The “War on Drugs” was actually a political tool to crush leftist protesters and black people, a former Nixon White House adviser admitted in a decades-old interview published Tuesday.
John Ehrlichman, who served as President Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief, laid bare the sinister use of his boss’ controversial policy in a 1994 interview with journalist Dan Baum that the writer revisited in a new article for Harper’s magazine.
“You want to know what this was really all about,” Ehrlichman, who died in 1999, said in the interview after Baum asked him about Nixon’s harsh anti-drug policies.
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying,” Ehrlichman continued.
“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. 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.”