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White House Czar Calls for End to 'War on Drugs'

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.

Date: 2009-05-14 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] micah-28.livejournal.com
I was just randomly browsing through posts and I came across this one. I'd be interested to know why you tagged this post with the word 'racism?'

I like the initiative that Obama seems to be taking here, I think that with the negative connotations of America's recent foreign policy as part of the Bush asministration, Obama needs to work towards absolving these negative views. The phrase 'war against drugs' seems to redirect the negative attitude from America's war in Iraq and internalise it in, associating the consequences of foreign policy with an attempt to get rid of drugs. By changing the name it's a positive first step to move away from this negative view. Nonetheless, I don't see that Mr. Kerlikowske's comments infers that Obama's stance will be more 'controversial,' why do you think that?

Date: 2009-05-14 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frandroid.livejournal.com
I've tagged "racism" because I'm reflecting on the racist nature of the war on drugs, basically, not on the new policy...

Date: 2009-05-14 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tomscud.livejournal.com
Wow. It's only words, but if followed with actions it's more than I'd ever expected from this presidency.

Date: 2009-05-14 09:26 pm (UTC)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (bat country)
From: [personal profile] sabotabby
Hah! Drugs won!

(Seriously, though, this is a good move. Let's hope it's not all just talk.)

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