Pubdate: Tue, 19 Oct 1999
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register
Author: David M.Stevens


"What next in the Colombia drug war," [Opinion, Oct. 12] hits the
bull's eye in defining the fruitless and relentless war between
growers and the Colombian government. Forty years of increasing
encroachment by the industry have created an almost irreversible
division of the country. The suggested approach of sending in
privately funded experts in law and economics to help set up "a stable
rule-of-law system" seems to have as many pitfalls in it as the
conduct of the war.

Unfortunately, the problem is caused by the demand for cocaine in the
United States. Our sending of military equipment and specialists
reflects our unwillingness to accept drug abuse as a problem that we
have failed to attack at home.

If people were made fully accountable for their actions, users were
offered withdrawal programs, and criminal actions could no longer be
excused by reason of cocaine influence, the cocaine problem would
reduce to a fraction of its present size.

David M. Stevens
Mission Viejo
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