This recent debate between former Drug Czar John Walters and blogger/author Glenn Greenwald is worth watching in its entirety.
Since 98% of Greenwald’s writing isn’t even about drug policy, it’s easy to forget what a powerful advocate for reform he really is. His opening statement is impressive and couldn’t easily be improved upon. Walters is terribly boring and dispassionate by comparison, aside from being completely wrong about everything.
Many of us, particularly Pete Guither, have salivated for years at the thought of standing onstage across from Walters and taking him apart as Greenwald does here. It’s a rare and interesting event, but it also serves to illustrate something I’ve struggled at times to explain to enthusiastic young reform activists: our opponents don’t vanish in a puff of smoke when you beat them in a debate. They don’t break down like Michael Douglas in Traffic, and proceed to rebuke everything they stood for the day before. It’s not that easy.
Still, there was a time in the very recent past when someone with John Walters’ towering drug war credentials would never even entertain the idea that another approach existed. That he must now take the stage in defense of his own legacy is an interesting thing to see, even if every word out of his mouth is what we expected to hear.
In so many ways, not even George Soros has done more to devastate the popularity of prohibition in America than former Drug Czar John Walters. Any time this man wants a microphone in front of his face, we’ll do well to make damn sure he gets it.