Transcript's Keith Stroup Vs DEA Hutchinson

Transcript's Keith Stroup Vs DEA Hutchinson
Posted by FoM on February 05, 2002 at 14:43:38 PT
Partial Transcript of CNN's Crossfire
When we return, is your teenager funding international terrorism? If he does drugs, yes. That's the new message from the federal government broadcast in Super Bowl ads last night. Is it fair? We'll ask the head of the DEA. Back in a moment.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I help blow up buildings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My life, my body. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not like I was hurting anybody else. (END VIDEO CLIP)CARLSON: That's what tens of millions of football watchers saw last night when the Super Bowl went to a commercial break, new ads produced by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. It cost $3.5 million to run.It's implication is clear. If you do drugs, you're supporting terrorism. It's a message sure to resonate with a nation fighting terror at home and abroad. But is it accurate? Are low level users really funding the bin Ladens of the world? Or is the message merely heavy handed propaganda?A smoking debate tonight. Joining us, Asa Hutchinson, head of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration and Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -- Bill Press. PRESS: Keith Stroup, I know you know I'm no fan of the war on drugs. But let me talk to you about this ad. If your goal is to reach the largest possible audience, particularly to reach young people and others who might be customers or potential buyers of drugs, you want to get out a tough message. You want to get the most bang for your buck, right, in television.Now other than advertising on CROSSFIRE, of course, wouldn't you say that the Super Bowl is a place to spend your money and this was money well spent? KEVIN STROUP, NORML FOUNDATION: If it were true, if it were a campaign based on facts and science, I might agree with you. But in fact, I think it was a colossal waste of taxpayer money. Is there anyone who truly believes that illicit drug use patterns in this country are affected even in the slightest way by government propaganda?If they were, frankly, after 65 years of reform ads of this government propaganda, there wouldn't be any marijuana smokers left. And think for a second what we could have used that money for to pay Headstart programs or textbooks or women who need prenatal care.Secondly it is absolutely inaccurate, considering 65 percent or two out of three of all illicit drug users in this country are simply marijuana smokers. Well, marijuana is primarily grown in the United States. It's homegrown. And that that is imported comes from Canada, from Mexico and from Jamaica. Those are not terrorist countries, Bill. PRESS: But I think you missed the entire point of the ads, which was that the connection between drug money and terrorism. You know, the Justice Department has said that 14 of the 28 organizations identified as terrorist organizations, which are active in this country, are funded by illegal drug sales. So you may not know it, but when you're buying the joint, aren't you in fact perhaps supporting a terrorist organization?That was the message. Speak to that. STROUP: But that is my point. That is an inaccurate premise. When you buy marijuana, you are either supporting someone who grows it in this country or in Canada or Mexico or maybe Jamaica. Those are not terrorist supporting countries.It's as if you blame beer drinkers during the 1920's for the violence associated with Al Capone. It is -- this campaign is really an attempt to demonize drug users. And they do it by trying to piggyback an unpopular program, the war on drugs. 74 percent of the American public say it's a failure. They're trying to piggyback it on a more popular program. And in so doing, they are in fact demonizing drug users. So they don't have -- real quickly, so they don't have to justify whether these laws do more harm than good. CARLSON: OK, now director Hutchinson, I'm not for legalization. But I have to say I think these spots are a waste of $3.5 million. So you know, you're the average 11th grade dope smoker. And you see this on television. And you think, they've told me that drugs fry my brain. They told me that, you know, drugs are bad for my health, that drugs are bad for America. Now they're saying that drugs help terrorism. It's going to be laughed right off the set. They're not going to take this seriously, your target audience. ASA HUTCHINSON, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATOR: Well, I think the fact that we're here debating this issue shows that the ads work. The whole design of an ad during a Super Bowl campaign is to provoke and debate in America. Here, certainly, the ads were factual because it said that using drugs might support terrorism.Secondly, they're provocative, create a debate. If it causes one parent and one teen to have a discussion about drug use, then I think it's certainly worth it. Obviously the ads are the beginning of a campaign that John Walters, OMDCP, is putting forth. It's going to have more ads, more debate on this.We had a symposium at the DEA, talking about the historic link between terrorism and drugs. And that linkage is clear from history. It is very, very current. And America understands that. And it could be a helpful means for parents to show the risk, to discourage drug use.CARLSON: Now I -- you know, this is no slur on John Walters, a terrific guy, very smart, very capable person. But the ad itself is ludicrously overdrawn. And I hope you'll agree. Look, if I said everybody who buys goods made in China, and virtually everyone buys goods made in China, is responsible for the totalitarianism in China, or for slave labor, or for their policies towards inmates, you would say well that's not fair. The average consumer isn't responsible for those policies. The Chinese are.Terrorists are responsible for terrorism. Dope smokers are responsible for smoking dope. HUTCHINSON: Terrorists are responsible for terrorism. But at the same time, we have to look at where they get their money. We don't speak in absolutist terms. The ad refers to might support terrorism. The whole idea is to cause a young person or anyone who uses drugs, to think, think about not only the damage to yourself, the fact that it's illegal, the consequences of it, but also the linkages.Whether you talk about the Middle East, Colombia with the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), whether you're talking about southeast Asia, you are looking at historic links with terrorism. And in fact, the 20 some groups on the State Department's terrorist organization list, almost half of them are linkages to drug use. So it's something we have to think about. PRESS: Well, let's get into this war on drugs here. Keith, I want to get you back in just a second. I got to turn to the director here, because I'm really glad you're in the position you are. Because I know what a conservative you are. And I know as a conservative, you're opposed to great big, bloated government programs that cost a lot of money and don't work.Asa Hutchinson, we've been at this drug wear since 1980. And Nancy Reagan said, "Just say no." We spend billions and billions of dollars on it. The same amount of drugs are coming into this country. People are still using them. There are new drugs on the market. Big articles in the papers about it this weekend. Are you ready as a conservative to say here it is. One, big bloated government program, cost a lot of money, doesn't work, pull the plug, make history. HUTCHINSON: Let me it answer it this way with the survey on household drug use. PRESS: 74 percent say it doesn't work. HUTCHINSON: In the last 15 years, there's 9.3 million fewer regular monthly drug users. That's 9.3 million fewer users. And so, that's the facts. Those are the facts. Certainly we need to make more progress in this. But if we can reduce drug use by 9.3 million overall, cocaine use in last 15 years by 75 percent, we're making enormous progress. And a lot of it comes because of the ad campaign that Congress is funding $192 -- $180 million dollars this year. And we get young people where they listen. CARLSON: Now Keith Stroup, let me just ask you. There's a connection between terrorism and drugs. And at least one, and it's come about this way. With all the attention on American borders, it turns out a lot more drugs are turning up. In the last -- between October and December, twice the amount of cocaine was seized at the U.S.-Mexican border as the year before. That's a good thing, isn't it? STROUP: Well, no, I would not say it's a good thing. I think... CARLSON: The cocaine should have come in the United States? STROUP: I think drug prohibition is a failed public policy, regardless of how many Super Bowl ads Mr. Hutchinson... CARLSON: But was it a good idea to seize the cocaine or should it have gone through? STROUP: It's fine to seize the drugs. The mistake is to treat the drug users as criminals. They are not. If in fact they have a problem, it's a medical problem. We need to provide help.Prohibition wastes an enormous amount of law enforcement resources that should be focused on serious and violent crime. It invites government into areas of our private lives that totally inappropriate.And number three, it's sadly destroys the lives and careers of literally hundreds of thousands of genuinely good citizens every year in this country for no good reason. PRESS: Gentlemen, the drug war may not be over, but it's over now at least for this part of the show. Keith Stroup, thank you for joining us. Sorry we're out of time. Congressman, I still want to call you Asa Hutchinson.HUTCHINSON: Thank you.PRESS: Good to have you back on CROSSFIRE. And next, shifting gears. Do you realize you're getting fat? And you're paying for it? When we come back, Tucker and I are going to tell you all about the fat in the president's new budget. Get ready to pork out.THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. Note: Transcript's posted are only of Keith Stroup Vs Asa Hutchinson.Source: CNN (US) - TranscriptsAired: February 4, 2002 - 19:30  ET Copyright: 2002 Cable News Network, Inc.Website: cnn.comNewshawk: Nicholas Thimmesch IICommunications DirectorWeb Site: http://www.norml.orgContact: normlmedia earthlink.netRelated Articles:White House Anti-Drug Ads Super Bowloney Media Blitz Plays on Terror Fear Pitch in Anti-Drug Ads: Anti-Terrorism
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Comment #6 posted by Mr X on February 06, 2002 at 00:12:30 PT
"Asa Hutchinson, we've been at this drug wear since 1980."Since 1980? In my opinion a war was declared on marijuana as soon as it was made illegal in the 20's. There were still thousands who were killed by the police before the "official war on drugs" mind-control ad campaign.Thats 8+ decades of unsucsessful prohibition. 
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Comment #5 posted by lookinside on February 05, 2002 at 19:54:07 PT:
You make a great point about tobacco related deaths!We happened to see this when it was aired...I wish Mr. Stroup could get more air time...He's an excellent spokesman for legalization.. Given 20 minutes, uninterrupted during the evening news, I believe he could make an extremely convincing case for ending the WOsD...My wife phoned NORML's office during our legal troubles and Mr. Stroup answered the phone...He was very helpful and patient. He stayed on the phone for about 30 minutes. 
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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on February 05, 2002 at 17:00:43 PT
Tucker Carlson: I'm not for legalization.Apparently, he buys the argument more than an 11th grader does.
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Comment #3 posted by Jose Melendez on February 05, 2002 at 16:45:10 PT:
So you know, you're the average 11th grade dope smoker. And you see this on television. And you think, they've told me that drugs fry my brain. They told me that, you know, drugs are bad for my health, that drugs are bad for America. Now they're saying that drugs help terrorism. It's going to be laughed right off the set.I think the speaker is referring to what kids are thinking: that they have been lied to about drugs and health (again, compare legal with illicit drug health effects... the numbers for legal substances are exponentially greater) and that these commercials are just another tangle in the web of deceipt that is called drug war.
Arrest Prohibition
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Comment #2 posted by goneposthole on February 05, 2002 at 16:06:33 PT
Tucker Carlson
"Drugs are bad for my health."Then why, pray tell, are the pharmaceutical companies allowed to sell any kind of chemical concoction they can think of, calling them medications for ailments and illnesses, and advertise on television? If you listen to what the side effects are, you know they are not especially good for anybody. I have posted the same comment. Money talks and ____ walks. (fill in the blank) Word of the day: Hypocrite.Word for the wise: Ignoramus.
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Comment #1 posted by Jose Melendez on February 05, 2002 at 15:41:07 PT:
declare drug peace
In the last 15 years, there's 9.3 million fewer regular monthly drug users. That's 9.3 million fewer users. 
In that same time frame, we lost 6 million cigarette smokers - to death*. The 9.3 million fewer users were able to decide to quit if they so chose. Thetruth is the 6 million* were unable to quit smoking cigarettes to the point where they died. Yes, it is time for a country-wide debate on drug use, but relative harm must be addressed. 
For example how much money from drugs was spent on the Sept. 11th operation? Now compare that number to the 43 million U.S. dollars (or was it $47 million?) given to the Taliban to keep opium illegal. We all know that drove up the profitability of the stockpiled opium, so the fact is that drug war funded terrorism, period. If drugs were cheap and legal terrorists would resort to other illicit ways to raise funds, like white collar criminals.* (conservatively, some estimates are that 420000 US smokers die annually which would be 6.3 million deaths as opposed to 9.3 million drug users that no longer consider themselves "regular monthly drug users" when cornered by some "survey on household drug use")
Arrest Prohibition - Drug War is TREASON
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