Pubdate: Thu, 07 Sep 2000
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2000 The Denver Post
Contact:  1560 Broadway, Denver, CO 80202
Fax: (303) 820.1502


Sept. 7, 2000 - President Clinton is dragging the United States into 
another country's civil war. Clinton would be far wiser to invest $1.3 
billion in reducing U.S. demand for cocaine than to squander the sum arming 
Colombia's military.

Many aspects of America's purported war on drugs are preposterous, but none 
is more absurd than using military force to solve what essentially is the 
medical problem of addiction and the economic reality of supply and demand. 
However, the Clinton plan expands the long-standing silliness to disturbing 

Colombia's civil war has festered for decades. All sides have committed 
human rights abuses, and all sides have profited from the cocaine industry.

Yet Clinton justifies sending helicopters and other weapons to Colombia by 
claiming that another democracy has asked for help and the United States 
must respond.

In truth, the American arms will be useless against drug lords, safely 
shielded in their urban mansions, and most likely will be aimed at 
defenseless rural peasants.

Already, Colombia's military has a horrible track record of murder and 
torture. While the drug cartels also have their own terrible history of 
similar crimes, there is no excuse for law enforcement ever to engage in 
such thuggery. Yet the Clinton plan does nothing to stop the Colombian 
army's human rights abuses.

Moreover, after criticizing nations like Iraq for using biological warfare, 
the United States is poised to commit much the same offense. Into 
Colombia's spectacular mountains and forests, the Clinton administration 
plans to introduce a new fungus, which supposedly will infect only cocaine 
plants. However, there apparently is no objective research on the fungus' 
long-term effects, especially on the peasants whose farms will get sprayed. 
Nor are there solid guarantees that the fungus won't ever attack other 
native plant species.

True, the drug trade also is destroying Colombia's ecosystem, cutting down 
rain forests to make room for coca fields and indiscriminately applying 
herbicides to maximize cocaine production. However, the drug gangs that 
commit such sins are criminals, and Uncle Sam supposedly is not.

Clinton insists that he is not pulling the United States into "another 
Vietnam." But in making that statement, Clinton either has become deaf to 
history's lessons or he is deliberately misleading both the American and 
Colombian peoples. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake