John Walters new drug czar nominee

President George W. Bush has nominated John Walters to the office of Director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The new drug czar designate must be confirmed by Congress next, and now is the time for calls and emails to your Senators and Congressional Representative to oppose Walters' confirmation.

As Deputy Director of ONDCP during the previous Bush administration, Walters favored incarceration over drug treatment and education. He has lobbied Congress for stiffer penalties for nonviolent drug law violators and opposed state laws exempting medical marijuana users from criminal penalties.

In 1996 Walters testified before Congress in opposition to the Sentencing Commission's recommendation to equalize federal crack-cocaine penalties at the same level as powder cocaine. Walters has dismissed the problem of racial bias in drug enforcement as an "urban myth," despite overwhelming evidence that such bias is rampant; for example, African Americans make up only 13% of the nation's drug users, yet account for more than 70% of drug incarcerations.

Perhaps most disturbingly, Walters has enthusiastically praised the Peruvian military's practice of shooting down aircraft suspected of being used by drug traffickers. On April 20th, two American missionaries were killed in such a shootdown, inevitable casualties of an extraordinarily reckless and immoral practice that violates international law. (See page one of this Razor Wire for full story - ed.)

In 1996, Walters co-authored a paper entitled "The Clinton Administration's Continuing Retreat in the War on Drugs." In truth, however, the Clinton Administration escalated the drug war, imprisoning more people for drug offenses than during the preceding Reagan and Bush administrations combined. To characterize the harsh Clinton drug war record as a "retreat" is to elevate partisan politics over truthful discussion and to show a deep disrespect to the American people on an issue of the greatest importance.

In short, the Walters drug record is one of propaganda, extremism and disregard for issues of racial equality. John Walters is unfit to lead the nation on drug policy, and should be rejected by the US Congress.

(Please call or fax your two US Senators and urge them to vote against the confirmation of John Walters as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Visit to find out how to reach them, or call the
Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Time is of the essence!)