" and launched the modern "War on Drugs" as we know it. Thirty years later, even the conservative National Review has said, "The War on Drugs has failed." Spanning three decades, Busted tells readers why, charting the violence, chaos, and corruption that the War on Drugs has spawned. It includes frontline reporting from all over the world, literary journalism, public records, and provocative commentary from the left and right. P. J. O'Rourke writes, "Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows.... Prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could." And Christopher Hitchens has charged that the drug war involves "a demented overseas entanglement, with off-the-record U.S. military aircraft running shady missions over Colombia and Peru, and high-level collaboration with ruthless and unaccountable 'Special Forces.' Colombia doesn't look any more like the U.S. as a result, but the U.S. does look a lot more like Colombia." From the crack dens of South Central L.A. to Iran Contra, from Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" to Plan Columbia, here is a collection of the most provocative, dissenting writing on the drug wars. Contributors include Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, William Buckley Jr., Milton Friedman, Gary Webb, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, and a jailhouse interview with General Manuel Noriega by Oliver Stone.

Author Notes

Mike Gray is the author of Drug Crazy and the screenwriter of The China Syndrome. He has produced the award-winning documentaries American Revolution and The Murder of Fred Hampton. Gray has written for The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, and Rolling Stone. He is the chair of Common Sense for a Drug Policy, a D.C.-based pressure group.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In assessing the famed campaign of the subtitle, Gray (Drug Crazy) has brought together 33 contributors, often journalist-analysts with access to sources that vary from coca farmers in Colombia to former drug czar Barry McCaffrey. The majority agrees that the war on drugs is an exercise in futility. Journalist Ethan Nadelmann believes the policy has failed because U.S. politicians prefer "rhetoric to reality, and moralism to pragmatism." Craig Reinarman and Joshua Wolf Shenk probe the psychology behind Americans' legal, illegal, and prescribed relationships to mind-altering substances, and report that U.S. drug warriors "fear Dutch drug policy like the Catholic Church feared Galileo." Rowena Young considers drug use a false antidote to feelings of purposeless and social isolation. To make the point more concretely, Philippe Bourgois asks a crack dealer in East Harlem how he feels about selling drugs; the man responds: "I hate the people! I hate the environment!...But it's like you get caught up with it....Another day another dollar." Rolling Stone writer T.D. Allman asks a group of Colombian drug farmers whether they want to get out of the coca business, and they answer with a resounding "yes." Roger Hernandez of the Farmers' Association cries out, "We are victims of the drug consumers. We need help to break the circle." Gray, chair of the advocacy group Common Sense for Drug Policy, has collected a vibrant group of thinkers; the opinions are diverse, and the quality of writing consistently high. Most of what they say won't be surprising to critics of U.S. drug policy, but having the arguments in one place and in an accessible format should be a boon to campus and lay readers. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved