Blogs > Liberty and Power > Walter Cronkite Opposed Drug Prohibition

Jul 24, 2009 8:49 pm

Walter Cronkite Opposed Drug Prohibition

When Walter Cronkite died earlier this month the American people lost someone they felt they could trust. In the 1960s after Cronkite began to publicly question the war in Vietnam President Johnson felt he had lost the support of Middle America. And, Vietnam was not the only war that caused Cronkite enough concern to speak out.

In 1995 Cronkite was involved in a program broadcast on The Discovery Channel, The Drug Dilemma - War or Peace?, where he said that, “just about every American was shocked when Robert McNamara, one of the master architects of the Vietnam War, acknowledged that not only did he believe the war was 'wrong, terribly wrong,' but that he thought so at the very time he was helping to wage it. That's a mistake we must not make in this tenth year of America's all-out war on drugs.” Three years later he along with numerous other notables from around the globe signed an open letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stating that, “we believe that the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself.”

Later Cronkite agreed to become an honorary board member of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) where he helped produce fund raising letters. In one such missive he wrote, “And I cannot help but wonder how many more lives, and how much more money, will be wasted before another Robert McNamara admits what is plain for all to see: the war on drugs is a failure.” As Ethan Nadelmann head of the DPA put it, “Walter Cronkite got it -- and he got it early. He knew a failed war when he saw one.”

Is it not time for the American people to get it also? It would indeed be a fitting tribute to Walter Cronkite to once again trust him and end the failed policy of drug prohibition.

Cross posted on The Trebach Report

comments powered by Disqus