Latest anti-drug commercials are failed propaganda
Anyone who has watched television in the last year has probably seen some of the latest anti-drug commercials. The commercials, some of which aired during the past two Super Bowls, imply that drug money funds terrorism. While these ads were created with the intention to decrease U.S. drug use, they are so ridiculous that they conjure up images of those failed ads featuring fried eggs.
There are a number of reasons why these ads go too far. First of all, the ads are sensationalistic creations meant to do little more than shock people. The Office of National Drug Control Policy, which funded the ads, is trying to play on Americans' knee-jerk reactions to the word "terrorism."
Americans are so paranoid about terrorism that they shudder whenever they hear the word, no matter what the context is. Our government knows this, and they have decided to use it to create these manipulative pieces of drivel. Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, admitted that the ads played on Americans' sensitivity to terrorist references.
President George W. Bush has tried to rally Americans by associating the drug war with patriotism. "If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terror in America," said Bush. It's ironic that Bush, himself a former drug user, is now imploring Americans to quit drugs. Since Bush quit drugs, you can too!
The ads try to tug at our heartstrings by demonstrating how terrorists allegedly use drug money for murders, kidnappings, and other acts of unspeakable horror. One child featured in the ad says, "I helped murder families in Colombia." This child looks like he is no older than twelve. Are we supposed to believe that twelve-year-olds use cocaine and heroin, the primary drugs produced in Colombia?
After showing several more people who are allegedly responsible for the deaths of others, the ads conclude with this message: "Drug money supports terror. If you buy drugs you might too."
It seems that the government is looking for a scapegoat for the disappointing war on terror. Not one to accept blame for his own mistakes, Bush has decided to blame one of the most pathetic, helpless groups of Americans: drug addicts.
Nowhere in these ads are there any facts about drug money supporting terror. Viewers are simply supposed to believe that if the government states something, it must be true. Not only that, but the word "might" is used. The government is not positive that drug money funds terrorists, yet we are supposed to feel guilty.
There are many other purchases that "might" fund terrorists. Every time Americans fill their cars with gas, they "might" be supporting terror. In fact, the link between oil money and terrorism is much clearer than the link between drug money and terrorism.
Not only are the ads misleading, but they are also a colossal waste of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Congress approved nearly $1 billion in 1998 over five years for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. There are far better ways to spend this money. Why not spend this money on homeland security measures that could actually stop terrorism? U.S. citizens should be outraged that the government would spend the money on this.
The government has also wasted billions of dollars on the perpetual war on drugs, which has been notoriously unsuccessful. Perhaps this money and the ad could have been used to improve drug treatment facilities rather than support both a lost cause and a propaganda campaign.
American teenagers are too smart to be fooled by these ads. Those who want to use drugs will continue to do so; a few cute ads are unlikely to convince them that drugs are bad. Perhaps if the ads actually talked about the dangers of drug use, kids might get the picture.