The Drug War Intensifies John Walters: Drug Warrior

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