DrugSense FOCUS Alert #183 September 11, 2000

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #183 September 11, 2000
Posted by FoM on September 11, 2000 at 20:42:00 PT
George Will Shows Hypocrisy Of Colombia Aid 
Source: MapInc.
The Colombian aid package, allegedly designed to hurt the cocaine trade in that nation, is so poorly planned that even traditional supporters of drug prohibition are speaking out against it. And, in doing so, they are being forced to confront the idiocy of the drug war itself. Several newspapers, including the Washington Post, published George Will's recent column about Colombia (see below). It seems that the hypocrisy is so great that Will even acknowledges the futility of the whole drug war in (to use a George Will-like phrase) an oblique manner. 
Of course, Will overlooks the fact that the rebels are not the only group in Colombia profiting from the cocaine trade, but this is still much better than anything he's written about drug policy in the past.Please write a letter to the Washington Post and other newspapers where the column appeared to offer kudos to Will for taking a step in the right direction, and to remind editors that the Colombian aid package is just one more outrage in the war on drugs. WRITE A LETTER TODAY It's not what others do it's what YOU do PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID (Letter, Phone, fax etc.) Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent letter list (sentlte if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer Your letter will then be forwarded to the list with so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our impact and effectiveness. CONTACT INFO: Source: Washington Post (DC) Contact: letters EXTRA CREDIT: US AZ: Column: U.S. Drug-War Policy Does Not Work URL: Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ) Contact: letters US NJ: Column: Futile Anti-Drug Efforts In Colombia URL: Source: Bergen Record (NJ) Contact: LettersToTheEditor US NY: Column: Colombia Policy Lacks Credibility URL: Source: Daily Gazette (NY) Contact: gazette US PA: Column: U.S.'s Colombia Policy 'Barren Of Historical URL: Source: Tribune Review (PA) Contact: letters US FL: Column: Peace Through Herbicides In Colombia URL: Source: Tampa Tribune (FL) Contact: tribletters US: Column: U.S. Drug Policy In Colombia Ignores The Lessons Of HistoryURL: Source: Columbia Daily Tribune (MO) Contact: cdteditor US NH: Column: Will the US Ever Learn From Mistakes? URL: Source: Union Leader (NH) Contact: TheUL ARTICLE URL: Newshawk: Doug Caddy Pubdate: Sun, 10 Sep 2000 Source: Washington Post (DC) Copyright: 2000 The Washington Post Company Contact: letters Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071 Feedback: Website: Author: George Will COLOMBIA ILLUSIONS President Clinton's assurances that the United States will not get involved in the Colombian civil war that the United States already is involved in (with military personnel, equipment, training, financing and intelligence) make sense if you think of the helicopters as farm implements. The 60 transport and attack helicopters, and most of the other elements in the recent $1.3 billion installment of U.S. aid, look warlike. However, the administration says the aid is essentially agricultural. It is all about controlling crops--particularly the coca fields that provide upward of 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches America. The law governing U.S. intervention includes this language: "The president shall ensure that if any helicopter procured with funds under this heading is used to aid or abet the operations of an illegal self-defense group or illegal security cooperative, then such helicopter shall be immediately returned to the United States." Imagine how reliably this will be enforced. Conceivably, important U.S. interests are involved in the Colombian government's fight with the more than 17,000-strong forces of Marxist insurgency in the civil war, now in its fourth decade, that has killed 35,000 people and displaced 2 million in the past 10 years. Political violence has killed 280,000 since the middle of the 19th century. Do makers of U.S. policy understand this long-simmering stew of class conflict, ideological war and ethnic vendettas? They advertise their policy as drug control through crop extermination. The president, delivering the money that will buy military equipment, said: "We have no military objective." And: "Our approach is both pro-peace and anti-drug." As though the civil war and the anti-narcotics campaign can be separated when the left-wing forces that control half the country are getting hundreds of millions of dollars a year by protecting and taxing coca fields. The U.S. policy--peace through herbicides--aims to neutralize the left-wing forces by impoverishing them. But already those forces are diversifying. The Wall Street Journal reports: "Armed with automatic rifles and personal computers, guerrillas often stop traffic, check motorists' bank records, then detain anyone whose family might be able to afford a lucrative ransom." There are an average of seven kidnappings a day, and the newspaper reports that every morning Colombia's largest radio network "links its 169 stations with its stations in Miami, New York, Panama and Paris. It opens its lines to relatives of kidnap victims who broadcast messages they hope will be heard by their missing loved ones." Speaking of diversification, does anyone doubt that, in the very unlikely event that Colombia is cleansed of the offensive crops, cultivation of them will be promptly increased elsewhere? Despite Colombia's efforts, coca cultivation increased 140 percent in the past five years, partly because the United States financed the reduction of Bolivia's coca crop. However, the pressure on Colombia's coca growers is "working": Some of them have planted crops (and the seeds of future conflicts) across the border in Peru. And guerrillas have made incursions into Panama and Ecuador for refuge. And the price of cocaine in the United States has plummeted for two decades. Will the United States ever learn? As long as it has a $50 billion annual demand for an easily smuggled substance made in poor nations, the demand will be served. An anecdote is apposite. A presidential adviser was fresh from persuading the French government to smash the "French connection" by which heroin destined for America was refined from Turkish opium in Marseilles. Boarding a helicopter to bring his glad tidings to President Nixon, the adviser, Pat Moynihan, who then still had Harvard's faith in government efficacy, found himself traveling with Labor Secretary George Shultz, embodiment of University of Chicago realism about powerful appetites creating markets despite governments' objections. When Moynihan (who tells this story) told Shultz about his achievement, this conversation ensued. Shultz, dryly: "Good." Moynihan: "No, really, this is a big event." Shultz, drier still: "Good." Moynihan: "I suppose you think that so long as there is a demand for drugs, there will continue to be a supply." Shultz: "You know, there's hope for you yet." That is more than can be confidently said for U.S. policy in Colombia, which seems barren of historical sense. "The enduring achievement of historical study," said British historian Sir Lewis Namier, "is a historical sense--and intuitive understanding--of how things do not work." Such a sense should produce policy. Instead, the most that can be hoped is that U.S. policy in Colombia may, painfully and tardily, produce such sense. SAMPLE LETTER To the editor of the Washington Post: I was glad to see George Will expose another absurd layer of military aid for Colombia ("Colombia Illusions," Sept. 10). The aid package is allegedly being sent in order to address drug trafficking in Colombia. Of course military aid will not impact the cocaine trade. If anything, as Will noted, it will help to spread the trade throughout South America. The cocaine industry is just a pretext for the use of increased force against rebel forces in the country. A real effort to address the problems in Colombia would automatically exclude an escalation of the drug war. By enriching all sides of the conflict, drug prohibition only helps to stoke the violence. As long as there is a war on drugs, there will be a war in Colombia. And after the drug war is over, there still may be war in Colombia. But at least then all sides of the conflict can address the real issues over which they fight - without having to play artificial anti-drug games refereed by disingenuous policy makers in Washington. Stephen Young990 Borden DriveRoselle, IL 60172(630) 539-4486 IMPORTANT: Always include your address and telephone number Please note: If you choose to use this letter as a model please modify it at least somewhat so that the paper does not receive numerous copies of the same letter and so that the original author receives credit for his/her work. ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts 3 Tips for Letter Writers: Letter Writers Style Guide:  TO SUBSCRIBE, DONATE, VOLUNTEER TO HELP, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL SEE: TO UNSUBSCRIBE SEE: Prepared by Stephen Young Focus Alert Specialist Focus Alert Archive:   Media Awareness ProjectPorterville, CA 93258(800) 266-5759 Contact: Mark Greer (mgreer Webmaster: Matt Elrod (webmaster DrugSense FOCUS Alert #183 Monday September 11, 2000 MapInc. Archives:
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