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American Drug War: The Last White Hope (2007)

 -  Documentary | Crime
7.9
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The War on Drugs has become the longest and most costly war in American history, the question has become, how much more can the country endure? Inspired by the death of four family members ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Joe Arpaio ...
Himself (as Sheriff Joe Arpaio)
Jello Biafra ...
Himself - Activist
...
Himself (archive footage)
Jeff Blackburn ...
Himself - Civil Rights Attorney: Tulia, TX
Robert C. Bonner ...
Himself - Former Head of the DEA (archive footage) (as Robert Bonner)
Curt Booth ...
Himself - Psychedelic Movement
Dorothy Booth ...
Herself (archive footage) (as Dorothy Ann Booth)
...
Eddie Bravo ...
Himself
Chico Brown ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Celerino Castillo III ...
Himself - DEA Agent
Paris Chong ...
Himself - Son of Tommy
...
Himself - Private Prison Prisoner
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Storyline

The War on Drugs has become the longest and most costly war in American history, the question has become, how much more can the country endure? Inspired by the death of four family members from "legal drugs" Texas filmmaker Kevin Booth sets out to discover why the Drug War has become such a big failure. Three and a half years in the making the film follows gang members, former DEA agents, CIA officers, narcotics officers, judges, politicians, prisoners and celebrities. Most notably the film befriends Freeway Ricky Ross; the man many accuse for starting the Crack epidemic, who after being arrested discovered that his cocaine source had been working for the CIA. AMERICAN DRUG WAR shows how money, power and greed have corrupted not just dope fiends but an entire government. More importantly, it shows what can be done about it. This is not some 'pro-drug' stoner film, but a collection of expert testimonials from the ground troops on the front lines of the drug war, the ones who are ... Written by Kevin Booth

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User Reviews

Safe, Easy Answers for a Sleeping America
9 February 2009 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I wanted to like this film but unfortunately, it's a bit of a mess since it constantly jumps from one argument to another in the way it trashes both illegal AND legal drugs, contradicting itself at every turn. They never go into addictions in general, which is the main problem of our society (personally, I think that television is the worst drug in our society).

For those who will insist on disagreeing with me... Do you really think that if drugs DID become legal they wouldn't be sold by the same corporations that now sell tobacco or alcohol? If there's a dollar to be made, then it will either be by "criminals" on the street or by corporate executives, who are both snakes as far as I'm concerned. It's almost hilarious that Ricky Ross, one of the top drug dealers in US history, is depicted a poor hapless fellow who - aww-gee – just wanted to pursue the American Dream, yet our government is 'evil'. In my book they're ALL after the same thing: power and M-O-N-E-Y! As Ricky Ross said, "if it hadn't been for the money, I wouldn't have gotten into the drug trade". Duh! Ollie North couldn't have said it better – although at least his motive was also about his vision of a 'better America', as depraved and twisted as it was! Anyway, the same pharmaceutical companies that lobby against medical marijuana today will be the first to produce the magic weed if/when it does become legal. At which time the average Joe on the street who grows and sells his own will STILL find himself in prison for selling a product that's not licensed (the licensing will have to do with the 'purity' of the product, since home-grown could have other substances in it).

And that's where this documentary bungles its stance the most. It does a good job of depicting the true profit motive of the US government in terms of the drug war but it does not seem to want to investigate what the true profit motive of the anti-war on drugs campaign is. Is there a profit motive? For many casual drug users and those of us who want to see the US government's involvement in the anti-drug war disappear, there is no profit motive. But there is a strong wing of the Libertarian Party led by Ron Paul that is hooking liberals in on this issue. Once again, it's all about money and power and in this case, the end of federal taxation in America. What's wrong with that you may ask? Well, if programs for the people aren't funded by federal taxes, then they will either be funded by corporations, or they'll just go unfunded altogether (state taxes can't even come close to covering any state's needs). I don't believe that this film is totally out to endorse this particular agenda; it ironically makes an argument that we should get rid of taxes, while praising the socialist Dutch, who have the highest tax rates in the world. But the libertarian talking heads in this film scare me as much as our government does because they want to decriminalize drugs AND they want to get rid of all the funding for programs that will pay for the education and rehabilitation to solve the problems of drugs, crime, poverty and racism. They offer no viable solutions, just as this film never makes any attempt at all to discuss possible solutions to wean our nation of its addictions.

And while I'm at it... If tobacco and alcohol are as evil as this film insists, then why compound the problem with making ALL drugs legal? I can just see the filmmaker's family portrait dwindling in ten years as more and more friends are lost to cigarettes, alcohol, and... what are now illegal drugs.

A film that claims to be about the drug war but doesn't spend a significant amount of time on addiction in general, as well as how to combat our addictions through education and rehabilitation, is this country's problem in a nutshell. We just want safe, easy answers. The "just say no to drug wars" campaign is as stupid and reckless as the whole "just say no to drugs" campaign! Those who want to really stop drug addiction, poverty, crime and racism knows that it will only be through education, rehabilitation and social programs.

To clarify... I DO want to see an end to the drug wars and I'd like to see Marijuana legalized, but I'm ALSO for viable solutions. Our government is corrupt because it answers to industry and corporations that have their own agenda (money, of course). MAKING DRUGS LEGAL WILL JUST KEEP DRUGS IN THE CORPORATE LOOP! The occasional user or small-time seller will still be harassed and/or incarcerated. The best thing we can do is not get government itself off our backs, but get rid of our current BAD government that cares more about profits than people. We indeed should use the Dutch as a model... for EVERYTHING!


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