McCaffrey's Swan Song: ONDCP Releases 2001 National Drug Control Strategy Report 1/5/01

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As the clock ticks down on the nation's premier drug warrior, Gen. Barry McCaffrey is still up to the same old tricks.

After helping to engineer five years of escalating drug law enforcement budgets and arrests of drug offenders, and despite his role in crafting the Clinton administration's war plan for Colombia, McCaffrey wants to be remembered as a moderate.

To call it a war on drugs is "misleading," said McCaffrey in the national drug war battle plan, which calls for more of the same.

"Although wars are expected to end, drug education -- like all schooling -- is a continuous process," explained the general. "The moment we believe ourselves victorious and drop our guard, drug abuse will resurface in the next generation. To reduce the demand for drugs, prevention must be ongoing."

McCaffrey once again reiterated his preference for cancer over war as the metaphor of choice to describe policies that criminalize millions of US citizens.

But he placed new emphasis on treatment, which he said can "reduce the consequences of addiction." Treatment for chronic drug users is "compassionate public policy and a sound investment."

Other elements of McCaffrey's final strategy range from the laudable (education) to the impossible (stopping drugs at the US border and eliminating sources of supply) to the paradoxically ironic (reducing drug-related crime and violence).

"Along with prevention and treatment, law enforcement is essential for reducing drug use," McCaffrey said. "Illegal drug trafficking inflicts violence and corruption on our communities. Law enforcement is the first line of defense against such unacceptable activity."

His report had nothing to say about how efforts to prohibit drug use through massive repression "inflict violence and corruption on our communities."

The 2001 National Drug Control Strategy is available online at -- DRCNet will post a more complete analysis next week.

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