Pubdate: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 Date: 08/17/1999 Source: Christian Science Monitor (US) Author: Paul Wolf Related: Additional articles on Latin America are available at http://www.mapinc.org/latin.htm Regarding "Drugs pulling United States into Colombia's war" (July 27), it is unfair to blame Colombia for the supply of cocaine and heroin in the US. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, in 1998, 130,000 acres of coca were grown in Peru, 97,000 acres in Bolivia, and 200,000 acres in Colombia. But the US in 1999 gave $289 million in military aid to Colombia, while giving only $17 million to Bolivia, and $1 million in alternative development aid for Peru. Almost all of the aid to Colombia was in the form of Black Hawk helicopters and other heavy weapons. The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that Colombia produces only 1.5 percent of the world's opium poppies, which are used to make heroin. Is this really an emergency? Drug czar Barry McCaffrey's proposal to send Colombia another billion dollars to fight drugs simply doesn't make sense. Ronald Reagan first coined the term "narco-guerrilla" to justify US support for the contras in Nicaragua. Later, in what became known as the "Iran-contra affair," we heard that the US was supplying weapons to the contras in exchange for cocaine. We should not arm the Colombian military, which has proven to be one of most brutal and corrupt organizations in the world. Paul Wolf Apex, N.C.