Pubdate: Mon, 16 Sep 2002
Source: Waco Tribune-Herald (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Waco-Tribune Herald
Author: Paul Monies


The Baylor University community welcomed Asa Hutchinson to campus Monday as
he gave the inaugural lecture of the Public Leadership Series on the
nation's drug policy.

But it wasn't the Arkansas native's first association with the university.

The current head of the Drug Enforcement Administration was a defense
attorney in 1996 for an assistant basketball coach convicted for his role in
an academic fraud scandal. Then-coach Darrel Johnson was acquitted, but the
jury did not spare three assistant coaches, including Hutchinson's client,
Troy Drummond.

"It's good to be back," Hutchinson said in an interview before addressing a
packed Barfield Drawing Room at the university's Bill Daniel Student Center.
"I spent a whole two weeks out here for that trial and it's good to back
under different circumstances because Waco is an all-American community."

Though he served as a U.S. attorney in western Arkansas and was a two-term
congressman from the state, Hutchinson is still recognized for his role as
one of the House managers in the impeachment trial of former President Bill
Clinton. President Bush selected him to head the DEA in May 2001.

Hutchinson said he was proud of his role in the impeachment process.

"I have no regrets in terms of the direction we took and the decision we
made," he said. "I think I helped our country get through a very difficult
time and that's what public service is about."

In his speech, Hutchinson addressed drug enforcement efforts at home and in
countries such as Colombia, Afghanistan and Mexico. He said the war on drugs
needs a balanced approach, including enforcement, education and treatment.

Hutchinson touched on the current war on terrorism and its parallels with
the war on drugs. He said increased enforcement of the nation's borders in
the wake of Sept. 11 also has benefited authorities in the fight against

"It has to be an ongoing struggle," he said of both wars. "But we also have
to share intelligence and build cooperation."

Hutchinson cited statistics that attacked several myths used by detractors
who say the war on drugs isn't working, including the argument that
marijuana is not harmful. He also dismissed assertions that only users of
drugs, not traffickers, are locked up in federal prisons and there are no
new ideas in the fight against drugs.

"You win by not retreating," he concluded, alluding to remarks made by Col.
William Barrett Travis at the Alamo. "We shall not surrender. We shall not
give in."

A spirited question-and-answer session followed his remarks, with students
asking questions ranging from the legal and medical classification of
marijuana to the impact of proposed laws on the promoters of raves, the
all-night dance parties where authorities are cracking down on Ecstacy use.
Hutchinson even admitted to attending a rave.

"There's nothing wrong with techno music. My son likes techno music and it
might be surprising for you to hear I went to a rave last Friday," he told
the audience. "It was hard when it started at 1 in the morning, but I was
there to observe."
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