Editorial: Time To End War on Drugs

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by aeroblurg, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. "It is time to decriminalize drug use. What a peaceable person decides to put into his body is no business of government."

  2. Editorial
    Source: Lima News

    For those who believe calling the United States' drug policies a "drug war" is a misnomer, recent remarks by a Marine general should set them straight and send a chill down every freedom-loving American.
    Marine Gen. Peter Pace, commander in chief of the U.S. Southern Command, testified March 27 before the Senate Armed Services Committee concerning security in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each spring, the military's top regional commanders present security reviews to Capitol Hill covering their command's readiness posture, challenges and priorities.

    In his report, Pace discussed the command's strategic assessment, theater architecture and military-to-military engagement. However, the heart of his testimony centered on the illicit drug trade.

    "The illicit drug industry is a corrosive force that threatens the stability and rule of law in the Andean region," Pace told the Senate committee.

    However, he said the region is incapable of sustaining counterdrug operations because the nations' security forces are stretched too thin. He recommends U.S. counterdrug assistance, specifically mentioning Colombia.

    But this is a frightening concept. The last thing the United States needs to do is get involved in a drug war in Latin America. U.S. soldiers are trained to fight a war and defend the United States against attack. The military establishment is ill-prepared to conduct police activities and eradicating plants in Central America.

    But of more immediate concern to us was Pace's assessment of drug trafficking and its affect on the United States. He likened drugs to a weapon of mass destruction and said they were one of Southern Commands top transnational threats.

    "The illicit drug industry is also a growing threat to the U.S. homeland," he said. "According to the Office of the National Drug Control Policy, nearly 17,000 Americans lost their lives last year to drug overdose and drug-related violence. In addition to this tragic lost of life, the direct and indirect costs of illegal drug use to the U.S. taxpayer exceeded $110 billion."

    Illegal drug trafficking is "one of the greatest threats to democracy, regional stability and prosperity in Latin America and the Caribbean," Pace said. It ranks on a par with illegal migration, arms trafficking and crime and corruption.

    "Collectively, these transnational threats destabilize fragile democracies by corrupting public institutions, promoting criminal activity, undermining legitimate economies and disrupting social order," the general said in his prepared statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    He outlined a three-pronged attack to fight the drug war: reducing America's demand for drugs, countering drug production at its source and halting the drug flow in the "transit zone."

    "If I had one dollar to spend," he said, "I would spend it on 'demand reduction.' ... The reason I put it in that priority is that I believe our efforts (to reduce demand) will provide the most success in the long term."

    Once drugs are en route to the United States, he said, "it is very, very difficult to chase those arrows once they've left the bow, to try to catch them in flight, or to determine where they're going to land."

    We would agree with the general that demand for illegal drugs in the United States is too high. But treating drug users and sellers as enemies of the state is the failed approach the United States has taken for too many years. Even the most stubborn of nations will eventually give up on a war they are losing.

    It is time to decriminalize drug use. What a peaceable person decides to put into his body is no business of government, even if it is harmful drugs. And it is time the United States relegate its military forces to its proper role of defending the American shore against invasion and stop using it to fight a failed drug war.

    Source: Lima News (OH)
    Published: April 14, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 Freedom Newspapers Inc.
    Contact: letters@limanews.com
    Website: http://www.limanews.com
  3. Even if we were superbly prepared, I think we should stay right at home. We have our own battles to fight. I find the methods that we (as the United States helping another country) use to "help" are most scary. The devastation of the "Roundup" use over the coca fields and poppy fields don't only kill poppies and coca! People's lives are being negatively effected by this even if they don't partake in the growing of such plants. Coca and poppy plants yield more income per acre (understandably! Being as how the drugs made from these plants are illegal throughout the world). These people don't know how to make a living growing anything else. How would the income per acre be effected if one were to grow corn instead of coca? Greatly! Irradiating these plants will do very little to stem the inflow of the drugs that they make. It will do more harm to the families in the countries that we are spraying with poison!

    So the answer is to keep asking for more money to fight this war? I wonder how far that figure would drop if marijuana alone were made legal! I'm sure we'd see a difference.

    I agree

    My GOD! There IS a sensible person in the US government! Eventually, the USA will have to see that it's war on drugs is being fought the wrong way.
    I should re-phrase that because I believe they know already that they're fighting it the wrong way, but they don't know how else to do it.

    There will come a day when I'm talking to my great grandchildren about the days of prohibition. Hopefully I can be talking to my children about it and not have to wait for my great grandchildren!

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