Tough Conservative Picked for Drug Czar

Tough Conservative Picked for Drug Czar
Posted by FoM on April 26, 2001 at 06:42:21 PT
By Christopher Marquis
Source: New York Times
President Bush plans to name John P. Walters, a law-and-order conservative who was harshly critical of the Clinton administration's efforts against illegal narcotics, as the drug czar, Bush administration officials said today.Mr. Walters, who was the top deputy to William J. Bennett, the drug czar in the last Bush administration, shares Mr. Bennett's emphasis on publicly stigmatizing drugs at home while mobilizing considerable resources — including the American military — against narcotics producers abroad.
Mr. Walters favors severe prison sentences for violent felons, marijuana smugglers and repeat offenders, but he views first-time drug users more leniently. He criticized a recommendation by the United States Sentencing Commission in 1995 to reduce sentences for dealers of crack cocaine significantly.The nomination, which officials said is imminent, comes as the Bush administration struggles to maintain cooperation with important drug- producing allies in Latin America.The United States this week suspended intelligence-sharing with the Peruvian air force pending an inquiry into Peru's downing of an unarmed plane carrying a family of American missionaries. Administration officials, moreover, are seeking to win the support of other South American nations that have voiced concerns about American-backed military buildup in Colombia.If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Walters will succeed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired general who sought to reduce the level of confrontation with drug-exporting nations and spearheaded a national advertising campaign aimed at convincing American youth that drugs ruin lives.As the new chief at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Mr. Walters, 49, would oversee a staff of more than 150 and a budget that — including grant programs — amounts to nearly a half- billion dollars, officials said. An important job of the drug czar is to scrutinize the antinarcotics programs of federal agencies and sign off on their budgets.President Bush has not decided whether to make the drug czar a cabinet level appointment, officials said, though several Republican lawmakers have urged the president to maintain the visibility of the position with cabinet ranking, a status General McCaffrey had.Before settling on Mr. Walters, the White House had considered several candidates, including Bill McCollum, a former Florida representative; Jim McDonough, the Florida drug czar; and Rick Romley, an Arizona district attorney, the lawmakers said.Mr. Walters' background as a chief of enforcement and supply reduction in the last Bush administration has raised the concerns of some that he will not focus enough on treatment and prevention."Some of his positions in my own view need to be carefully considered by the confirmation committee," General McCaffrey said in an interview today. "I am hopeful to maintain a commitment to the bipartisan support for treatment programs."General McCaffrey, who said he has researched Mr. Walters' views, complained that Mr. Walters had voiced a concern "that there is too much treatment capacity in the United States, which I found shocking."Mr. Walters, who declined to comment on his pending nomination, has told associates that his enforcement experience will give him greater credibility on the softer aspects of drug reduction, including treatment. President Bush has repeatedly emphasized the need to reduce demand in the United States.Mr. Walters, who was the acting drug czar briefly in 1993, quit in protest when President Clinton slashed his staff to 25 from 146 and announced he would reorient anti- narcotics policy to focus on hard- core users, while de-emphasizing law enforcement and interdiction. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1996, Mr. Walters criticized "this ineffectual policy — the latest manifestation of the liberals' commitment to a `therapeutic state' in which government serves as the agent of personal rehabilitation." In his Senate appearance, Mr. Walters outlined elements of what he said was an effective drug policy.He said the president should make use of the "bully pulpit" to heighten awareness of the dangers of drugs, and noted that President George Bush had used his first national prime-time address in 1989 to discuss the drug issue. Mr. Walters urged the United States to step up the battle against drugs at their source, in Latin America, and called foreign programs cheap and effective. He also advocated giving the military a lead role in interdiction efforts, stiffening federal marijuana penalties, and opposed federal financing for needle exchanges to reduce the spread of AIDS.A Michigan native, Mr. Walters is president of the Philanthropy Roundtable, a conservative association that advises more than 600 donors to charity. Before that, he was president of the New Citizenship Project, which promoted increasing the role of religion in public life. In the 1980's, he was a top aide to Mr. Bennett at the Education Department, then followed his boss into the drug czar's office at its inception, in 1989.Together with Mr. Bennett and John J. DiIulio — Mr. Bush's recent appointee to head a White House office on religious-based and community initiatives — Mr. Walters wrote a book: "Body Count: Moral Poverty and How to Win America's War against Crime and Drugs." The book, published in 1997, warns of the young criminals branded "superpredators," who come from broken homes, alienated communities and attack without remorse.Such criminals, Mr. Walters and his colleagues wrote, suffer from "moral poverty" and should face stiff and certain punishment. Society must protect itself, according to Mr. Walters, who displays little patience for those who say the nation's prisons are too full. Complete Title: Tough Conservative Picked for Drug Czar, Officials SaySource: New York Times (NY) Author: Christopher MarquisPublished: April 26, 2001Copyright: 2001 The New York Times Company Contact: letters Website: Forum: Related Articles & Web Site:Philanthropy Roundtable Close on Choosing a New Drug Czar's New Drug Czar? 
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Comment #6 posted by r.earing on April 27, 2001 at 08:26:33 PT:
stiffening federal Mj penalties?
I am assuming that a lot of y'all will want to move to Canada now.Where should I send the immigration forms? Meet the new Czar,same as the old Czar.I am sure that by becoming even more psycho about pot might be encouraged to drop the habit,but... Do you really need all those prisons to create jobs?After all ,financial types are always saying how strong the US economy is.
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Comment #5 posted by GreenGuy on April 26, 2001 at 10:29:38 PT
Serious Lunatic
Check out Walters' testimony in front of the Senate in 1996 at claims (among other things) that:1. The fact that an ounce of cannabis is now worth more  than an ounce of gold is somehow an indicator of the  "success" of the war on drugs.2. Higher crack prices will make the low level addict stop  when the addict runs out of money. (He doesn't address  the obvious point that this will encourage low-level   theft).3. A somewhat detailed description of the airplane  interdiction program in Peru, and how it is  "woefully underfunded". (Read this part carefully  in the light of last week's Peruvian "interdiction").4. A reduction in treatment because "It's not the state's  job".5. His most scary paragraph.  "Reduce marijuana availability. The federal government urgently needs to restore leadership to the fight against marijuana production, trafficking, and use. Federal marijuana penalties need to be stiffened, partly by eliminating the loophole that allows marijuana smugglers to be treated far more leniently than marijuana growers. Federal eradication efforts need to be reinvigorated. " - Walters 19966. And of course, "It's all Clinton's fault".
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Comment #4 posted by Anonymous on April 26, 2001 at 08:38:08 PT
Old Glory
And let's replace the stripes with prison stripes, the stars with bars. Let the world know what we stand for - and what we won't.
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Comment #3 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on April 26, 2001 at 08:36:47 PT:
Three strikes: Ashcroft, the Supreme Court, and now John Walters. I have no confidence that tigers will change their stripes. The progressive movement in this country is in for a tough time. What would have been so difficult about hiring a physician or other health care expert with new ideas to fill the post of Czar? We can expect more of the same from these people: futility, waste, violence and death due to the War on Drugs. What kind of message from the people will be heard? What will stem the tide? Vancouver is beckoning again---
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Comment #2 posted by Anonymous on April 26, 2001 at 08:29:53 PT
Let's have a drug-free parade
--President Bush has not decided whether to make the drug czar a cabinet level appointment, officials said, though several Republican lawmakers have urged the president to maintain the visibility of the position with cabinet ranking....It's true, the Drug War can never be won. But let's not abandon the good fight, let's institutionalize it. Permanent war. We eventually win or grow weary of wars against foreign adversaries, but here is a war which we can cherish and profit from forever. Yes, let us retain the Czar at Cabinet-level. Let's make a Constitutional amendment describing the Czar's function and duty to children. Let's add a stanza to the National Anthem about the Drug War, and let's allocate $200,000,000 for retiring Drug Czar libraries, starting with Barry McCaffrey's. Let us declare April 26 Drug Czar Day, a paid holiday for federal employees and narcs.
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Comment #1 posted by Dan B on April 26, 2001 at 08:03:53 PT:
MSNBC Exposes on Women in American Prisons
I thought I’d alert everyone to this week’s MSNBC Investigates series in American prisons. Tonight’s episode deals with women in prison, and in the ad they made a point of acknowledging that women make up the fastest-growing prison population in the U.S., and most of them are there for drug charges. Also, check out the September 2000 expose by Geraldo Rivera regarding women in prison; it is a very revealing look at the abuses women in prison suffer in the United States. Read more about tonight’s episode of MSNBC Investigates here: Rivera’s Sept. 10th, 2000 Expose on Women in Prison B
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