The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Kerry and the War on Drugs

Any Massachusetts liberal or fiscally prudent pol from any party or state surely agrees that the so-called war on drugs is a complete disaster, foreign and domestic.

Does that mean Kerry is against? What do you think...

On both components of the War, his site does include some warm words.

Here, answering questions from Democrats Abroad, he says
I think the federal government should play an active role fighting drugs in America, one that addresses both the supply and the demand issues. I support more funding for “treatment on demand” and believe we need to do a better job in this country of helping people overcoming addiction. And we need to find better ways to cut off the illegal supply of drugs coming into the country.

On fumigation, he does at least recognise the so-called balloon effect - a crackdown in one country leading to increased production elsewhere. Pie-in-the-sky on substitutes - in terms of profit to farmers, the best are kiddie league to MLB compared with coca - lose him his credibility points:
I think we need to focus on solving the problems within the Columbian economy and we need to find alternatives to coca crops that will provide enough money to be a reliable substitute for coca.

And, elsewhere on the site, on Star Wars (!), it says that Kerry
instead, favored shifting those funds to the War on Drugs and care for our nation’s Veterans...

Kerry has yet to select his foreign policy team, according to Ron Brownstein (April 11). But Rand Beers is already aboard, and, according to Counterpunch (January 26), Beers was Mr Fumigation under Clinton and Bush.

And Sandy Berger, a Kerry adviser, was the architect of Plan Colombia [1], the acme (or nadir, depending on sanity) of the War on Drugs fantasy, according to this Narco News piece [1].

On the domestic side, I can find no indication of any Kerry position on the Federal narcotics laws - and related sentencing guidelines - that see tens of thousands - disproportionately those 'minorities' over whom crocodile tears are wept in liberal circles - locked up for decades for non-violent crime.

A Q & A with a resident of Harlem suggests action is unlikely:
We have never ever had a real war on drugs in the United States of America. And the reason that we've never had a real one is because we've always left out two of the most critical components of a legitimate war, treatment and education...

If we did a better job of intervening and at working at the issue of giving young people a stake in the world around them, You'd reduce a lot of the imperative for drug use. The despair and the other reasons that people turn to drugs in this country.

It's a you've got to have an holistic approach, we don't. And I promise that I will restore that kind of full measure approach to the problem of drugs.

Chance of a bill from President Kerry to reform Federal narcotics laws? Those wandering Mississippi hands again...

  1. A number of pieces here on Plan Colombia: start with the April 20 2003 piece, with links to CRS reports and other goodies. [On second thoughts, CRS links are liable to be dead - for reasons previously discussed, and too tedious to revisit: try the State Department CRS page. You might also try the gizmo.]

  2. Loadsa links on Berger and fellow Kerry adviser Richard Holbrooke.


On marijuana, medical and recreational, Kerry seems relatively relaxed. Looking here, here and here, at least.

Quite what effect on Kerry's views George Soros - or his millions - will have, I know not: he's dead against the war on the drugs.

On Kerry's views on mandatory minimum sentencing, a December 2 2003 Village Voice interview on his site includes the following quote, in the context of the war on drugs:
The mandatory-minimum-sentencing structure of our country is funneling people into jail who have no business being there.

Needless to say, there is no summary of Kerry's voting record on mandatory minimums - that I can find. (If we get a BC04 attack ad on the subject, no doubt a list will be made available!)

According to this, Kerry voted against
mandatory minimum sentences for dealers who sell drugs to children
But this says those votes occurred in 1993 and 1994, and that he is now (no reference) in favour of mandatory minimums in those circumstances (sound familiar?).

Further research needed, evidently.

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