Prohibition lessons are relevant to drug war

Regarding your Feb. 27 article "Side effects hit Plan Colombia": Plan Colombia will not protect Americans from drugs.

Fumigate the Colombian coca crop and production will shift to neighboring Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Destroy every last plant in South America and domestic methamphetamine production will boom to meet the demand for cocaine-like drugs.

The self-professed champions of the free market in Congress are seemingly incapable of applying basic economic principles to drug policy. Rather than waste resources attempting to overcome immutable laws of supply and demand, policymakers should look to the lessons learned from America's disastrous experiment with alcohol prohibition.

With no controls for age, the thriving black market is very much youth-oriented. The drug war's unintended consequences are routinely used to justify its continuation by unscrupulous drug war profiteers and opportunistic politicians.

Robert Sharpe Washington Program Officer, The Lindesmith Center Drug Policy Foundation

Missile shield may benefit from cuts

Your Feb. 12 article "Pentagon braces for makeover" raised a red flag for me.

I think a review of the military and its expenditures is called for. Hopefully, the product of such a review will be to identify areas of waste along with reasonable recommendations for a remedy.

My question is: Will President Bush defer to the recommendations and, in effect, cut military allotments, or will he simply use the waste areas and figures as a springboard to budget that money toward the missile defense shield program?

Chances are that many pet projects of the Pentagon and its various departments, including conventional weapons such as the Air Force's F-22 and the Marines' Osprey, will be scrapped. I hope that our president doesn't reallocate that wasted money into a 20-year-old missile defense shield program.

Steven Grieco Huntington, W.V.

New tactics needed for new threats

Your Feb. 16 article "A terrorist version of NATO?" well illustrated the new trends faced by the United States in defining 21st-century foreign policy. Our government has in the past been so concerned with implementing a policy with a defined state enemy that it seems to have placed emerging terrorist coalitions in the shadows of its foreign policy agenda.

It is encouraging to see that members of the public understand that the administration should pay attention to the dangerous development of these alliances and focus its resources on the containment of these potential threats.

Perhaps with a public that is better informed of the potential dangers of an evolving alliance of terrorist organizations, the government will be more inclined to employ a foreign policy agenda that efficiently utilizes our resources to fight the more unconventional battles of terrorist suppression in a technologically driven era.

Jennifer Keller Wheelersburg, Ohio

What Clinton did not do for Africans

Regarding the Feb. 26 opinion piece "Clinton's false Harlem symbolism rings true": What did the former president do for Africans?

He stood by during the genocide in Rwanda, and when he finally went there he never left the security of the airport. He also remained silent about the million or more victims in the Sudan.

Leonard Kemp New Port Richey, Fla.

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