I really didn't want to see the movie Traffic. My main reason was that, based upon the trailer, I thought the film's philosophical base. I thought it was going to be the same old lie: "if only we didn't have corruption, we could win this war!"
I was wrong about the movie's philosophical base. Basically, it has none. In a lot of ways, it is a good depiction of the Drug War: it's very confused. There is one thing about the film that is spot on, and that is the government's response to Drug War critics...
Do you hear it? The silence is deafening.
In the movie, a drug dealer is waiting to testify against his supplier. He is in a motel room with the cops who are taking care of him. The guy is going over all of the practical reasons why the Drug War is ridiculous. His arguments are strong.
The cops don't even try to respond. It is just like a modern day Nuremberg: "I'm just following orders!" There was no counter argument--not even a bad one. It reminds me of an essay I read a few years back. It was by the head of the DEA and was supposedly an argument for our drug laws. But the argument quite literally came down to this: the majority of people think drugs should be illegal, therefore drugs should be illegal. I always think this logic is made clear by analogy. "Most people think gay men should be killed, therefore gay men should be killed."
But that is the exception. Mostly, the government doesn't have anything to say on the issue. And I suppose that it knows what it is doing. The government never loses arguments with critics because the government never argues.