Pubdate: Fri, 14 Dec 2001
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2001 The Sun-Times Co.
Author: James E. Gierach
Bookmark: (Terrorism)


Robert Novak wants to link America's war on terrorism to her war on 
drugs, and get the Drug Enforcement Administration in the fight 
[''America's 2 wars must be linked,'' column, Dec. 10]. He's got a 
point: What agency knows, hires and works with more sneaks, 
informants and lowlifes than the DEA?

It is Novak's thesis that drug sales fund international terrorists, 
so let's make war on drugs and terrorism in tandem. Slay the Islamic 
poppy, poison the Arabian reefer, burn Somali quat, and bomb Middle 
East drug reserves to kingdom come, down to the last Osama bin Laden 
cave. And step up the rhetoric.

Not once in three months, Novak complains, has President Bush used 
the phrase ''narco-terrorism.'' Not since President Clinton said he 
didn't inhale has the bully pulpit looked so drug war anemic. 
(Incidentally, the U.S. Senate confirmed a new drug czar by voice 
vote last week. An announcement concerning John Walters' ascendancy 
to the last Cabinet spot is expected soon. Pulling in the opposite 
direction is FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is attempting to 
extricate FBI agents from the drug war fray. J. Edgar Hoover, too, 
knew the temptations and quagmire of drug enforcement, and kept his 
agents otherwise busy.)

At least, Novak recognizes there is some relationship between drugs 
and terrorism, although he ought further mull what it is. Is it 
poppies in a drug field per se that make opium precious to 
international terrorists? Or is it the poppies' stand against a 
backdrop of prohibition and drug war prices and profits that attract 
and link terrorists to the drug trade?

Drug sales are a terrorist tool handed them by American drug policy 
makers. American leaders (and pundits) make the policies; terrorists 
reap the rewards. The rewards include a caveful of ''drugscript'' and 
''poppycock'' currency used to buy terror. For America not to 
appreciate the consequences of her drug prohibition policy is to doze 
off in the poppy fields of Kandahar as Dorothy did in the poppy 
fields of Kansas, Land of Oz.

America's drug war serves terrorist henchmen around the world, just 
as it does American street gangs.

So, let the Middle East opium wars begin: Send in the drug troops, 
deploy helicopter surplus left over from Plan Colombia, fund 
opium-free Afghan land banks and air-drop anti-drug leaflets (all of 
which will work just as effectively as the last 30 years of drug 
war). Or strike an economic blow to the terrorists' Achilles' heel: 
Give them a taste of drug tolerance, devaluation and destitution.

James E. Gierach, Oak Lawn
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