WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration's new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting "a war on drugs," a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.
In his first interview since being confirmed to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday the bellicose analogy was a barrier to dealing with the nation's drug issues.
"Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," he said. "We're not at war with people in this country."
Mr. Kerlikowske's comments are a signal that the Obama administration is set to follow a more moderate -- and likely more controversial -- stance on the nation's drug problems. Prior administrations talked about pushing treatment and reducing demand while continuing to focus primarily on a tough criminal-justice approach.
The Obama administration is likely to deal with drugs as a matter of public health rather than criminal justice alone, with treatment's role growing relative to incarceration, Mr. Kerlikowske said.
May. 14th, 2009
Thomas Walkom's lame column: Tangled theology of terrorism - Since when Rosie DiManno make more sense than Walkom?
Terrorism is a tactic, not an end. Throughout history, armed groups – from the Jewish Irgun in British-controlled Palestine to Nelson Mandela's African National Congress in South Africa to Hamas in Gaza – have employed terror.
Sorting out right from wrong in the decades-old Sri Lankan civil war is an impossible task. Both sides have committed atrocities. The LTTE, which invented the modern practice of suicide bombing, is criticized by Amnesty International for recruiting of child soldiers.
"Doesn't bother me," eh? That's a strange formulation. I'm also flabbergasted by his guess that "most public and media sympathic is with the Tamils"... There was no media coverage, let alone sympathy, until very recently. The Star's been pretty good so far though, other than in their unsigned editorials, but who reads these?
Ontario Liberals worry of losing Tamil-heavy ridings to the NDP
As protesters rallied at Queen's Park, the Tamils' plight dominated the weekly Liberal caucus meeting, with MPPs urging Premier Dalton McGuinty to support a politically loyal community.
Behind closed doors Tuesday, MPP after MPP reminded the premier that the 200,000-strong Tamil community has long backed the Liberals, voting en masse and volunteering in campaigns.
"If we're not careful, there are at least five ridings we could lose if the Tamils go over to the NDP. ... They work very hard for us," warned one MPP.
Sri Lankan shelling of hospital kills 50 as aides hide in bunkers
Tamil rally spills into streets
Thousands of defiant Tamils and their supporters once again clogged downtown roads and brought traffic to a standstill as a daylong protest spilled into the streets from Queen's Park late yesterday.
And for the first time, signs of blatant anti-Tamil sentiments emerged in the form of an aircraft that circled the Legislature for 20 minutes dragging a sign that read: "Protect Canada Stop Tamil Tigers!"
The message incensed the large crowd and gave the police some tense minutes just before 4 p.m.
"It's not a smart thing to do," said Staff Insp. Don Campbell of the circling aircraft. "All it's doing is fuelling the crowd. It's inciting them."
About 60 anti-Tamil protesters on a footbridge spanning the Don Valley Parkway north of Gerrard St. held a similar banner in the evening. They said a wealthy local Sinhalese who wants to remain anonymous paid for the airplane and the two banners, but they denied links to the Sri Lankan government.
Members of Toronto's Sri Lankan community used a banner pulled behind a plane in the sky and a banner and placards over the Don Valley Parkway today to express their fear the Tamil community will bring Tamil Tiger violence to Canada.
"We want Toronto to be safe. The Tamil Tigers are controlling the Sri Lankan community in Canada and their agenda is the only one being heard. We feel we are being controlled," said Kumar Gunasekera, one of about 50 people who waved placards and hung a banner over the Don Valley footbridge to Riverdale during this evening's rush hour.
The airplane pulling another banner circled over the huge Queen's Park demonstration, enraging the protesters crowded there. The banners read: "Protect Canada - Stop the Tamil Tigers." The demonstrators at the Don Valley bridge said they represent more than 50,000, until now, silent Sinhalese Canadians. "What should be of real concern is the 1,000 cadres of Tamil Tigers in the GTA and the violence we have yet to see here," he added.
The bridge demonstrators were members of the Sri Lankan Youth of Canada and the Sir Lankan United National Association.They said today's airplane message was paid for by private citizens, and neither the Sri Lankan government nor consulate in Toronto. "We only hear one side of the story and it is the Tamil agenda," said Eranga De-Zoysa, a Ryerson architectural science student."They have ruined their motherland and now that Canada has offered them shelter they are ruining it here," added his mother Badra De-Zoysa.
The banners and placards urged Canadians to not accept the Tamil Tiger agenda and not cave into terrorism.