Pubdate: Mon, 19 Feb 2001
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2001 The Washington Post Company
Contact:  1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071
Author: Bill Piper


Re: "Sticking With Colombia" [editorial, Feb. 13]:

The Post is correct that the United States should stick with Colombia. 
However, the current plan of aerial spraying and military intervention will 
be ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst. In contrast, six of 
Colombia's governors have developed a plan to promote land ownership, to 
help Colombian farmers develop new markets for traditional products (such 
as bananas and coffee) and to generally regain control of Colombia through 
other benign reforms.

Decades of scientific evidence have shown that source-country eradication 
efforts have no significant effect on drug use in the United States. Basic 
economics dictates that supply will always exist to meet demand. A major 
study conducted for the Office of National Drug Control Policy by the RAND 
Corporation found that drug treatment is 23 times more effective than 
eradication in reducing the use of cocaine in the United States. Defense 
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently told a Senate committee that our country 
would be better off spending resources on reducing demand at home than on 
supply-side schemes abroad.

President Bush should heed the advice of his defense secretary and think 
twice before following in Clinton's footsteps into the Colombia quagmire.

Bill Piper, Washington
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