I will likely blog more about today’s feature report in the Washington Post on civil forfeiture. Here, though, I focus exclusively on the report’s first two sentences:
After the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the government called on police to become the eyes and ears of homeland security on America’s highways.
Local officers, county deputies and state troopers were encouraged to act more aggressively in searching for suspicious people, drugs and other contraband.
Suppose that an increasing number of children in your town are being kidnapped and then killed sacrificially in gruesome rituals performed by members of a fanatical religious cult. How would you react if your local police force announces that among the steps it is taking to end this ghastly practice is to search more aggressively for drugs? Unless there is some strong connection between the illegal-drug trade and the predations of this religious cult, I hope that you would be appalled at your local police force.
Regardless of your stance on the question of legalizing marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other illegal substances, you should understand that devoting more resources to fight the war on drugs means that fewer resources than otherwise are available to stop evil people from killing innocent children. Yet, if this Washington Post report is accurate, one of governments’ responses to the 9/11 attacks was to intensify the ‘war on drugs’ – that is, to devote more resources to the task of tamping down activities (the selling and consumption of illegal drugs) that have no obvious connection to terrorism. So whatever are the particular methods of fighting terrorism that you and other sensible people think best, one of governments’ responses was to diminish the amount of resources available to employ those particular methods.
That’s typical government illogic.
(Regular Cafe patrons will know not to infer from the above example that I endorse any intensification of any of the methods that government has used since September, 11, 2001 to fight the ‘war on terror.’)