U.S. Drug Czar Brings Message to Savannah 

U.S. Drug Czar Brings Message to Savannah 
Posted by FoM on February 12, 2000 at 19:40:33 PT
By Noelle Phillips, Savannah Morning News 
Source: Savannah Morning News
A war hero returned to Savannah on Friday.This time, Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey wore a business suit, not desert fatigues. He didn't come to relive glory days on Middle Eastern battlefields. He came to talk about the campaign against drugs.
"The message is a simple one," McCaffrey said. "We've got a strategy. We've got a lot of resources."The resources: A $17.8 billion budget.Barry McCaffrey:Title: Office of National Drug Control Policy director; member of the White House cabinet.Military background: Retired general last served as commander-in-chief of U.S. Armed Forces Southern Command. He led the 24th Infantry Division during Operation Desert Storm on a 187-mile sweep through Saudi Arabia and Iraq. McCaffrey also saw combat action in Vietnam and Dominican Republic. At retirement, McCaffrey was the most decorated and youngest four-star general in the Army.Education: U.S. Military Academy graduate; master's degree from American University.Family: Wife, Jill McCaffrey, serves as National Chairman for the Armed Forces Emergency Services of the American Red Cross and is a member of the Board of Directors for Knollwood-The Army Distaff Hall. They have three married children. The strategy: A national advertising campaign that focuses on minority communities and a plan to increase prevention and treatment for addictions.Senators Concerned Over Anti-Drug Ad Deal goal: To lower the nation's drug-use rate so less than 3 percent of the population takes drugs.McCaffrey stopped in the Coastal Empire on Friday to talk to community leaders about the country's anti-drug effort and to tour the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick. Today, he'll speak about fighting drug abuse in minority communities during the Liberty County Freedom Fund awards banquet.As McCaffrey talks about the fight against drug abuse, he rattles off statistics like a machine gun blasting bullets: 521,000 deaths and $110 billion in damages attributed to drug abuse each year; $5.7 billion spent on illegal drugs in the United States; cocaine users dropping from 6 million in 1985 to 1.7 million in 1999.Although he graduated from West Point and retired as a general, McCaffrey doesn't like calling his job a "war on drugs." War, he said, sets a goal of total victory through surprise and violence. It identifies an enemy. U.S. Czar: Drug War is No Real War doesn't see the anti-drug efforts aimed at enemies. He wants them aimed toward children and parents as the nation concentrates on prevention and addiction treatment."We're not going to reach that total victory," McCaffrey said.But McCaffrey knows about victory from another part of his life. The Coastal Empire remembers him as the hero of Operation Desert Storm.He commanded the 24th Infantry Division when 26,000 troops deployed to Saudi Arabia in August 1990 as part of the U.S. troop buildup in the Persian Gulf.In January 1991, Operation Desert Storm began, and the 24th Division started its march into Iraq. By Feb. 24, the ground war started with the 24th moving toward the Euphrates River Valley to block the Iraqi escape route during the four-day ground war. The 24th became known as the "tip of the spear" in the allied attack, and the troops returned as heroes that spring to the Coastal Empire.After the Gulf War, McCaffrey stayed in the Army to earn two more general's stars. He accepted them as the U.S. drug czar in February 1996."I have enormously good memories from the people here who supported the division when we deployed for war," McCaffrey said.Military reporter Noelle Phillips can be reached at 652-0366 or by e-mail at phillips February 12, 2000 Savannah Morning News. Related Articles on Barry McCaffrey:
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