US CO: Editorial: Clinton's Wrong War
Newshawk: Sledhead - VOTE Patrick L.  Lilly, Colo.  Senate, Dist.  12
Pubdate: Thu, 07 Sep 2000
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2000 The Denver Post
Address: 1560 Broadway, Denver, CO 80202
Fax: (303) 820.1502


Sept.  7, 2000 - President Clinton is dragging the United States into
another country's civil war.  Clinton would be far wiser to invest $1.3
billion in reducing U.S.  demand for cocaine than to squander the sum
arming Colombia's military.

Many aspects of America's purported war on drugs are preposterous, but
none is more absurd than using military force to solve what essentially
is the medical problem of addiction and the economic reality of supply
and demand.  However, the Clinton plan expands the long-standing
silliness to disturbing proportions.

Colombia's civil war has festered for decades.  All sides have committed
human rights abuses, and all sides have profited from the cocaine

Yet Clinton justifies sending helicopters and other weapons to Colombia
by claiming that another democracy has asked for help and the United
States must respond.

In truth, the American arms will be useless against drug lords, safely
shielded in their urban mansions, and most likely will be aimed at
defenseless rural peasants.

Already, Colombia's military has a horrible track record of murder and
torture.  While the drug cartels also have their own terrible history of
similar crimes, there is no excuse for law enforcement ever to engage in
such thuggery.  Yet the Clinton plan does nothing to stop the Colombian
army's human rights abuses.

Moreover, after criticizing nations like Iraq for using biological
warfare, the United States is poised to commit much the same offense.
Into Colombia's spectacular mountains and forests, the Clinton
administration plans to introduce a new fungus, which supposedly will
infect only cocaine plants.  However, there apparently is no objective
research on the fungus' long-term effects, especially on the peasants
whose farms will get sprayed.  Nor are there solid guarantees that the
fungus won't ever attack other native plant species.

True, the drug trade also is destroying Colombia's ecosystem, cutting
down rain forests to make room for coca fields and indiscriminately
applying herbicides to maximize cocaine production.  However, the drug
gangs that commit such sins are criminals, and Uncle Sam supposedly is

Clinton insists that he is not pulling the United States into "another
Vietnam." But in making that statement, Clinton either has become deaf
to history's lessons or he is deliberately misleading both the American
and Colombian peoples.

MAP posted-by: Richard Lake

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