Pubdate: Mon, 30 Aug 1999
Date: 08/30/1999
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Author: David Temianka

I am astonished at the abundance of not-so-common sense propounded by
strangest of bedfellows Arianna Huffington ("This Is Two-Tiered
Justice") and Robert Scheer ('A Whole Lot of Us Need to Come Clean")
on your Aug. 24 Commentary page. Our present system of zero tolerance
"justice" on the issue of drugs makes learning from one's mistakes
impossible, punishes honesty and precludes second chances.

Until we recognize substance abuse of any kind--legal or illegal--as
being a fundamentally medical issue and not a criminal concept, we
will continue to pay the price by jailing an ever-increasing
percentage of the populace and by keeping ourselves in the dark closet
of ignorance. Presidential hopeful George W. Bush would do well to
learn something from President Clinton's obvious mistakes of the past,
namely, to own up to his own past behaviors and speak truthfully of
whatever lessons he may have learned.

But by following the path he is on, including foolish denials,
evasions and half-truths, he forfeits whatever higher moral ground he
claims on the issue of alcohol and drugs.

That he is incapable of telling the truth tells us a

David Temianka
Los Angeles