Pubdate: Mon, 18 Oct 1999
Date: 10/18/1999
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Author: David Carter

To the editor:

Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey's column ("Dangerous drug smokescreen,"Commentary,Oct.7)
seems to confuse fact and fiction.

He is fond of describing his intellectual opponents' political
positions with such words as "smokescreen," "subterfuge" and
"concealing," which all suggest deceit. Drug policy reform groups,
such as the Lindesmith Center and the Drug Policy Foundation, are open
and forthright about the ideas they espouse. No one is hiding anything
here, with the possible exception of Gen. McCaffrey, who has a vested
interest in the drug war.

I find it disturbing that a man whose profession once was waging war
is now unable to recognize a war when he sees it and wages it. Yes,
the drug war is a war, fought with armed soldiers (we call them
police) and aimed at killing people -- people such as Mario Paz, a
California grandfather killed in an August drug raid that turned up no
drugs at all. Nor have law-enforcement authorities been able to link
him and his family to drugs since. Gen. McCaffrey's Office of National
Drug Control Policy considers these deaths collateral damage  but as
in all wars, some innocents must die.

Vietnam has come home. Gen. McCaffrey's agency would rather destroy
the drug user before he can do it himself. The most dangerous thing
going on today is not groups' discussing different drug policy
approaches, it is a drug czar who is afraid to discuss ending a bad

Houston TX