Letter FromnWashingtonnby Samuel FrancisnThe Drugged WarnWhen President-elect George Bushnannounced a week before his inaugurationnthat his new “drug czar” would benformer Education Secretary WilliamnBennett, the air began to seep out of thentires of his new presidency before itneven got on the road.nHad Mr. Bennett ever participated inna drug arrest, had he ever worked for anlaw enforcement agency, had he evernconducted a criminal prosecution, hadnhe ever held a top-level security clearance,nhad he ever dealt with a ThirdnWorld government or with any of thenthugs who habitually run such regimes,nthen his reincarnation under Mr. Bushnas the coordinator of drug policy mightnbe plausible. But the truth is, Bennettnhas performed none of these elementarynfunctions of criminal justice, andnwhen he appeared with the Presidentelectnin January to share the limelight ofnhis new job, his first stratagem in thenwar on drugs was to promise to quitnsmoking.nA week later Mr. Bush, during hisninaugural address and in one of thendisplays of rhetorical passion in whichnhe has learned to indulge, intoned thatnthe scourge of drugs will stop. If his newnczar manages to avoid contracting emphysema,nthat will be progress of a sort,nbut it will do nothing to sweep up thenhuman garbage responsible for thenmultibillion-doUar traffic in poison thatnafflicts the United States. Unless it isnswept up, the scourge will continue andneventually will consume the countrynentirely.nAmericans and some of their leadersnseem to understand this, and last yearnCongress mustered its nerve to pass anmammoth antidrug bill. But the newnlaw, which created the post Mr. Bennettnnow holds, is the kind of measuren44/CHRONICLESnCORRESPONDENCEnin which congressional con artists havencome to specialize. The law establishesntough penalties for “recreational” use ofnillegal drugs and permits (but does notnrequire) the death penalty for somenmurders committed by some drugnpushers. Barely a hundred executionsnhave taken place in the United States innthe 12 years since the death penalty wasnrestored, and since more than threentimes that many murders occurred innWashington alone last year and nearlyn50 murders took place here in January,nthe carefully constricted use of thenscaffold that the new law allows isnprobably just for show. Mainly what thenlaw does is increase the amount ofnfederal funds devoted to therapy andneducation rather than law enforcement.nCurrently, only about a quarter of federalnspending on drug control is directednto education. Under the “omnibusndrug bill,” that proportion will rise to 50npercent this year and 60 percent thereafter.nThe emphasis on education as thenpreferred means of fighting drugs reflectsnthe now platitudinous idea that, asnMr. Bush himself has said, “The answernto the problem of drugs lies morenon solving the demand side of thenequation than it does on the supply side,nthan it does on interdiction or sealingnthe borders or something of that nature.nAnd so it is going to have to be a majorneducational effort, and the private sectornand the schools are all going to have tonbe involved in this.” The corollary, ofncourse, is that the government shouldn’tnwaste too much time in slamming downnorganized criminals, smugglers, pushers,nand their private torpedoes, that thenway to fight drugs is through all the artsnof managerial manipulation in whichnAmerican civilization has come tonexcel.nAnother corollary is that you don’tnappoint as drug czar someone who isnserious about the use of force, includingnlethal force, against the satraps of thendrug empire. Mr. Bennett, The NewnRepublic revealed last year, once sent anmemorandum over to the Justice De­nnnpartment recommending that the USnmilitary “should do to the drug baronsnwhat our forces in the Persian Gulf didnto Iran’s navy.” That sounds terrific —nexcept that we didn’t do very much tonIran’s navy in the Persian Gulf Whatnwe mainly did in the Gulf, in thenaftermath of Iranian mine and missilenattacks, was to take out a few oilnplatforms after carefully warning thenseagoing mullahs aboard them to getnout of the way. We sent a few of thenAyatollah’s boats to the bottom andndried off some of his jolly tars after theynlanded in the drink. If we follow annanalogous course of action against thendrug barons, the American taxpayernmay wind up paying for their sons’ncollege educations.nMr. Bennett, however, also hasnmade noises about waging what hencalls “all-out war on drugs — withnmore resources for police, more prosecutors,nmore convictions.” Whethernhis tenure as drug czar will be asnferocious as it sounds remains to benseen, but personally I’m growing tirednof hearing about the various “wars” —nagainst poverty, crime, energy shortages,nAIDS, terrorism, illiteracy, andnchild abuse — that professional bureaucratsnperiodically declare on whateverncrisis crept into the headlines last week.nThe truth is that American politicalnculture no longer permits the prosecutionnof any kind of war because thenelites that prevail in politics, the economy,nand the culture rule and think innterms of manipulation, deception, andnsheer fraud rather than force. Whatevernproblems, threats, and challengesnthey perceive they define in such a waynthat only manipulation and not coercionncan respond to them. Not only donthey manipulate the problem itself, butnthrough public relations and imagemongering,nthey string along thenAmerican public. Criminals are to benrehabilitated and not punished; foreignnthreats are to be negotiated away ornbribed with foreign aid and not fought;nand war is redefined as “defense” andndelivered into the hands of techno-n