Source: Washington Times (Weekly Edition)
Contact:  202-832-8285
Pubdate: May 18-24, 1998


They say it's never to late to say you're sorry, but I think that depends
on the personal (and public) price paid for the transgression in question.
The "war on drugs" has cost far too much both to the "criminals" who've
paid with their lives, their liberty, and their forfeited property and to
the American people who've paid with their tax dollars, their loss of
privacy and their liberty.

The war on drugs is absolutely no more legitimate than a war on alcohol
would have been without the 18th Amendment-later repealed-because:

a)The masses generally ignored it because they liked to drink and didn't
consider it a crime.

b) Prohibition had given birth to massive criminal enterprises, well
organized and on a scale such as had never been seen before in a free
America, complete with black markets, widespread police and political
corruption, violent gangs, bigger government, and the first drive-by

Recently, Newt Gingrich and other politicians have been rattling their
sabers and talking about ratcheting up the drug war, likening it to World
War II, and constantly invoking the "save the children" mantra. They've
even jumped on the tired old lapel ribbon bandwagon (blue this time).

I have no problem with the ribbon idea-a bit stale, maybe, but at least
it's voluntary. What I cannot tolerate are those who swear an oath to
protect and defend our way of life, and then turn to unconstitutional
legislation or executive fiat to "send a message."

We don't need messages, we need our Founding Principles back. How much more
money and freedom are we willing to lose? How much more government
intrusion and unaccountability will we put up with? We should know by now
that to stay in power government needs an enemy. What's next after drugs,
when we have a full-blown police state? Tobacco? Guns? It has to be

No, Prohibition in the '20's didn't work. The law of unintended
consequences carried the day. But at least it was constitutional.

Michael A. Feldman Shelby Township, Michigan

- ---
Checked-by:  (Joel W. Johnson)