Walters and Nadelmann are like a pair of aging vaudeville comedians, still whacking away at each other with their slapsticks long after everyone in the audience has gotten bored with them.
I only wish I thought that the editors of the Wall Street Journal had deliberately chosen these two exercises in unreality to illustrate how completely what passes for the drug policy debate in political and journalistic circles is stuck on stupid. But I’m just about certain that they have been taken in by the illusion that they, in turn, foist on their readers, an illusion that the Walters drug-warrior crowd and the Nadelmann drug-legalizer crowd have done their best to foster because it’s in their mutual interest: the illusion that there’s no alternative to the War on Drugs other than a virtual free market in drugs with a few not-very-important regulations, more or less on the alcohol model.
The arguments for the drug war and for “an end to prohibition” are symmetrically nonsensical, only with opposite signs: rather like a particle and its anti-particle. Sadly, there’s a difference; I see no hope that the “drug war” and “drug policy reform” might someday meet and disappear in a flash of photons.
Mark Kleiman also takes on the drug warriors and sums up the drug policy freak show: