The Sentencing Project: Truths, Half-Truths, and Lies: Myths and Realities About Crime and Punishment (October, 1996). A report examining ten of the most commonly voiced assumptions about crime police, finding them to be either misleading or untruthful. Available for $5 from The Sentencing Project, 918 F St. NW, Suite 501, Washington, DC 20004, (202) 628-0871.
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice: Young African Americans
and the Criminal Justice System in California: Five Years Later (February,
1996). By Vincent Schiraldi, Sue Kuyper and Sharen Hewitt. This
follow-up to the Sentencing Project's 1995 report offers a sobering look
at the trends of incarceration and criminal justice in our most populous
the past five years. A must read for anyone wishing to better understand what the "War on Drugs" has meant, and will continue to mean, to African Americans and, by extension, to the society at large.
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Report: Three Strikes: The New Apartheid (March, 1996). By Christopher Davis, Richard Estes, and Vincent Schiraldi. Inequality in the application and effects of California's "Three strikes and you're out" law.
These reports and others available for $3 each from: CJCJ; 1622 Folsom Street, 2nd Floor; San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 621-5661.
The National Review: The War On Drugs Is Lost (February 1996). William F. Buckley, Editor in Chief. Featuring William F. Buckley, Ethan A. Nadelmann, Kurt Schmoke, Joseph D. McNamara, Robert W. Sweet, Thomas Szasz, and Steven B. Duke. The colossus of conservative publications weighs in strongly on the destructiveness and absurdity of a prohibition-based drug policy. If you, or anyone you know, believes that the reform movement's most avid support comes only from the left, then this is required reading. Reprints available for $1.70 each; 100 for $150; 250 for $325. Write to NR, DRUGS, 150 East 35th Street, New York, NY 10016.
Reproductive Freedom, in focus: Punishing Women for their Behavior During Pregnancy; An Approach that Undermines Women's Health and Children's Interests. Looks at the issue of substance use and abuse during pregnancy and examines the movement toward criminalization. Contact The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, 120 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005, (212) 514-5534.
Human Rights Watch: Race And Drug Law Enforcement In The State Of Georgia. One of the world's foremost human rights organizations looks at disparities in arrests and imprisonment based on race.
Human Rights Watch: Bolivia Under Pressure: Human Rights Violations in the War on Drugs. Human rights violations in the Andean drug war.
For this, and a list of other publications, contact: Human Rights Watch, Publications Department, 485 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017-6104 ,(212) 972-8400.
New York County Lawyers' Association: Report and Recommendations of the Drug Policy Task Force (October 1996). This report, recommending a public health rather than a criminal justice approach to drug policy, is the product of 27 months of study, public hearings, analysis and discussion on various issues within the drug policy debate. Participants in the task force were drawn from the fields of law, medicine and academia, as well as from all three branches of government. Contact The New York County Lawyers' Association, 14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007-9252, (212) 267-6646.
The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law; Volume 86/Number 1/Fall 95: Youth Violence, Guns, and the Illicit-Drug Industry By Alfred Blumstein. A scholarly article linking drug policy, guns and youth violence. Contact The Northwestern University School of Law, (312) 503-8547.
A National Survey Among Police Chiefs; conducted for Police Foundation and Drug Strategies: Drugs and Crime Across America: Police Chiefs Speak Out. Police Chiefs call for a more balanced approach to drug policy. Contact Drug Strategies, 2445 M Street, Washington DC 20037, (202) 663-6090.
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research: Europe meets U.S. in Crime and Policy. Articles by U.S. scholars with commentary by US, European and Canadian scholars. Includes The Effects of American Drug Policy on Black Americans by Michael Tonry, Gangs in the United States and Europe by Malcolm W. Klein and other interested pieces. For single issues or subscriptions, contact Kugler Publications, P.O. Box 11188, NL-1001 GD, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, fax: +31 20 6380524 or Kugler Publications, c/o Demos Vermande, Order Dept., 386 Park Ave. South, Suite 201, New York, NY 10016, fax: (212) 683-0118.
Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prison and Jail Inmates, 1995 (NCJ-161132), by BJS statisticians Darrell K. Gilliard and Allen J. Beck. BJS publications can be ordered from the BJS fax-on-demand system by dialing (301) 251-5550 or calling the BJS Clearinghouse number (800) 732-3277. Fax orders to (410) 792-4358. The BJS web site can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/.
Chairman's Report, Senate of Pennsylvania Judiciary Committee: Prison Overcrowding & Alternative Sentencing (July 1996). Report authored by State Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), advocating non-prison punishments for nonviolent drug offenders instead of mandatory minimum sentences. For copies, write to Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, 19 East Wing, Main Capitol Bldg., Harrisburg, PA 17110, or call (717) 787-6599.
FIT, a 30 minute video on safer drug use, produced at the Parkdale Community Health Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The (Ontario) Addiction Research Foundation rated FIT a 5 out of 6, and it is used in AIDS prevention programs in Canada, the US and several European and Asian countries. FIT costs $35US per copy, plus $5 postage and handling. Make checks out to the Parkdale Community Health Centre, and send to Street Health, Parkdale Community Health Centre, 1257 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 1L5, (416) 537-2455 (voice), (416) 537-5133 (fax), [email protected].
There has been an outpouring of books on drug policy in recent months. Eric Sterling, President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, reviews some of them: (reprinted from Newsbriefs)
Dan Baum, Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and The Politics of Failure, Little Brown. 416 p. ($24.95).
Called "devastating" by the NY Times Book Review, this book looks at the events, especially the political events, that created the drug war. It is a history of the key drug war incidents of the past 25 years -- set out in a series of rapid-fire vignettes. It is clearly hostile to the drug war, but attempts to be fair in reporting the concerns of parents, physicians, and others sincerely struggling to grapple with the problem of drug abuse. Over 200 sources were interviewed. A major focus is on the political players and the arenas where the drug problem is generated as a political issue. It is written as a popular book, and is very readable and fast paced. It replete with the stories of many of the abuses and screwups of the drug war: the shootings of Donald Scott and Bruce Lavoie; how DEA staged a drug buy at the White House for a Presidential speech; the raid on Randy Brown's metal shop; the arrest of letter-writer Thomas Kline, etc. Baum is a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
Eva Bertram, Morris Blachman, Kenneth Sharpe, Peter Andreas, Drug War Politics: The Price of Denial, University of California Press. 347 p. ($17.95, pb).
This book reports and analyzes many of the events that underlie the politics of the drug war. It is critical of the prevailing drug war paradigm, and offers a comprehensive public health paradigm. Regarding prevention, for example, the authors urge going beyond education to harm reduction, and to changing the drug culture -- the culture created by the advertising of alcohol, tobacco and over-the-counter drugs. It recognizes that treatment of addiction will naturally result in relapses. Quitting drug use is only one measure of treatment success. The authors suggest that regulation of drug use and distribution encourages more healing and less harm than either prohibition or legalization. They ask many of the obvious questions that regulators will have to answer, but don't suggest many answers.
They also identify the present opportunities for drug policy reform. A key reform would be to move from the prevailing paradigm from punitive to public health. Potential allies for reform work in many corners of the drug problem establishment. People who work in treatment and prevention -- who have a keen interest in the public health paradigm -- are limited in their capacity to fight for a fundamentally different mode of analysis. Because the policy debate has been defined by the punitive paradigm, criticizing the paradigm is often misconstrued as criticizing law enforcement, i.e., the police, which can jeopardize one's credibility. Local community groups, and even the police are analyzed as potential challengers to the punitive paradigm.
"Whether we look back at the present as the beginnings of a paradigm shift or as one more chapter in the politics of denial will depend primarily on larger social and political trends and on their impact on U.S. social policies -- whether and how America handles its larger health-care and other social problems, for example, and whether the broader political context is supportive of social reform. But it will also depend in some measure on the political struggle and the actions of individuals who are fighting for reform today -- and those who are battling against them. The lessons of the recent past are modest but, perhaps, important. They suggest that the more conscious reformers are about how the punitive paradigm distorts treatment and prevention, filters or marginalizes criticism, and supports a logic of escalation rather than reevaluation, the better able they will be to anticipate responses to their efforts and to design effective reform strategies. The more their short-term, pragmatic struggles are guided by clear public-health principles, the less the chances that their struggles will leave the entrenched assumptions of the paradigm untouched (or, worse, inadvertently reinforce them). And the more they are able to mobilize the potential power that exists in hundreds of organizations with tens of thousands of members and to bring it to bear on the political process, the less the probability of long-term marginalization and the greater the likelihood of gradual transformation to a strategy that promotes healing without harm."
Vincent T. Bugliosi, The Phoenix Solution: Getting Serious About Winning America's Drug War, Dove Books. 278 pp.
This is a very interesting book. The author is outraged that Americans don't do more about the drug problem. The author issued this book in 1991 under the title, Drugs in America -- The Case for Victory: A Citizens Call to Action. He proposes to send a military search and destroy mission to Colombia to find and kill the traffickers and dismantle their organizations. He calls for the death penalty, and proposes that special Federal courts for drug cases be established. To stop the money laundering, he proposes that an entirely new American currency be created for use inside the U.S. but that it would be valueless outside the U.S. Existing currency would no longer be lawful tender in the U.S., but could be used outside the U.S. An IRS agent would be stationed at most banks to intercept all large cash deposits. All electronic funds transfers would be subject to scrutiny at computerized central command posts. Bugliosi is bitterly sardonic that some of these ideas have not been leapt upon, and implies that we are actually not serious about addressing the drug problem.
Drug legalization is, in fact, given a very favorable examination in 26 pages. Bugliosi urges, "one step in the right direction toward a more open and intelligent dialogue on the legalization question would be the presidential appointment of a panel of distinguished Americans from outside of the government to study the feasibility of legalization, or at least, as recommended herein, the experimentation with it by way of non-enforcement of drug laws for a period of time. Someone of the unimpeachable stature and credibility of an Elliot Richardson or (if it hadn't been for the position he's already publicly taken) a George Shultz should chair the panel."
I was left wondering if the apparent principal thrust of the book is an effort to establish his bona fides as an anti-drug warrior in order to advance a legalization argument. Or is the proposal for a unilateral U.S. military adventure in Colombia a parody, and the guts of the book is the discussion of legalization and the recommendation of a study commission?
Patrick L. Clawson and Rensselaer W. Lee, III, The Andean Cocaine Industry, St. Martin's Press. 276 pp. ($35.00).
This is an interesting and detailed review of the subject, practically up-to-the-minute. The authors have a reputation as hard-boiled realists. They are realistic about the severe limitations of any element of U.S. strategy to control supplies of coca and cocaine.
"There is little evidence that any of the counternarcotics effort in the Andes have to date had much effect on the supply of cocaine in the United States. The lack of demonstrated success applies to all phases of the Andean counternarcotics effort -- eradication of coca bushes, seizures of precursor chemicals, destruction of labs, interception of planes, and alternative development projects. That said, one can find reasons for hope with regard to each of the programs, though probably less so for eradication. So far none of the existing programs can be considered a complete failure. Our suspicion is that the most effective counternarcotics programs for the Andean nations will be ones that are designed and implemented by the governments concerned, rather than by the United States or international aid agencies."
The authors discuss the merits of massive herbicidal spraying over the regions where coca is grown, but warn that spraying has high costs and may be considered "extreme...so too legalization is too extreme in the other direction."
Jill Jonnes, Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams: A History of America s Romance with Illegal Drugs. Scribner's. 510 pp. ($30.00.)
This is a rich history, well-written, extensively researched but selectively reported with a cruel twist. It covers or complements much of the history covered in Smoke and Mirrors and Drug War Politics. For example, in re-telling the story of the downfall of President Carter's drug advisor, Peter Bourne, M.D. in July 1978, Jonnes creates the inference that NORML was extracting revenge because the U.S. had been successful in eradicating opium poppies in Mexico. And Jonnes infers that NORML was sympathetic to heroin use and indifferent to the deaths of heroin addicts; "NORML was not interested in the larger picture" that only one quarter of the 1,755 Americans who died of heroin in 1975 would die in 1978. Jonnes reports that Keith Stroup's confirmation that Bourne used cocaine was in part because the Carter Administration support for marijuana decriminalization was undermining NORML's fundraising efforts.
In examining the roots and spread of heroin addiction among Negroes in American cities in the early 1950s, for example, the author points to the use of marijuana and heroin by jazz musicians. "The equation now moved up from hepsters smoked marijuana, squares didn't, to hipsters shot heroin, squares didn't."
Examining the spread of drug use in the 1960s and 70s, she focuses on Baltimore where she obtained her Ph.D. in American History from Johns Hopkins University. With casual asides such as, "While most of those who experimented and then stopped did fine," Jonnes concentrates on cases such as that of a white, suburban Jewish high school senior who became a heroin addict, who was arrested four times, whose mother said of her son, "He drained us financially. We lost the house, he wrecked two cars that were not paid for. There were lawyers, there were psychiatrists."
But Jonnes provides some fascinating historical anecdotes. On the political front, for example, she writes of President Truman telling the nation on November 2, 1951 that, "Illicit narcotics peddling has recently risen sharply in volume," endorsing the Boggs Act mandatory minimums and appointing high-level interdepartment committee on narcotics. On November 27, 1954, President Eisenhower called for "a new war on narcotics addiction at the local, national and international level."
In 1963 President Kennedy appointed retired U.S. Court of Appeals Judge E. Barrett Prettyman to chair a President's Advisory Committee on Narcotics and Drug Abuse. Prettyman recommended that the Federal Bureau of Narcotics be moved from the Treasury Department to Justice, and that the harsh mandatory sentences of the Boggs Act and the Daniel Act be repealed. "A survey presented at the White House conference showed that more than 90 percent of federal prison wardens were against mandatory sentences, as were more than 70 percent of federal district judges, more than 80 percent of probation officers, and about half of the U.S. district attorneys," reports Jonnes. She tells, as well, of the incompetence and corruption at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and its successor agencies.
Jonnes tells of Marie Nyswander and Vincent Dole's research at Rockefeller University in New York with addicts and maintenance with morphine and methadone as a treatment. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics tried to stop them, burglarized their offices, and placed them under surveillance.
Jonnes undertakes to critique legalization. She does not cite a single person or article that advocates legalization. Instead she says, "Truthfully, when discussing legalization what we're really talking about is crack cocaine." Disregarding experts like Ira Chasnoff, M.D., Jonnes quotes James Q. Wilson citing Douglas Besharov, a Washington think-tanker, "'Some crack babies have for all practical purposes suffered a disabling stroke while still in the womb. Besharov estimates that about 30,000 to 50,000 such babies are born every year, about 7,000 in New York City alone.'"
In her treatment of AIDS, she is callous and illuminates her failure to connect with the public health community and its work. "While it is rarely mentioned in discussions about our national drug problem, probably about half of all addicts are HIV positive or have AIDS. This means that ten years from now most of these people will be deadIt may be ghoulish to view AIDS as easing the drug problem, but in fact it will." "Nothing better epitomizes instant gratification and its dangers than the drug culture. Obviously, one of the great attractions of marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin is that they instantly loosen or dissolve ordinary inhibitions and restraintsAn extreme but not so rare example is an AIDS activist who was HIV-positive. 'I was resolved to practice safe sex, and my philosophy would not have allowed me to be unsafe,' he said, 'but using drugs and alcohol allowed me to have sex without condoms. It provided the excuse.'" This passage is also another which illustrates that Jonnes is blind to the similarities between illegal drugs and alcohol. She says, for example, "It generally takes many years to create a serious drunkard, but only weeks or months to create a drug addict. And while all but the worst alcoholics could function quite well when not drunk, such was not the case with drug addicts." And in 444 pages, Jonnes never mentions sterile syringe exchanges, harm reduction or public health.
Jonnes does not hide her hatred and disgust for middle class drug users, "people like Susan Lydon, middle class screwups who threw away all their advantages to glory in drug taking". Lydon, described as "a talented sixties journalist" is held up throughout the book as an example of someone who started experimenting with drugs and ended in the sewer of drug abuse.
Lydon says of herself that by the end of the 70s she is "a shadow of the person I'd been. My inner self had been eroded so gradually over the years by the drugs that, without noticing it, I'd ceased to inhabit my own life or even my body. I'd managed to obliterate myself." In her chapter on crack, Jonnes describes Lydon as "a nice Jewish girl from Long Island," who succumbed to crack, and became a prostitute on Delancey Street and began stealing from her parents. Lydon describes her routine in Sept. in 1986: "copping coke on Stanton and Clinton, going around the corner to shoot it, turning tricks, running uptown for crack, etc., etc." Nowhere throughout the author's use of Susan Lydon as the paradigmatic pathetic "nice person" turned drug addict that pepper this book does she quote Lydon uttering a word that could be characterized as "glorying" in drug taking.
The lesson of her history is that, "All over again, Americans had to discover painfully the ultimately corrosive quality of drugs -- corrosive to self and society. Any thoughts that marijuana, LSD, heroin, or cocaine were modern elixirs that could somehow lift us en masse into a better place (or even provide just harmless fun) have proven a sad and costly chimera. Once again, the romance largely has faded."
Jonnes concludes, "The drug culture always will be with us in some form. The national challenge is to make that sad world as small and beyond-the-pale as possible, to push it back into the shadowy netherworld. We need to remember the terrible waste of those who became addicts, forfeiting the best of their youth and often their very lives. We need to challenge those who glorify, proselytize, and traffick. And we need to keep at it year after year, decade after decade."
Richard Lawrence Miller, Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State, Praeger. 255 pp. ($24.95).
Unfortunately, almost certainly your bookstore will have to order the book from the publisher, Praeger in Westport, CT, (203) 226-3571. Even those disturbed by the war on drugs will find Miller s latest work shocking -- like being in a capsizing boat. For those who dislike the term "war on drugs," this book gives the concept a fresh meaning. For those who argue, like Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), that a "war on drugs" has never been fought, Miller pulls together a vast array of circumstances to make the case that "war" may be too polite a term to describe what is happening in our society.
Last year Miller wrote Nazi Justiz: Law of the Holocaust, also for Praeger. His latest book analyzes the war on drugs through the experience of analyzing the evolution of Nazi law and the growth of the Nazi state. Drug Warriors and Their Prey is rich with insights into the growth of state power -- how it grows, how arguments are framed for its expansion, and the careful identification of targets against which to exercise that power. I discuss this book further below.
Kevin Jack Riley, Snow Job? The War Against International Cocaine Trafficking, Transaction Press. 303 pp.
This very detailed analysis began as a doctoral dissertation for RAND s graduate school. Riley finds very significant limitations to supply control efforts. They can have short-term effects, but growers and traffickers take that into account in their planning. A much greater, more intense effort at supply control has not been undertaken because it would come with very high costs. Even assuming the United States and the Andean nations were willing to accept the costs of a massive policy intervention, it is quite probable that the cocaine traffickers could resume full production in two years or less. Riley recommends defining a regional strategy that elevates political stability and institution building, and demotes traditional counternarcotics objectives.
Paul B. Stares, Global Habit: The Drug Problem in a Borderless World, Brookings. 171 pp.
This book is a thoroughly documented review of drug production, trafficking and money laundering around the world. There appears to be no way that drug production and trafficking, or the processing and concealment of the profits can be effectively controlled considering the inevitable expansion of global connectivity of markets, communications and finance.
"The debate about prohibition versus legalization is essentially a false and meaningless one. The real issue is what degree of regulation is appropriate for the common good. It is not difficult to see that there are an enormous number of regulatory permutations for each drug..until the principal alternatives are clearly laid out in reasonable detail, however, the potential costs and benefits cannot be responsibly assessed and compared with the present arrangements...ultimately, however, the prospects for a radical departure from the prevailing prohibitionist stance look remote. Reversing or jettisoning nearly a century of effort when the putative benefits are so uncertain and the potential costs are so high would represent a herculean leap of faith."
Stares concludes: (1) International drug control should be integrated into larger policy initiatives that serve the same objectives. (2) Follow harm-minimization principles for both health and law enforcement. (3) Recognize the value of policy differentiation and policy discrimination. (4) Get better data and better analysis of market trends. (5) Generate a global drug use prevention program (which requires better evaluation of existing programs). (5) Generate more drug treatment training. (6) Fight organized crime and money laundering.
The appearance of these books at this time is important. The 1996 Presidential election has become white hot. Newt Gingrich was asked by The Washington Post to write an open letter to Republican National Convention delegates. His front page article in the Outlook section of August 4, 1996 sketches his four most important issues for the election: (1) Lower taxes, higher wages and better jobs. (2) End illegal drug use and violent crime. (3) Stem illegal immigration and strengthen English. (4) Reform welfare to require work.
Gingrich, who has said that his own marijuana use as a student was evidence of life, falsely says Clinton joked about his own marijuana use. Actually, everybody in America has joked about Clinton's drug use, except Clinton. He says Clinton appointed liberal judges who are more likely to put known drug dealers back on the street rather than put them away where they won t be harmful to our children. More likely? He says three times as many 14-year-olds have now tried marijuana as before Bill Clinton became president. "Republicans refuse to surrender the war on drugs...Furthermore we are developing Community Anti-Drug Coalitions across the country that will restore the spirit of Nancy Reagan's `Just Say No' campaign, which was successful in decreasing drug usage in the 1980s. These coalitions, led by members of Congress, create parent networks, work with clergy to address drug use, work with local media to run public service ads on the dangers of drugs and share successful anti-drug workplace initiatives with businesses. A national problem cannot be solved through Washington-produced legislation alone. It requires all of us to get involved."
Smoke and Mirrors and Drug War Politics very effectively make the case that over the past 25 years many anti-drug initiatives have been motivated by primarily by political and bureaucratic competition, and as methods to actually reduce the harmfulness of drugs, only secondarily. This is not a novel concept, but these excellent books are the latest analyses of the evidence that the war on drugs is about political power. Hopefully, these books will enable voters and journalists to see through the plethora of anti-drug rhetoric of the 1996 election campaign.
The GOP congressional establishment is calling for a more intense cocaine supply control effort in Latin America. And the Heritage Foundation, for example, on July 12 called for greater support of the Peruvian Air Force. Is the anti-cocaine effort in the Andes, what William French Smith, Reagan's first Attorney General, called the "biggest bang for the buck," a success or a failure? These three books by Clawson and Lee, Riley, and Stares lay out the evidence and honestly draw the conclusions. There is no combination of efforts in the Andes that will profoundly affect the supply of cocaine. Peter Reuter and RAND have been pointing out for years that economics of cocaine supply control don't argue for more eradication or interdiction. The question is, will any new policies now be demanded or undertaken with these latest studies in hand?
What is new in this collection of books is Richard Miller's thoroughly researched historical parallel between Nazi law and drug law, between the searching out of Jews and the searching out of drug users, between the denial of employment to Jews and the denial of employment to drug users, between the confiscation of Jewish property and the confiscation of drug users' property, between the incarceration of 1% of the German population, and the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of drug users and distributors. This is not about the Holocaust, but about how a bureaucratic and political dynamic latches onto a problematic class of persons which leads persecution. (But perhaps we ought to add to our reading list the current best seller by Daniel J. Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners, Alfred A. Knopf, 1996, 622 pp.).
Miller points to the use of the Jews in the development of the Nazi state. "Jews," as a category of people, served as a focus for fears that were used to justify the expansion of state powers. He points out that a critical step in finding a solution to "the Jewish question," or "the Jewish problem," was the creation of a consensus among Germans that there was a Jewish problem. "Jews" caused crime, "Jews" spread disease, "Jews" were sexually promiscuous, "Jews" undermined economic productivity. "Jews" were terrorists and created emergencies that warranted powerful new laws. Bureaucratic rivals within the German state competed for power, prestige and resources by developing newer or more dramatic anti-Jewish measures than their opponents. Political rivals within the Nazi establishment competed for attention in making new claims that the "Jews" were responsible for crime, for disease, for social chaos, for undermining economic productivity. It became a truism that the "Jews" were a threat, they were creating a crisis in German society that demanded a solution.
Miller warns of the real parallel between the created need to find a solution to "the Jewish question," or "the Jewish problem," and the contemporary need to find a solution to the drug problem. The consensus that there was a Jewish problem was carefully constructed -- with the assistance of the news media, the universities, business groups, and other responsible entities. And today, isn't there a solid consensus in America that those who use, or used, drugs are the "demand" problem? Reduce "demand" and the problem is solved. Jill Jonnes' Hep-Cats, Narcs and Pipe Dreams is a perfect example of an effort to further this consensus.
When Gingrich makes the accusation that Clinton is seemingly tolerant of recent experimental drug use by White House staff, the implication is Clinton must do something about these dangerous people. He will be forced to name them. And once he does that, the political pressure will require that he fire them. Simultaneously, the U.S. Senate passed Phil Gramm's amendment to deny benefits like drug treatment and food stamps to persons convicted of a drug offense. While it was modified before enactment, we must ask what is the deeper meaning of a Senate-approved policy to deny convicted drug users medical care, and to let them starve if they can t get a job? What are the implications when the President promulgates a policy that would deny housing to persons convicted of drug offenses -- even if they have been released from prison after completing their sentence? Does the consensus that we should banish from the community a troublesome class of people -- the drug users -- sound familiar?
Of all of these books, Miller's is the most jarring, the most insightful, and the most important.
Next: The Reformer's Calendar