The Drug War Intensifies John Walters: Drug Warrior

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With
his proposed appointment of John Walters as head of the White House
Office of National Drug Control Policy, President Bush has sent
a strong signal: Cry Havoc and let slip the Dogs of War!

Waters,
a disciple of former "Drug Czar" and Washington talk show
clown, William Bennett, will be in charge of the White House effort
to intensify the Federal anti-drug focus on law enforcement and
interdiction. Translation: more militarized police, more loss of
personal liberty, an increased military presence in South America
and more prisoners in American Gulags.

Let's
examine some quotes from Mr. Walters, taken from a PBS program,
"Think
Tank
," hosted by Ben Wattenberg. Quoting Mr. Walters:

"I
actually think that interdiction is an important part of affecting
consumption, particularly heavy users. If you drive up the price
significantly, they use less, they get sicker less, they're likely
to go into treatment more, it makes treatment more effective."

Really?
While higher prices might discourage marginal drug users from indulging,
it's doubtful that they will have the effect of discouraging an
addict. Any hard core cigarette smoker can testify to this. Higher
prices will have the effect of making the market itself more attractive
to criminals from the top to the bottom of the drug chain. This
of course will result in more children using drugs, not less, more
blood on our streets as criminal gangs battle for turf, and more
military masquerading as peace officers, overseeing (and contributing
to) the mayhem.

"We
can do something here, and I think the way to think about this in
part on my side is the way we think about countering terrorism…"

Really?
The measures instituted thus far amount to "counter terrorism",
which is a largely illusory problem domestically, have had a net
effect of drastically reducing our liberties as citizens of a free
republic. They run the gamut: the dehumanizing processes required
to board an airplane; the "Know Your Customer" laws imposed
on banking; reporting "suspicious banking transactions"
to the IRS; all of which place the print of the jackboot on our
necks.

I
find these quotes to be frightening. They don't bode well for our
liberty and they display a shocking ignorance of the Constitution
of the United States. Let's look at some further implications of
active interdiction and an increase in so-called law enforcement.

Interdiction:
Interdiction does not just involve guarding our borders against
incoming foreign drug shipments. Interdiction involves actively
interfering in the internal affairs of other nations as we are seeing
in South America.

War-torn
Colombia now has United States military advisors "on the ground"
playing an active part in both training and participating in actual
combat missions against groups such as the leftist narco-guerillas
of FARC.
Aiding our active military and also providing a cover of deniability
are hired mercenaries from companies such as Vinnell
Corporation
of Fairfax, Virginia. Vinnell, by the way, boasts
as stockholders and directors, such luminaries as former Secretary
of State, James Baker and Frank Carlucci, former DDI of the Central
Intelligence Agency.

As
we have seen, the warfare is not restricted to Colombia. The recent
tragic murder of an American missionary and her infant child in
Peru illustrate one consequence of what is inevitable: regional
warfare. More American deaths have occurred than manage to slip
through the Media/State news conglomerates. Thousands of locals
have died. Perhaps when the deaths reach Vietnam levels, we'll hear
more. Perhaps.

Law
enforcement
: Increases in domestic anti-drug enforcement efforts
without question mean a further decrease in your personal liberties
as an American citizen. Those liberties are already dangerously
eroded; perhaps beyond the point of repair. Already, we have sustained
losses that would shock a citizen of not even two decades ago.

Per
capita, we imprison more of our citizens than any other Western
culture. This has had the very real effect of worsening racial conditions,
as more of those convicted and imprisoned are of minority status:
at this point, middle-class white children rarely serve time for
simple possession, members of the underclass rarely walk free. The
heavy hand of the drug warriors hit them hardest. Additionally,
examine the disparity of sentencing for powder cocaine vs. crack
cocaine. Powder cocaine is a middle-class drug.

The
racial disparity is lessening though. As the drug warriors get bolder,
they widen their nets. And no-knock raids are color blind. Quite
literally, you or your children could be next, drug users or not.

The
war on drugs is eating us alive. Almost every day you can read about
another dynamic entry or police murder. Will John Walters make things
worse? I think the answer is yes.

    May
    11, 2001

    Jeff
    Elkins [send him mail]
    is a freelance consultant and writer living in North Central Florida.

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