Nation’s longest war slogs on

So, perhaps you think we’ve just ended the longest war in U.S. history, the one in Iraq, with the other lengthy conflict in Afghanistan also drawing to a close?

Think again.

The nation’s longest war has been going on seemingly forever. And there’s no end in sight. It’s the war on drugs and it is the subject of the next “Independent Lens” broadcast to air Monday night at 9 on KACV-TV.

Eugene Jarecki is an independent filmmaker who’s chronicled the heart-wrenching stories of those caught up in the drug culture and the government’s effort to eradicate it. From the drug dealer to the grieving mother, the compelling story is told in “The House I Live In,” produced by Jarecki.

The nation’s drug war has been debated ferociously since President Richard Nixon in effect declared war on drug use in 1971. The war has spawned a spiraling array of questions. Do we treat drug abuse as a criminal justice issue or as a medical condition? How fair is it to impose mandatory uniform sentences for people caught selling illegal drugs? What about the effectiveness of drug courts, such as the one used in Potter and Randall counties, to adjudicate drug cases exclusively? Do police deter drug traffic along major interstate highways — such as I-40, which runs east-west across the Texas Panhandle — by aggressively stopping and searching vehicles suspected of carrying shipments of illegal drugs? Would legalization of some — if not all — banned substances bring an end to the war on drugs?

This debate no doubt will continue long after “The House I Live In” is broadcast Monday night. Whether you think the effort is worth it or whether it’s a waste of time and money, the debate is worth having.

Let’s listen to the stories that independent filmmaker Eugene Jarecki will tell in this important documentary and make up our own minds.


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