The War At Home
By Harold Baranoff
Part of the United States strategy in Afghanistan involves changing the loyalties of the less ideological Taliban. The idea is that some, perhaps a significant number, can be convinced to switch to loyalties by the use of incentives. The term "Turning of Turbans" is being used to describe the change of perspective, focus and direction of an Afghan fighter.
The strategy certainly has merit. Generally, when possible, it is better to cut a deal than fight a long and UN winnable war. There are many examples worldwide where opposition forces, including obvious terrorists, have gained amnesty and have been integrated into government forces, their political wings becoming above ground political parties and their leaders entering into governing coalitions.
If we are willing to consider those sorts of options with the likes of the Taliban, certainly we should enter into negotiations much closer to home with an opposition force that is far less dangerous and one that is open to complete and completely peaceful reintegration now.
I speak of the Marijuana Underground which is a loose association of mostly non-ideological Americans who live in daily opposition to American law. Today millions of Americans are at some level of conflict with the American Legal System, since mere possession of any detectable amount of marijuana is a crime.
Close to 850,000 Americans were arrested last year on marijuana charges. That is approximately 3% of the population who have smoked marijuana in the last year. Tens of thousands of Americans sit in U.S. prisons on possession charges. In spite of the ongoing war on marijuana, no real dent has been made in the production, distribution, or consumption of this relatively harmless herb. The War on Marijuana is UN winnable.
As a prisoner in an American Federal Prison, I offer the following proposal in the name of the millions of Americans in the Marijuana Underground:
We are ready and willing to be fully integrated into the U.S. society at large. We offer our labors, our intellects and our financial resources. We commit to helping reverse global warming, end hunger, help make our cities safer, grow gardens, solarize houses, teach the children, care for the elderly, confront terrorism, improve medical care and reduce its costs, and pay our fair share of taxes while building new industries.
We are ready to serve and ask very little in return. We want to end the marijuana arrests and gain freedom and amnesty for marijuana prisoners. We are willing to do more than our share. We will be model citizens. It is time to end the War on Marijuana. We are quite willing to "Turn our Turbans" and do our part to help reunite the United States of America.
Mr. Baranoff is a P.O.W. held captive in a U.S. Federal; facility in rural Georgia, serving 41 months for marijuana possession.
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