Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 10:08:53 -0700
From:  (MAPNews)
To:  MN: US CA: 3 PUB LTE: Bush's Choice Of Walters As Drug Czar
Pubdate: Sun, 20 May 2001
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Times
Author: Richard L. Root, Keith Sanders, Mary K. Landry


Re "Baffling Drug Czar Choice," May 15: President Bush, in nominating
hard-line conservative John P. Walters to head the Office of National
Drug Control Policy, tells how he will redirect drug war policy with
emphasis toward curbing demand. He mentions increases in treatment,
which would certainly seem to be a step toward curbing demand. But
let's not neglect reality. The addict takes up a small percentage of
the prohibited drugs consumed in this nation. Most prohibited drug use
is recreational, without discernible effect on society, certainly
significantly less than the legal counterpart, alcohol. What does
treatment do for a recreational user, that is, a non-abuser.

Treatment may be the compassionate catchword, but the reality is that
there will be more SWAT raids, more asset forfeiture, more
incarceration and more lives of peaceful people shattered due to the
prohibition of drugs than from the use of prohibited drugs. Do we
really need a police state, or is prohibition just an excuse for one.

Richard L. Root


Doesn't Walters get it. Drug prohibition is itself the greatest
current threat to democratic institutions around the world. Where does
he suppose racial profiling, asset forfeiture, no-knock raids and our
world-record incarceration rate come from. What does he think is
driving the gang warfare that is tearing our inner cities apart. What
does he suppose is the source of the money that corrupts government
after government in Latin America, Southeast Asia and beyond.

For a man who is supposed to become one of the leading architects of
American drug policy, Walters doesn't seem to know much about the drug

Keith Sanders


As you correctly point out, it originally appeared that Bush's
instincts regarding America's drug problems were thoughtful, moderate
and enlightened, until the bizarre appointment of Walters. I
grudgingly concede after these first few months that perhaps Bush does
indeed personally embrace "compassionate conservatism" and has several
workable and useful ideas. But Walters' appointment joins a growing
list of baffling appointments, surprising areas of budget cuts and
confusing policy proposals that have contradicted Bush's own musings
and statements. The comments and positions of his Cabinet members also
seem often and oddly contrary to those of Bush.

While the press and public archly and facetiously have suggested that
perhaps Bush is not "really" the one in charge, with a growing
uneasiness I suggest it may not be too soon to seriously consider that
premise. Perhaps he is benignly delegating too much and not minding
the store as closely as he should, or perhaps it's not a joke that
others really are pulling the strings. Beyond humor and sarcasm, it is
time for the press to legitimately examine and question this strange

Mary K. Landry

Tempe, Ariz.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager