Pubdate: Sun, 24 Nov 2002
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2002 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Ginger Warbis


In the editorial "The terrorist connection" (Nov. 18), you state, "the 
alleged drugs-for-arms scheme failed. But how many succeed?"

The only case that springs to mind is that of Ollie North and John 
Poindexter. How many others succeed as well is just about anyone's guess.

The question is what to do about it. Nixon declared war on drugs in the 
early '70s. Next came Reagan, who renewed the war effort. Then Gen. Barry 
McCaffrey joined the battle, and asked for more money.

In that time, drug use has remained relatively constant. The combined 
local, state and federal drug-war budget is roughly $40 billion per year.

And now comes John Walters, who promises to cut drug use in America 10 
percent in two years and 25 percent in five - if only we can give him a few 
billion more.

In short, we have accomplished exactly nothing except to ensure a tight 
monopoly on $400 billion per year in international trade in illicit drugs.

If you really want to end this reign of terror, and are interested in 
hurting organized crime, there's one sure way. Make it compete with legal 

Al Capone, for all of his brilliance, brutality and raw ambition, couldn't 
stand against that.

Ginger Warbis

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