Pubdate: Sat, 01 Dec 2001
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2001 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Author: Stephen V. Watson


I am writing regarding the Neal Peirce column, "Call off the war on drugs," 
which appeared recently in the Herald-Tribune. I roundly applaud your 
newspaper for the courage to print an essay calling for an end to the 
so-called "drug war."

Peirce warns, "until we flip our drug policy, putting prevention and 
treatment first - we'll have neither the resources nor the focus to pursue 
the very real terrorist threat we face." I agree!

Americans awoke to see what was important in their lives after the horrible 
massacre of Sept. 11. We have seen the enemy! It is an enemy that requires 
all our resources and efforts to defeat it.

Wars cost lots of money. The so-called "drug war" costs lots of money. It 
uses thousands and thousands of police and military, with federal and state 
bureaucrats all over the country running it. It uses federal and state 
courts, judges, and prosecutors. It uses federal and state jails and 
prisons and guards.

Our drug war gobbles up money like a tapeworm; year after year after year. 
We have the highest prison population in the world and things are no 
different than they were before.

This "drug war" of ours is made up. It is a phony and spineless war. It is 
a war against our fellow citizens, our co-workers, our family, and our 
friends. These people are not the enemy. If a drug user committs a real 
crime, lock him up, convict him if you can, and punish him. Don't do this 
because he/she uses or possesses drugs. Where is the morality in taking 
away a person's freedom and good name because he/she uses drugs?

This "war" of ours is called the "drug war" for impact. The word "war" is 
calculated to give this thing of ours urgency and importance. If we didn't 
call it a "war" we might see it for what it is.

We need to be rational about this. We need to step out of the dark and into 
the light.

Stephen V. Watson
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