As the Bush Administration continues its multi million dollar advertising campaign linking non-violent American youth who have tried illegal drugs with funding for terrorism, an ad by the Drug Policy Alliance featuring the President will appear in Washington, DC's Roll Call this Thursday, February 28 saying the Administration has gone too far.
"This month I watched the Super Bowl, wasted 10 million taxpayer dollars on a deceptive ad campaign, and shamelessly exploited the war on terrorism to prop up the failed war on drugs," reads the ad, over a photo of the president. "C'mon, it was just politics."
The ad continues to point out that while the Bush Administration is blaming American youth for terrorism, it is actually the drug war that creates the illegal markets that help fund terrorism. Additionally, says the ad, our resources would be better spent on drug treatment and fighting real threats to national security.
"The drug czar's office seems to think that American youth are as dumb as a doorknob," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of Drug Policy Alliance. "It's hard to believe that any American teenager smoking homegrown marijuana is going to believe she's subsidizing Bin Laden's terror campaign. They're going to spoof these ads just the way they spoofed the 'fried egg' ads a decade ago."
"Blaming nonviolent Americans for terrorism is like blaming beer drinkers for Al Capone's murders," continued Nadelmann.
Drug Policy Alliance is not the only organization to criticize the Administration's current campaign, which has appeared as full-page ads in the New York Times, Washington Post, and hundreds of print outlets throughout the country, as well as two television commercials during the Super Bowl that cost taxpayers $3.5 million dollars.
Strong criticism of the ads has also appeared on ABC's Politically Incorrect, Fox's O'Reilly Factor, CNN's Crossfire, CBS Marketplace, and in The Weekly Standard, Reuters, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, New York's Newsday, the San Francisco Chronicle, and in Arianna Huffington's nationally syndicated column.
Critics have made the following points:
- The ads are factually misleading: they blame drugs and non-violent Americans for terror funding, when, in fact, the drug war itself is responsible for creating the illegal markets that generate those funds.
- The ads waste precious resources: the federal government is spending $10 million on a television and print ad campaign to demonize Americans when more than 1/2 of the people in the country who need drug treatment cannot get it.
- The ads are politically motivated: the drug czar's office is using millions of taxpayer dollars trying to persuade the American public and Congress that the failed drug war is still worth funding. The ads do nothing to educate children about the health risks of drug use, or to stimulate real dialogue among parents and children about drugs. Instead, they dishonestly link the war on drugs to the war on terrorism in a desperate and cynical effort to protect drug war budgets.