If Nixon did not have biases against blacks and activists, would Nixon's War on Drugs have had merit?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

No, even if President Richard M. Nixon did not hold biases against African Americans and left-wing, anti-war activists, his War on Drugs would still not have had merit.

In the jungles and swamps of Vietnam, guerilla and ground warfare lead to an impasse which caused numerous injuries to the boots on the ground. The draft for the war brought in many inexperienced soldiers, which increased the injuries. These soldiers were liberally and haphazardly given morphine and developed addictions while fighting. These soldiers acquired heroin from nearby Thailand and came back to the states with their addictions. Upon their return, these veterans were labeled as criminals under Nixon’s War on Drugs. As such, this policy succeeded in harming veterans who fought in an unpopular war, not cracking down on violent criminals.

The Summer of Love became a manifestation of the rising liberal, anti-war politics sweeping the nation. Ideas of individual expression and a disruption from traditional gender roles took hold, and proponents of these ideas used drugs like marijuana and LSD in order to further explore these themes. The use of these drugs was largely nonviolent, although the War on Drugs likened these users to violent felons.

Ultimately, the War on Drugs was unsuccessful. Instead of making the country safer, veterans and political activists were harmed and jailed. Their imprisonments made it significantly more difficult for these people to find work after prison, which increased the likelihood they would commit crimes. The argument can be made that the War on Drugs actually made the country less safe in the long run.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 27, 2020
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial