DRCNetDrug Reform Coordination Network


Oppose Militarization of Drug War

Administration officials have indicated that Lt. General Barry R. McCaffrey, head of the US Army's Southern Command, is a likely candidate to succeed Lee Brown as the nation's fourth Drug Czar. The Southern Command has jurisdiction over Army operations in all the world's cocaine-producing nations, and McCaffrey supervises nearly a quarter of the Pentagon's narcotics control budget.

DRCNet's objection is not to McCaffrey as an individual public servant, but to the militarization of the Drug War overall. The militarization of drug policy is a dangerous course to follow. For example, reports of human rights abuses in our Andean Drug War have been coming to light.

The biggest problem with the military drug strategy, however, is that it is so hopeless a venture as to be fraudulent. There is simply no conceivable strategy, technology or level of funding that can ever make interdiction or source country efforts work. The reason is simple: no matter what quantity of drugs are interdicted, the drug producers can simply set their production levels to compensate, ensuring that all the heroin and cocaine that US consumers desire will always be available. We could double the quantity of cocaine we seize, and the producers would simply increase their production by about 10 percent, resulting in no net decrease in the availability of cocaine. Source country efforts can bring about occasional disruptions in the drug supply, but they are always short- lived, and have no real impact on hard-core, problem drug use. The price of cocaine is considerably lower today than it was before we got heavily into interdiction and source country programs. Drug production and trafficking is regulated by the *demand* for drugs, not the other way around. As long as people in the United States want drugs, they will get here. The government's own research supports this conclusion. In fact, many generals recognize this, and support within the military for military involvement in the Drug War has been tepid. General McCaffrey himself has noted that current strategies are not working.

Please write or call President Clinton and tell him not to appoint a military officer to the Drug Czar post. Tell him it's time to stop misleading the public into believing that military and law enforcement efforts are an effective or appropriate response to drug use and abuse. Tell him guns and prisons are not the answer to the medical and social issues presented by drugs. And tell him he should work with Congress to appoint and fund the Commission on Crime Control and Prevention that was called for in the 1994 Crime Bill.

Send your letter to: President Bill Clinton 

                The White House 

                1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

                Washington, DC 20500

                or call: (202) 456-1111

You can also send e-mail to [email protected].
We don't have information on whether White House e-mail is read as regularly as conventional mail.

And send a copy to your Representative and your Senators:

                The Honorable {your Rep/Senator} 

                US House of Representatives/US Senate 

                Washington, DC 20515/20510

You can call your Rep and your Senators (or find out who they are) via the Congressional Switchboard, (202) 224-3121.

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