Recently, there was a report about a host of "world leaders" who came together to call for an end to the "War On Drugs" because of what a failure it supposedly has been. There are those who feel that since efforts to lower drug use have failed (despite reports of fewer people using--not saying they're accurate, only that they exist), well we should just throw in the towel and not waste the money fighting this losing battle. Mostly left-wingers support this move.
At the same time, there are those on the right who speak disparagingly about the "War On Poverty". They feel the money spent on this struggle is also a waste.
There are other such wars, such as wars on "obesity" and "illiteracy". In each case, there are those who feel that we are losing or that we are wasting the money. In short, they want to quit. Give up. Wave the white flag.
The pattern here is evident in real war. Since Viet Nam (though the attitude has always existed to some extent throughout history), there are those for whom the costs of engagement rise to a level of great discomfort.
How did this happen? At what point did our national spine weaken so badly that no struggle is worth the effort to overcome? Was it the same time rules of engagement have changed so much as to make any effort almost futile?
Let's set aside real war and speak of those metaphorical wars mentioned first. Take the war on drugs. Without getting into whether or not any or all drugs should be legalized or de-criminalized, how should we respond to any call to end such a "war"? Seems to me that such calls are misguided. The drugs in question are illegal. They cause harm. The people who manufacture and market them cause even greater harm. The industry syphons money from the economy and puts it in the hands of very bad people, leaving behind fewer dollars to fix the problems caused by the use of the drugs. Ending the war will only alter the dynamic slightly. The bad guys will still engage in illegal activity in order to earn their living. That's what they do. The drug users will still use drugs, but do it more openly and likely more often. In short, there will be no tangible improvement of life in the country due to withdrawing our forces from the battlefield.
But the attitude that's behind this call is what is most troubling. QUIT! That's what is being suggested. Quit because it's hard! People are going to do drugs anyway, they say. There's nothing we can do about it.
Well. Here's another war that's hard! The "War On Crime". We've been waging this war for centuries. It has not abated. Let's call it a draw and go home. People will engage in criminal acts anyway. What's the use? We could use that money spent on law enforcement elsewhere.
Obviously, just as in real wars, the trouble is not the cause, but how we go about fighting. Generally speaking, recreational drugs are harmful, dangerous and a threat to the well being of our citizenry, especially children. The war must go on until victory is achieved. For victory is the only exit strategy worth mentioning. How to we measure victory? Just as in real war, when the enemy is defeated, totally, unconditionally and with extreme prejudice.