Pubdate: Tue, 29 May 2001
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2001 The Dallas Morning News
Contact:  http://www.dallasnews.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/117
Author: Jimmy Green

DRUG WAR ORPHANS JUST COLLATERAL DAMAGE?

President Bush recently nominated John Walters as chief of the White House 
Office of National Drug Control Policy. Mr. Walters has made the statement 
that "strict law enforcement is essential to keep users off the streets and 
to shame them into seeking treatment."

Mr. Walters has also defended the records of former Presidents Reagan and 
Bush, saying their advances in the drug fight were reversed by what Mr. 
Walters has called the Clinton administration's "halfhearted" efforts in 
the war on drugs.

I'm not sure what his definition of "halfhearted efforts" is. Perhaps Mr. 
Walters thinks more citizens should have been incarcerated? The United 
States now leads the world at incarcerating its citizens, passing the 2 
million mark thanks in part to mandatory sentencing drug laws that targeted 
first-time nonviolent drug offenders. Maybe Mr. Walters thinks there should 
have been more no-knock home invasions (drug raids).

One can only guess what our new drug czar has in store to demonstrate what 
a "wholehearted" effort might look like.

Locking up more citizens to shame them into seeking treatment sounds like a 
modern-day witch hunt. Locking up more people will create more drug war 
orphans  at last count there were roughly 2.5 million kids with one or 
both parents locked up in a county, state or federal facility.

Maybe President Bush did not have these children in mind when he said, "No 
child will be left behind." I guess these kids are just "collateral damage" 
on the war on some drugs.

JIMMY GREEN, Houston 
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