Returning my medal

 By Sylvester Salcedo,

Sylvester and his wife, Sonia Diaz-Salcedo

The Honorable William J. Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20502

Dear President Clinton:

I am returning the enclosed Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal to you in protest of your administration's current national drug policy. Specifically, I would urge you to cancel your emergency spending proposal of $1.3 billion over the next two years to expand the American military involvement in Colombia for counter drug operations.

In my opinion, narcotics use and abuse is our problem here at home. The solutions should be applied here and not in Colombia or elsewhere. To spend this additional amount of money overseas is wasteful and counterproductive.

Instead, I urge you to review and reconsider the drug policy under the Nixon administration that emphasized treatment on demand and prevention not interdiction, arrest and incarceration to address this national public health issue and its impact on individuals, families and communities across our great country. It was a policy that worked. It was a policy that brought down crime rates without mass arrests and long prison terms. It was a policy that did not send more and more men and women, especially from our minority communities, to jail. It was a policy that is worth a second look today.

I implore you to call for an end to the war on drugs as we know it today. I implore you to call for peace and treatment for those in need of help to overcome substance abuse. I implore you to call for peace, compassion and amnesty for those jailed by draconian drug laws to reunite families and rebuild communities.

Most of all, I implore you to call for peace and an immediate nationwide review and dialogue, from the national to neighborhood level, about the destructiveness and senselessness of the current American federal narcotics prohibition policies and practices.

Very Respectfully,

Sylvester L. Salcedo, LCDR, USNR (Ret.)