of NPR's disappointing series
"The Forgotten War on Drugs" takes aim at Drug Czar John Walters:
During the course of research for this series, it became apparent that many prominent players in the war on drugs don't have many compliments for the current drug czar, John Walters.
Though President Bush appointed Walters to be the public face of the war on drugs, some anti-drug activists say he's been the invisible man.
What, is he supposed to go around racially profiling people and asking for consent to search?
Gen. Barry McCaffrey was drug czar from 1996 to 2001. He says, bluntly, that as far as he can tell, there is no federal drug policy at present.
Really? Tell that to the half-million non-violent drug offenders sitting in prison this evening. Yeah, we all miss the good old days when Barry McCaffrey was in charge and America was drug free.
Four members of Congress — all prominent drug warriors — have asked for the drug czar's resignation. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) says Walters, even more than his predecessors, manipulates numbers to inflate the Bush administration's successes in drug policy.
"When it comes to statistics, I think it's fair to say they cook the books," Grassley said. "They use whatever statistics fit their public relations program."
The drug czar's office says that Grassley was "badly briefed."
Badly briefed by whom? This is hilarious. But to be fair, the drug czar's office is
a "public relations program." ONDCP's resident doctor/scientist David Murray explains:
"My sense would be you're talking to the wrong people," Murray said. "You are talking with people who have a partial and mis-clarified sense of what the office does."
Exactly. ONDCP's purpose is to claim that the drug war works. You've got a better chance of getting stoned on marijuana-flavored lollipops than expecting candor or humility from this organization. ONDCP is like a weatherman that always predicts sunshine. If you get soaked, it's your own fault for watching the fake weather report.
Of the more than 100 anti-drug professionals across America interviewed for this series — in overseas operations, domestic law enforcement, treatment and prevention — very few share the rhetoric of this drug czar: that we are "winning the drug war."
Are we witnessing the beginnings of a major rift within the drug war establishment? ONDCP's fraudulent routine of claiming progress in the drug war is no longer impressing its core audience. As a result, confused drug war supporters like NPR's Burnett, along with Lou Dobbs
, have found themselves in the awkward position of articulating the failure of our current policies while simultaneously demanding their expansion.
This is terrible reporting to be sure, but at least the "how to win?" crowd isn't proposing specific policy solutions. Dobbs and Burnett are amplifying the message that the drug war is failing, and turning to ONDCP for answers it can't give.
These frustrated observers might want to begin by learning that it isn't ONDCP's fault the drug war doesn't work. But I'm all for firing John Walters on the off-chance that he bugs out like Michael Douglas in Traffic
and admits the whole thing is a sham. That would be grand.