According to a senior Nixon adviser, the Nixon administration cynically created the War on Drugs as a legal way of locking up liberals and African-Americans.
Former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman admitted as such when speaking Dan Baum, a journalist, and writer in 1994.
Mr. Baum was interviewing Mr. Ehrlichman as he prepared to write his 1996 book, “Smoke and Mirrors”.
Mr. Baum believes that the Nixon official confided in him for the purpose of atonement.
“These guys, they knew they’d done bad things and they were glad finally when it was no longer going to cost them anything to be able to talk about it, to atone for it.” Mr. Baum added “Nobody goes into public service, I don’t think, on either side of the political aisle, to be repressive, to be evil. They go in because they care about the country.”
In an April 2016 cover story that appeared in Harper’s, Mr. Baum asserted that Mr. Ehrlichman admitted to him that the Nixon administration created the drug war as a scheme to legally incarcerate the administration’s foes.
“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Mr. Ehrlichman said.
Mr. Ehrlichman continued, “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.”