Notes Book

Drug Laws in Iraq

I did a Google search on that subject, and didn't come up with anything useful. I did just hear on CNN that Iraqi Christians were afraid that alcohol would be prohibited. If the Bush regime has anything to say about it, they don't need to worry, of course.

My understanding is that alcohol is illegal in many Moslem countries, but cannabis is not. It is generally accepted that Mohammed banned the use of alcohol, but tolerated the use of cannabis. What would the world have been like if Jesus had turned water into pot?

What are they smoking in all those water pipes we see on CNN? Was cannabis illegal under Saddam? Will it be illegal under the rule of lawyers from the US?

These might appear to be trivial questions. There is a case to be made, however, that a certain amount of the conflict in the world today is generated by the tension between potheads and alcoholics. Both drugs have been popular for a long, long time. According to Drew's Cannabis Information Site, the war between Carthage and Rome was fueled by animosity over the Cannabis trade. Hindus have historically tolerated the use of cannabis.

Alcohol causes a long list of diseases, and it actually kills brain cells in large numbers. Cannabis apparently has none of those effects, but cannabis is often smoked, which is not healthful. It would seem that over time, alcohol use would die out because of its many negative effects on health, but there is one effect that alcohol has that may have helped it to remain competitive in pre-modern societies. Alcohol kills germs. In societies with questionable sanitation, alcohol use may have benefited survival by preventing disease. I recently read of an e-coli outbreak in which the patrons of the restaurant who had been drinking beer with their meal did not get sick, so some of that benefit may still exist, but it is most certainly diluted by modern practices of sanitation, and understanding of methods of controlling infectious disease.

Another factor that favors cannabis over alcohol today is the reliance of modern humans on such things as automobiles, airplanes, trucks, trains, and complex technology of all kinds. The loss of coordination and inhibitions that alcohol causes is a definite liability in those situations. A great number of automobile accidents are alcohol related. It is also well documented that alcohol promotes violence, so alcoholics may tend to kill each other at greater rates. Especially now that lethal violence is so easy 10 year olds can perform it. Actually, alcoholics probably tend to kill everybody at greater rates, but since so many murder victims know their murderers…

So if we view the ancient animosity of Christians and Moslems as partly caused by their drugs of choice, we might take a different view of changing attitudes toward cannabis use in the modern world. The alcohol faction seems to have the upper hand as far as military technology and perhaps technology in general, but their numbers may be shrinking due to a falling birth rate, and because cannabis use is becoming more acceptable in Europe and America. Ironically, it may be that the technology they are promoting is providing an environment in which they can't prosper.

Of course, there are a great many people who use both alcohol and cannabis along with other drugs, so the clash of cultures and the drug wars have many complex dimensions, but it does seem that, over time, alcohol, may be lose out to other drugs—especially if humans continue to predicate their survival on more and more technology.

It probably won't matter a great deal what drug laws are codified in Iraq, but it will matter who enforces them. It will all surely be quite interesting to watch.

How long will 100,000 or 200,000 troops be able to enforce anything on 24 million Iraqi's with access to a virtually infinite supply of assault rifles and grenade launchers, with more and better weapons probably pouring in from many sources. No wonder Donald Dumsfield has been grumpy lately.