Pubdate: Tue, 11 Apr 2000
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2000 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Contact:  200 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10281
Author: Robert Sharpe and Gerald M. Sutliff
Note: The WSJ, historically prohibitionist, here prints letters from two
oft-published letter writers. Together, Sharpe and Sutliff have 36 letters
in the 1999-2000 MAP archive at


Francis Fukuyama's March 28 editorial-page commentary "Colombia Deserves
U.S. Help," which voiced support for the proposed $1.57 billion military aid
package to Colombia, was misguided. Attempts to limit supply only increase
the profitability of drug trafficking, which in turn increases the levels of
violence and corruption. We're not doing the Colombian people any favors by
adding fuel to the fire.

Nor are we protecting children from drugs. Even if every last plant in
Colombia were killed by the toxic poisons that drug warriors spray, American
youth would continue to get high. As long as there is a demand, there will
be a supply. Cut off the flow of cocaine and domestic methamphetamine
production will boom. Thanks to past successes at eradicating marijuana in
Latin America, the corresponding increase in domestic cultivation has made
marijuana America's number one cash crop. Kids who cannot buy pot have been
known to use a host of deadly yet legal chemicals to get high. I find it
frustrating that the alleged champions of the free market in Congress cannot
understand how basic supply and demand dynamics make the drug war futile.

No amount of tax dollars spent eradicating plants in Colombia is going to
make the U.S. "drug-free." Nor will funding civil war in Colombia win the
drug war. For the same reasons that alcohol prohibition failed, the drug war
has been doomed from the start.

Robert Sharpe, Students for Sensible Drug Policy
George Washington University

* Mr. Fukuyama makes it clear, perhaps unintentionally, that our foreign
policy toward Columbia is a case of the tail waging the dog. Our precious,
albeit failed, War on Drugs is more important to us than the future of
Columbia. Replacing prohibition of cocaine and heroin with a sensible,
regulated market, thereby eradicating the obscene profits created by
prohibition, would restore some semblance of political balance between the
competing interests in Columbia. Ending prohibition would require a major
infusion of developmental funds to prevent economic collapse. Nevertheless
better that, and cheaper, too, than guns, helicopters and unending warfare.

Gerald M. Sutliff- Emeryville, Calif.
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MAP posted-by: Don Beck