Pubdate: Wed, 05 Sep 2001
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2001 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Author: Robert Sharpe


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In his recent column, John Hall suggests that Plan Colombia is beginning to 
look more like a Cold War-era counterinsurgency effort than a sincere 
attempt at eradicating drugs. A cost-benefit analysis of U.S. anti-drug aid 
to Colombia is long overdue. The $1.3 billion Plan Colombia could very well 
spread both coca production and civil war throughout the region. Communist 
guerrilla movements do not originate in a vacuum. U.S. tax dollars would be 
better spent addressing the socio-economic causes of civil strife rather 
than applying overwhelming military force to attack the symptoms.

We're not doing the Colombian people any favors by funding civil war. Nor 
are Americans being protected from drugs. Destroy the Colombian coca crop 
and production will boom in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Destroy every last 
plant in South America and domestic methamphetamine production will 
increase to meet the demand for cocaine-like drugs. The self-professed 
champions of the free market in Congress are seemingly incapable of 
applying basic economic principles to drug policy.

Instead of wasting billions waging a futile drug war abroad, we should be 
funding cost-effective treatment here at home.

Robert Sharpe, Washington, D.C.
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