John Walters new drug czar nominee
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 http://www.senate.gov
to find out how to reach them, or call the
Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Time is of the essence!)