As president, Bill Clinton took fairly ambitious steps to expand federal law-enforcement efforts as part of the so-called “war on drugs.” More than a decade later, the former president realizes those efforts failed.
Former President Bill Clinton says in a new documentary that his administration’s attempts to limit drug trafficking from Colombia “hasn’t worked.”
Clinton joined other world leaders – including former President Jimmy Carter – in filmmaker Sam Branson’s new documentary, “Breaking the Taboo,” which premiered Thursday at New York’s Google headquarters and charges that the global war on drugs is a failure.
“What I tried to do was to focus on every aspect of the problem. I tried to empower the Colombians for example to do more militarily and police-wise because I thought that they had to. Thirty percent of their country was in the hands of the narcotraffickers,” Clinton says in the film, which is available free online.
As a practical matter, Clinton is no longer a policymaker, so his assessments on the drug war may seem inconsequential. But as the recent votes in Colorado and the state of Washington help demonstrate, the national debate is changing, and the political appetite for revisiting the status quo is growing.
For Clinton, an enormously popular national figure, to publicly declare that the so-called war “hasn’t worked” may very well influence public attitudes further. And the more the prevailing winds change course, the more likely it is we’ll see the capacity for political and legal change.