Pubdate: Tue, 13 Mar 2001
Source: Northwest Florida Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2001 Northwest Florida Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your thoughtful March 9 editorial ("Colombia update"), Plan 
Colombia could very well spread both civil war and coca production 
throughout South America.

Communist guerrilla movements do not originate in a vacuum. U.S. tax 
dollars would be better spent addressing the underlying causes of civil 
strife rather than applying military force to attack the symptoms. Forcing 
Colombia's FARC guerrillas to the bargaining table at gunpoint will not 
remedy Colombia's societal inequities.

The United States is not doing the Colombian people any favors by funding 
civil war. Nor are Americans being protected from drugs.

Destroy the Colombian coca crop and production will boom in Peru, Bolivia 
and Ecuador. Destroy every last plant in South America and domestic 
methamphetamine production will increase to meet the demand for 
cocaine-like drugs.

The self-professed champions of the free market in the U.S. Congress are 
seemingly incapable of applying basic economic principles to drug policy. 
Rather than waste resources attempting to overcome immutable laws of supply 
and demand, policy-makers should look to the lessons learned from America's 
disastrous experiment with alcohol prohibition. Drug laws fuel crime and 
violence, which is then used to justify increased drug-war spending.

It's time to end this madness and start treating all substance abuse, legal 
or otherwise, as the public health problem it is.

Program Officer
The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation
Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Beth