I TOLD YOU SO

There’s nothing like real life events that serve as vindication for the  views espoused by semi-anonymous bloggers like me to raise our level of arrogance and enable us to loudly exclaim “I TOLD YOU SO!”

The past week or two have served as my own personal Hannukah in the form of receiving almost daily gifts of this nature. I would say that modesty prevents me from citing the prominent examples that have reinforced my opinions but anyone who has read a number of my posts quickly realizes that modesty is one trait unlikely to intrude upon this space.

Take the war on drugs. I wrote months ago, and have advocated for years, that our war on drugs is useless and wasteful.

http://wp.me/pS6ry-9F

Now some folks with much greater credibility than my own have taken up the cause.  Check out this report:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/01/drug-war-has-failed-report_n_870096.html

The Global Commission on drug policy has declared the war on drugs a failure.

“Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won,” the report said.

Believe it or not Cheech and Chong were not the co-chairs of this body but it did include:

…former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former U.S. official George P. Schultz, who held cabinet posts under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Others include former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, U.K. business mogul Richard Branson and the current prime minister of Greece.

College football was shocked this week by the resignation of Jim Tressel as Head Football Coach at Ohio State. A number of his players had done questionable things in selling memorabilia for cash and tattoos and other potential violations of the NCAA’s restrictions on extra benefits for athletes. (I refuse to call them “student-athletes, perhaps athletes-students would be appropriate.

It seems Tressel had some knowledge of possible offenses before the offical investigation became public knowledge. As Head Coach he had an obligation to inform his school’s NCAA rules compliance officer. Instead, he proceeded to notify just about everyone but that person.

Some players as well as Tressel were suspended for the first five games of the coming season, but as more revelations emerged, it was obvious Tressel could not remain at the helm.

There’s nothing extraordinary about all this save for the coach of a major program actually being forced to accept responsibility and undergo punishment. The situation is simply another illustration in the “book” about the corruption of major college sports.

I’ve touched upon that in various contexts including this piece last year on the restructuring of some of the major conferences. http://wp.me/pS6ry-1m

As a personal note a fraternity brother of mine, involved in academic administration, was at Youngstown State when Tressel was the coach there and had another NCAA investigation. My friend had some oversight responsibilities of the coach. In a recent phone conversation he basically told me he was not surprised by anything Tressel was being accused of.

When Tressel resigned, I emailed my friend and asked whether he thought this development was inevitable. His answer was “yes”.

Last fall I made what I thought was an excellent case for the immediate withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan.

http://wp.me/pS6ry-4a

One of my arguments was that we had invaded in order to catch Osama Bin Laden. Here are some comments at the time.

But no mind, we’re still chasing around Afghanistan not looking for Bin Laden. Or it could be that we are like parents playing hide-and-seek with their kids, going all over and pretending not to find the little rug rats when we knew where they were all along.

Well now that Osama has found a condo in Davy Jones Locker it is even more evident of the cogency of that argument.

Now, though sometimes for other than the reasons I cited, there is growing sentiment in Congress that our exit from Afghanistan should be sooner rather than later. At least part of that sentiment comes from Republicans claiming President Obama has violated provisions of the War Powers Act.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/asserting-war-powers-hous_b_867991.html

There are also opinion pieces supporting withdrawal.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-benavidez/end-afghanistan-war-_b_857271.html

The conclusion of that writer is typical and echoes my own.

We can no longer afford our involvement in Afghanistan in terms of blood and treasury. Let’s face it, we’re not going to make a huge difference by staying. We need a rapid draw down of U.S. forces.

I cannot fully rejoice at this vindication. The NCAA scandal affects the integrity of our higher education system no matter how comical the specific escapades may appear at first.

Regardless of any recommendation to end it, the war on drugs is likely to continue because we have too few politicians with balls to take a leadership roll. In the meantime we will keep our prison walls bulging with non-violent offenders with addiction problems rather than a true criminal heart.

And every week brings more news of death from Afghanistan while our President and  his military advisors dawdle and Congress has insufficient courage to force their hands.

So as much as I’m tempted to gloat, my own better course will be to remain humble but also tireless in pointing out these absurdities and injustices.

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