Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jan 2001
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2001 News World Communications, Inc.
Contact:  202-832-8285
Author: Timothy Lynch


Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey pats himself on the back for waging a successful 
war on drugs in the past five years ("Departing drug czar cites progress, 
says more to be done," Jan. 5). Like most bureaucrats, he measures his 
"effectiveness" by the amount of money he spends. That is why Gen. 
McCaffrey touts the fact that federal spending on drug programs has 
increased 55 percent in recent years.

Gen. McCaffrey has been urging President-elect George W. Bush to "stay the 
course" with the federal drug war, but Mr. Bush should pause to consider 
where we are going.

Federal prosecutors are threatening doctors in California for simply 
discussing the pros and cons of using marijuana for medicinal purposes. The 
drug czar's office is reviewing the scripts of our TV shows for politically 
incorrect comments. Drug enforcement agents are using forfeiture laws to 
seize the homes and cars of people who have not been convicted of any 
crime. Our military personnel are getting killed in the jungles of Colombia 
in a futile attempt to stop coca production.

Gen. McCaffrey also does not mention his setbacks at the ballot box, where 
voters have opted repeatedly for drug treatment instead of criminalization 
and militarization.

Even President Clinton has criticized the general's position that marijuana 
users should be punished criminally. Against that backdrop, it is 
understandable why Gen. McCaffrey would want to declare "victory" and leave 

Timothy Lynch, Director, Project on Criminal Justice,, Cato Institute, Washington
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