order speech by Rep. John Mica (R-Florida), February 1, 2000
PROBLEMS WITH ILLEGAL NARCOTICS AND DRUG ABUSE (House of Representatives
- February 01, 2000)
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Simpson). Under the Speaker's announced policy
of January 6, 1999, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica) is recognized
for 60 minutes.
Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, I am
pleased to return to the floor in really the second half of this session
of Congress to renew my continued efforts to bring to the attention of
the Members of this body and the American people the problem that we as
a Nation face in our tremendous problem of illegal narcotics and drug
abuse that have ravished our land.
Tonight I will probably begin
my 20-something special order of the 106th Congress by first of all reviewing
a little bit of what has taken place in some of the omissions of the President
in his State of the Union Address, particularly in regard to the threat
we face as a Nation from illegal narcotics.
Then I would like to focus
a bit on a General Accounting Office report that I requested last year
which is on drug control. It was released a few weeks ago, the end of
the last year, in December. It is entitled `Assets That DOD Contributes
to Reducing the Illegal Drug Supply Have Declined.' I will speak about
that particular report that I requested, along with one of my colleagues
from the other body.
Tonight again I think it is
important that I cover and the Congress pay attention to items relating
to illegal narcotics and drug abuse that were not mentioned by the President
of the United States, and as this problem affects our state of the Union.
Just a few days ago, last
week, the President took the podium behind me and he gave only glancing
lines, one or two lines, a sentence or two, in a very lengthy presentation
to the Congress and the American people on the State of the Union, and
in particular, with regard to illegal narcotics and drug abuse. I will
try to fill in some of the gaps in what really is probably the most serious
problem facing us as a Nation, the most difficult social and judicial
problem that we face, and one that I have a small responsibility in trying
to develop a policy for in the Congress, particularly in the House of
Representatives, as chair of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug
Policy, and Human Resources.
I think that anyone who just
takes a few minutes to look at social problems facing us has to be struck
by the sheer magnitude of the illegal narcotics problem. Since President
Clinton took office in 1993, and he did not mention these figures, nearly
100,000 Americans have lost their lives as a direct result of illegal
narcotics, overdoses and activities related to illegal narcotics and drug
abuse. That is only the tip of the iceberg because there are many, many
tens of thousands of other deaths related to illegal narcotics that are
not even reported in statistics and in the numbers that I have cited.
Just in the most recent reporting
period, over 15,900 Americans lost their lives as a result of narcotics
in our land. The problem is not diminishing, the problem is in fact growing.
That is confirmed by just about every statistical report our subcommittee
has received, and also by the sheer facts that we see in picking up our
daily newspapers, whether it is in our Nation's Capital, Washington, D.C.,
or throughout this land.
This problem we did not hear
the President talk about has resulted in the incarceration of an unprecedented
number of Americans, with over 1.9 million Americans in jail today. It
is estimated 60 to 70 percent of those individuals behind bars are there
because of drug-related offenses.
The toll goes on and on. The
most recent statistic cited in this GAO report has identified $110 billion
in costs to our economy.
And if all the costs related
with this social problem are added up, it could be as much as $250 billion
So the cost is dramatic. The
cost in dollars is dramatic, but the cost in destroyed lives across this
land is absolutely incredible.
Mr. Speaker, it is something
to talk to parents who have lost a young life and drugs, illegal narcotics
particularly, impact our youth population. But to try to understand the
agony of people that must deal with addiction, the agony of people that
have young or adult individuals in their family hooked on illegal narcotics,
the ravages that this has done to our economy and what could otherwise
be productive lives is just untold.
So we have a problem that
has been swept under the table. It was not mentioned by the President
in his address, but again except a glancing and I think talking briefly
about aid to Colombia, and I will talk about that very shortly.
But we got into this particular
situation not by accident, I believe, because in the 1980s under the leadership
of President Ronald Reagan and President George Bush, we began a decline.
At that point we had a cocaine epidemic and drug epidemic in the early
1980s that we were beginning to get under control. If we look at the statistics,
we see clear evidence that, in fact, drug use and prevalence of drugs,
particularly among our young people was on the decline. That there was,
in fact, a war on drugs in the 1980s and the beginning of 1989.
Mr. Speaker, that multifaceted
and comprehensive program was, in fact, dismantled beginning in 1993 with
the Clinton administration taking office. Very purposefully, the President
began dismantling that effort. Some of that dismantling is detailed in
this report that I requested. And, again, not my statistics, but actual
statistics compiled by and information compiled independently by the General
Accounting Office we will go over a bit tonight.
But the first thing that was
done was the dismantling of the drug czar's office which was slashed from
120 staffers to 20 staffers. I ask, how can we conduct a war or a concentrated
effort against narcotics, against the scourge of drugs by slashing the
command structure? I say that is impossible, but that was the very first
step in this process.
The next step, and I brought
these charts up before, but let me just bring them out again, was dramatic
declines starting in 1992-93, here we see dramatic declines in drug spending
for international programs. Now, many people might wonder what international
programs are. International programs would be stopping drugs at their
So this war on drugs or fighting
a war on drugs is not really rocket science. It does not take somebody
years and years to develop a strategy, because we know that 100 percent
of the cocaine that is produced, I will say 99.5 percent of it that is
produced, there might be a little bit somewhere else, but we know that
it is produced in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. Again, not rocket science.
We know that it is very cost-effective
for a source country eradication program to deal with the problem. We
tried it and if we eliminate drugs where they are grown, coca that produces
cocaine in a limited area of the world where it can be grown, we do not
have a lot of cocaine production. Simple.
We also know that today some
65 to 70 percent of the heroin produced in the world that is on our streets,
and we know factually that it is on our streets from the fields of Colombia,
comes from, in fact, Colombia. We know where the heroin comes from that
is spilling over in unbelievable quantities on our streets and throughout
The reason that we have incredible
supply of drugs in this country is basically because in 1993-1994, during
the Clinton administration and a Democrat-controlled Congress, they made
a very direct decision to cut these cost-effective eradication crop alternative
and drug programs in source countries.
Actually, this chart shows
the 1995-96, the period the new majority and Republicans took over, that
we have begun to restore funds. If we use 1992 dollars in 1999, we are
just about back to the 1995 levels.
The same thing happened in
interdiction. Let me put this chart up if I may. Again, we are going to
stop and think about this. It is a common sense approach. If they cannot
produce drugs and we stop them at their source, we have stopped some of
the supply. Now, the next most cost-effective way to stop illegal narcotics
and a huge supply from reaching our streets is simple. It is to stop it
as it is leaving the source where it is produced. That can be very cost-effectively
done, as the Reagan administration demonstrated and the Bush administration,
with interdiction programs.
We brought the military into
the process in the
1980's, not for our military
to be law enforcement officers, not for them to conduct combat against
illegal narcotics traffickers, but to provide surveillance intelligence
Now, first of all we have
to realize that our military is conducting this around the world all the
time. I must admit some of our resources have been strained to the limit
because this President has deployed more forces in various deployments
throughout the world than probably any President in the history of the
Nation. But in any event, we have in this arena for the most part military,
and we have resources in this area. So what they have been supplying is
intelligence, surveillance, and information. That is the interdiction
program heart and soul.
Now, again, using the military
in this fashion, again, 1993, we see a dramatic reduction. In fact, a
50 percent slash. This GAO report which I will cite tonight details even
more what took place. It is pretty startling what took place about taking
the military and our assets out of this effort.
Again, if we look back here
in the Republican administration actually, the Republican control of the
House of Representatives and the other body in 1995-96, we began to restore
the funds. And, again, because of 1992 dollars versus 1999 dollars, we
are just about back at those levels. But, in fact, it has been very difficult
to put together those resources. Again, in interdiction programs also
with a Department of Defense, which this report outlines that has not
really been willing to cooperate, and an administration, starting with
the Commander in Chief who has not wanted to conduct a real cost-effective
and targeted war on illegal narcotics.
So, again, stopping drugs
at the source is most cost-effective, and then the second most cost-effective
thing is getting the drugs as they are coming from the source. What is
interesting too is that practice, and what I am talking about in interdiction
really does not require forces of the United States to go after these.
These would be primarily giving intelligence and working in a cooperative
international effort with countries like Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia where
the heroin and cocaine is produced. We then allow them, and they have,
except where the administration has blocked the information and the intelligence,
gone after the drug traffickers, in some cases shot them down or had the
information and the surveillance fed to them so that they could cost effectively
go after drugs as they came from the source but before they reached our
Now, this administration has
picked the least cost-effective way of going after the war on drugs in
my opinion. In 1992 or 1993, they began an effort to, in fact, put most
of our war on drugs in the treatment category. Most of the expenditures
from the Congress were dedicated or redirected towards treatment. Now,
treatment by itself is very necessary, but alone it will not solve the
problem. And it is very costly and sometimes fairly ineffective, particularly
public sponsored treatment programs which have a 60 to 70 percent failure
I compare this a little bit,
if one is going to conduct a war, they target the source, which was not
done by the Clinton administration. Then one tries to get at the target
as the destruction comes from the source, which is interdiction. This
method of the Clinton administration has been pretty much just treating
the wounded in the battle, and that is those who were afflicted by illegal
In fact, we have almost doubled
since 1993 the amount of money for treatment. Now, the President also
came up with his 100,000 cops on the street and put the Congress in a
bind to fund those. We have funded those. I submit tonight that that is
probably one of the most costly approaches to fighting this war on drugs.
And we can continue to put cops on the street, it can be effective. Tough
enforcement can be very effective. But it is a costly way of doing it,
as opposed to putting a few dollars at the source country to stop drugs
before they ever get to the street.
The difficulty is once they
reach our borders, illegal narcotics, it is almost impossible for all
the law enforcement agencies at every level, whether it is local, State
or national, to get all the drugs; particularly in the huge quantities
that are coming across our borders, again, because the drugs have not
been stopped at their source.
So there has been, in my estimation,
a major flaw in the whole strategy of the Clinton administration and really
a misappropriation of resources in this effort. The results are pretty
dramatic. In fact, let me leave this interdiction chart up here. Let me
show here the long-term trend and lifetime prevalence of heroin use. As
we see in the Reagan and Bush administration, there is some activity here
and a decline, activity, and a decline. With the institution of the Clinton-Gore
policy in 1992-93 here, this is where it would take effect, we see a dramatic
rise in the prevalence of heroin use.
It is amazing how this chart,
if we took it and had an overlay of the previous two charts, would show,
again, the failure of the current drug policy of this administration.
That is probably why President
Clinton did not want to talk about it the other night when he came before
the Congress. We see here a slight decline, and that is with the advent
of a Republican-controlled policy and the beginning of our trying to get
resources back in place.
One of the problems we have
here is the Clinton administration blocking assistance to Colombia. It
was their policy that got us into a situation where the President next
week is going to make a request to the Congress for $1.5 or $1.6 billion.
Now, he sort of mumbled over the situation in Colombia, but Colombia,
in his term of office, has become the major producer of cocaine and heroin.
Again, in 1992-1993, there
was almost no coca production in Colombia. Almost no heroin production.
Almost zip in Colombia. And what the President did through very direct
actions, and I will be glad to detail them for the House of Representatives,
he actually began the increase of heroin and cocaine production in Colombia.
The first step was in 1994.
And having served in the House of Representatives during the 1993-1994
period, let me detail what took place. I served on the committee that
oversaw drug policy. I was in the minority at that time. I personally
requested and had 130-plus Members, Republicans and Democrats, request
a hearing on this change that the Clinton administration had made, on
the Clinton's so-called drug policy, the changes that were made. Because
I saw then the beginning of a disaster. That request was ignored. One
hearing was held. One hearing specifically on the drug policy. There were
cursory hearings on the budget items.
In contrast, when the Republicans
took control of the House of Representatives, we held dozens and dozens
of hearings, both under Mr. Zeliff, who chaired the subcommittee with
drug policy responsibility, and then under the gentleman from Illinois
(Mr. Hastert), who is now the Speaker of the House and former chairman
who was involved in restarting most of the anti-narcotics effort in the
Congress, and particularly in the House of Representatives as chair of
But the first step in this
disaster and how we were going to end up, the taxpayers of this country,
with a $15.5, $1.6 billion next week, is that on May 1, 1994, the sharing
of drug trafficking intelligence and information with the governments
of Peru and Colombia ceased. This was a, and I am sorry to put this into
the Record, but a cockamamie plan and decision by the administration and
out of the Department of Defense under the Clinton administration, that
we would cease sharing intelligence information with Colombia.
Actually, this raised the
ire on both sides of the aisle. And I remember meeting the President at
the Hemispheric Conference in Miami. He was inundated by protest from
Members on both sides of the aisle, and in a closed-door meeting he said
he did not know that this had taken place. In fact, the administration
fought us in trying to restart this effort, claiming they needed additional
And I might say that the House
of Representatives and the Congress did act. And a GAO report in May of
1994 said the decision of the administration to not share this information
with Colombia made life easier for drug traffickers. But Congress did
step in, passed a law that would require the administration to provide
intelligence and information. And even then, after that took place and
the damage that was done from that, the administration continued to block
aid and assistance to Colombia.
Incidentally, in January of
1995, under heavy pressure from both Democrats and Republicans, the intelligence
sharing was resumed. The problem was again in actions by the administration,
this administration, to cut off assistance to Colombia so it could effectively
bring a halt to narcotics trafficking and narcoterrorism in its country.
In 1995 to 1996, I remember
writing a request to the administration and to others to try to get aid
to that country. In 1997, critically needed law enforcement assistance,
such as helicopters, to replace those shot down; defensive ammunition
and ballistic protective equipment was delayed by the Department of Defense.
I also brought, and was able
to find, a letter dated August 25, 1994, asking the then drug czar to
respond to Mr. Clinger about information, intelligence sharing, with the
governments of Colombia. And this was in response to protests from Congress
about the policy that the administration had adopted dealing with providing
that needed intelligence information to Colombia. I just thought it was
interesting that we have good documentation of showing exactly how this
administration and various agencies thwarted every attempt of the Congress
and request of the Congress to get needed critical equipment to Colombia.
Unfortunately, the policy
of decertifying Colombia
as not participating in the
war on drugs was inappropriately handled by the administration. Having
dealt in the development of that law in the 1980s, there is a provision
in decertification law to allow the President, when they consider whether
a country should be eligible for aid and assistance, to grant a national
interest waiver so that assistance, such as counternarcotics aid, can
get to that country. The administration failed to implement the waiver
and kept any type of assistance in the war on drugs from reaching Colombia
during a critical period.
So first we take away information
sharing up to 1995, and then from 1995 into 1998 we decertify Colombia
and not make it eligible in a manner that could be done with a waiver
to get aid and assistance so they could find narcoterrorism and drug production
and trafficking in that country. The results are absolutely incredible.
As I said, now we have 65
to 75 percent of the heroin that enters the United States coming from
Colombia. We have a majority of the cocaine produced in Colombia today.
And again, some 6 or 7 years ago Colombia was not even in the production
business of either of these hard narcotics.
Tonight I wanted to focus
on a report that I requested, and requested it last year with the Senate
caucus chairman on International Narcotics Control, the Honorable Charles
Grassley. This report, prepared by the GAO, details exactly what we suspected
about this administration's policy. The GAO report is entitled `Assets
DOD Contributes to Reducing the Illegal Drug Supply Have Declined.'
The report details some of
that decline, and again the Clinton administration's dismantling of anything
that could be termed even close to a war on drugs. The report states,
in fact on page 4, the number of flight hours dedicated to detecting and
monitoring illicit drug shipments declined from approximately 46,000 to
15,000, or a 68 percent decline from 1992 through 1999. Likewise, the
GAO report says that the number of shipped days declined from about 4,800
to 1,800, or 62 percent over the same period.
Again, this report details
a dismantling of any type of an effort that might even be termed close
to a war on drugs. The decline in DOD assets that DOD uses to carry out
its counter-drug responsibility is, according to this report, due to a
lower priority assigned to the counter-drug mission and, secondly, they
say, to reduction in defense budgets and force levels.
Now, I might say that most
of the reductions, and we looked at the interdiction, most of the reductions
to the war on drug effort were instituted in 1993-1994 by a Democrat-controlled
Congress. Only in the last several years have we been able to up the spending
in the defense category. And even some of the money that we have appropriated
for anti-narcotics efforts has been diverted, according to this report.
And even some of the assets have been diverted to other deployments, according
to this report, such as Kosovo, Haiti, and other activities directed by
The GAO report also is very
critical of DOD's really basic activities or commitments in the war on
drugs. It says that DOD has failed to develop measures to assess the effectiveness
of its counter-drug activities and recommends that such a system of measuring
the effectiveness of its counter-drug activities be instituted.
DOD officials noted that the
level of counter-drug assets will continue to be restrained by DOD's requirement
to satisfy other priorities. So basically, drugs have not become a priority.
It is also interesting to
see the results of the change in policy by the administration. And again
I just want to show what has taken place since 1980 with Ronald Reagan
and the long-term trend in lifetime prevalence of drug use. In the 1980s
we see the beginning of a decline down through the end of President Reagan's
term, and on down to a bottom when President Bush left office. The policy
adopted by this administration, back again in 1993, with the election
of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, shows a steep return to
the prevalence of drug use. And this is lifetime drug use.
If we took this chart and
just showed our youth, the statistics are even more dramatic.
Now, this report that again
I bring before the House tonight, the GAO report on the decline of our
military assets in the war on drugs, has some startling information and
comments. I want to take them right out of the report.
According to General Wilhelm,
and General Wilhelm is the general in charge of SOUTHCOM, SOUTHCOM is
the Southern Command, which is in charge really of this surveillance operation,
the detection and interdiction effort. According to General Wilhelm, the
Southern Command commander, the Command can only detect and monitor 15
percent of key routes in the overall drug trafficking area about 15 percent
of the time. And this is in the report, and I met with General Wilhelm
during the recess and he confirmed this statement.
What is even of greater concern
and should be a concern to every Member of Congress and every American
citizen is not only have they closed down any semblance of the war on
drugs and cost-effectively dismantled interdiction and we are down to
this capability, but even as this report was written, we had the further
damage done to this whole effort by the United States last May being dislodged
from Howard Air Force base in Panama.
Almost all of the operations
for forward surveillance and forward operating locations in the war on
drugs is located at Howard Air Force Base in Panama. All flights ceased
last May 1. So we have had an incredible gap left wide.
That is why we continue to
see incredible amounts of heroin. And this is not the heroin of the 1980s
that was 10 percent pure. This is the heroin of the 1990s that is now
70 and 80 percent pure. That is why we continue to see the death and destruction
that we see.
I come from an area that has
had heroin overdose deaths, particularly among its young people, that
now exceed the homicides in Central Florida. And I represent one of the
most prosperous, well-educated districts in the Nation. So we have seen
an incredible number of deaths.
I met with local law enforcement
officials and particularly the High Intensity Drug Traffic Area Group
that I helped establish to deal with this problem of, again, drugs coming
into our region in Central Florida. I met with them during the recess,
and I was stunned to hear their commentary that the deaths have basically
leveled out. We have still a record number of deaths but they have leveled
out some. But the overdoses continue to explode.
The only reason that the deaths
are not greater in my area and other areas is that medical emergency treatment
has become better in helping save young lives and people who suffer from
drug overdose. That is sort of a sad commentary that we have even more
overdoses, and the only way that we are really making any slight progress
is through additional and swifter and better medical treatment for overdose
But if my colleagues want
to know where the illegal narcotics are coming from, this basically says
that the war on drugs was closed down in 1993 by the Clinton administration.
It does not paint a very pretty picture and I know that people are not
happy to see this by the commander of our Southern Command who is in charge
of that effort, but that basically is what has taken place.
The report is even more disturbing
in that in this chart we conducted a hearing the morning of the President's
State of the Union address on January 27 and had DOD, the Coast Guard,
and U.S. Customs come in, whose activities are also detailed in this record,
but we use this chart and it is taken right from the report again and
it shows that in the blue here it shows the requested assets of the Department
of Defense by SOUTHCOM.
So our commander who is in
charge of the interdiction, the important part of keeping drugs from our
shores, requested, and these are his requests in blue and part of the
graph here in red is what asset he received from DOD.
So we see the requests here
again in blue and the red is actually what he got. This is even more disheartening
because Congress has put more money into defense and defense in this administration
are providing fewer and fewer assets in the war on drugs.
Now, I take great exception
to anyone who tells me that the war on drugs is a failure. Because the
war on drugs, and I can bring back the chart of the Clinton administration
and the Bush-Reagan administration, here, my colleagues, is the failure.
It is very evident. This details exactly what took place. That is the
failure. And how in heaven's name can Congress appropriate additional
money to DOD, and we have appropriated some of the first increases since
again the fall of communism and the Berlin Wall to defense.
Now, I know a lot of that
has been diverted to Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, and Somalia, but even in this
scenario it is just unbelievable that very few assets and the policy of
this administration has diverted assets again from this effort.
Now they are coming forward
with an emergency appropriation for Colombia. The situation in Colombia,
as I said, was really generated by direct policy decisions of this administration,
and we are now going to pay for them in a very big way with a very big
tab. But this shows again the lack of putting any real cost-effective
method of fighting illegal narcotics.
This chart, and I will hold
it up for just a minute, shows the decline in the assets that DOD contributes
to reducing illegal drugs. And in this chart, this center red here shows
DOD decline. A little bit of the slack has been taken up since 1995 by
the Coast Guard, which is in this line, I believe it is green, you are
dealing with a color blind Member of Congress; and this blue line here
is the total assets contributed.
So some of the slack has been
taken up by the Coast Guard and also by U.S. Customs. That is the only
reason things are not even worse today even with the commitment that the
new majority has made since 1995 in the war on drugs.
And again this is the result
of what we see today. And these are the latest statistics on heroin. This
is provided to me by DEA, our Drug Enforcement Agency, and they can tell
us because of scientific analysis, just like DNA analysis, where heroin
is coming from. We know South America, and this is all Colombia, 65 to
70 percent is coming from there.
What is scary here is the
chart I got from 1997 shows Mexico, which again in the early 1990s was
a very very small producer of heroin, is now a 17-percent producer. And
that is also I think directly as a result of this administration's policy
of give Mexico every possible trade benefit, give Mexico every possible
financial benefit, give Mexico access to our financial and international
assistance programs, and get nothing in return.
And what we have gotten in
return is an increase in heroin produced in that country. And then southeast
Asia produces about 14 percent. But the bulk of the heroin that we have
seen that is flooding into our streets and our communities, and we have
to remember that this red portion would not even have appeared in the
early 1990s has been as a direct result of not targeting, going after,
the source of illegal narcotics and again in a very cost effective way.
Now, you may say can that
be effective. Let me say, since 1995 when we took over, I went with Mr.
Zeliff and then also with the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert) who
chaired this subcommittee into Peru and Bolivia. We met with President
Fujimori, we met with Hugo Banzer Suarez and other leaders of those countries
and asked what will it take to reduce cocaine production. And we got small
amounts of money, it is almost insignificant in the amounts of money that
we are spending and the impact on our economy, but somewhere between $20
million or $40 million out of $178 billion to those countries.
In 2 years of work and 2 years
of planning, we have been able to reduce the cocaine production in Bolivia
by 53 percent and by almost 60 percent in Peru, which is absolutely remarkable.
So very little money has helped curtail that.
Now, there is one problem
that we have seen, and in fact that is production of cocaine, and this
is from one of the newspapers just a few days ago, January 19 in an Associated
Press, `Cocaine Production Surges in Colombia.'
Why is it surging in Colombia?
Because the resources that Colombia has requested still have not gotten
to Colombia, the resources that this Congress appropriated to Colombia.
We appropriated $300 million to Colombia in the last fiscal year, which
December. We are into October
in a new fiscal year.
To date, this administration
has continued to block or bungle getting aid to Colombia. The record is
Now, my colleagues may have
heard that Colombia is now the third largest recipient of United States
foreign assistance. Well, that would be all well and great and factual
if they got that money. But, in fact, the record of this administration
in blocking and thwarting and bungling getting aid to Colombia is just
Our hearing helped detail
some of that. Our closed-door meetings with the Department of Defense,
Department of State and other agencies indicated a horrible job and failure
in getting assistance there.
Let us take a minute and look
at what has happened with the $300 million that Congress appropriated
in the past fiscal year. Where is that money? Less than $100 million,
a third of that, is actually in Colombia today. Most of $100 million,
or one-third of that, is in the form of three Blackhawk helicopters.
It is absolutely unbelievable.
It is mind boggling. Every Member of Congress should be contacting the
Department of State tomorrow and asking why those helicopters that we
have given to and asked for for 3 or 4 years and finally gotten down to
Colombia late last fall are still not flying because they do not have
protective armor, they do not have ammunition to even conduct combat or
participate in the war on drugs.
What an incredible bungling.
We did not hear anything about that from the President when he spoke at
the podium last week. We will not hear about that next week when the President
asks for $1.5 or $1.6 billion of hard-earned taxpayer money. We will not
also hear the incredible story, I do not have this totally documented
but I am told by staff that during the holidays when everyone was concerned
about the terrorist threat and everything, that the ammunition that was
to be delivered years ago and requested and appropriated partly through
the $300 million and even promised before that as surplus material for
the war on drugs to Colombia, the ammunition was delivered to the back
door loading dock of the State Department. This in fact is not only the
administration that closed down the war on drugs, this is the administration
that bungled the war on drugs. I do not mind putting whatever resource
we can cost effectively into these countries to combat illegal narcotics.
But what an incredible fiasco to find out that the helicopters that we
paid for still are not conducting a war on drugs, to find out they are
not armed, to find out they are idled, to find out that the ammunition
we have requested time and time again cannot even be delivered to the
country in an orderly and timely fashion.
And what do we see? Cocaine
production surges in Colombia. Now, I wonder why.
This report also details an
incredible story about a request from the United States Ambassador to
Peru. Now, that would be a Clinton appointee. The U.S. Ambassador to Peru
on page 17 and 18 of this report warned in an October 1998 letter to the
State Department that the reduction in air support could have a serious
impact on the price of coca and coca production in Peru. Here we put in
place a very cost-effective and effective program and we have gotten a
60 percent reduction in cocaine and coca production in Peru. The Ambassador
asked for assistance and warned that the reduction that is detailed here,
the reduction that this administration has directed basically taking us
out of this effort is going to result in additional coca production. I
was stunned to learn by information provided to me at the Southcom briefing
in Miami by our leaders down there that for the first time they are now
seeing an increase in production of cocaine and coca in Peru again. It
is incredible that we cannot get minimal resources and cost-effective
resources to the source countries to stop illegal narcotics production
and then get the drugs before they get to our shores, interdict them and
at least provide the intelligence and surveillance information to countries
that have the will like President Fujimora who instituted a shootdown
policy. The drug dealers go up and they shot them down. Some people did
not want us to provide that information to the government of Peru. Some
people said that was cruel and unusual punishment on those drug dealers.
I would like to take those who believe that and let them talk to the mothers
and fathers in my district that have lost a young person to drug overdose.
I would like to take them to the 15,900 Americans who just in 1 year to
their families, the survivors who have lost a loved one and see what they
think about this failed policy.
I think it is also important
to see what this policy has wrought on this Nation of late. Just during
the recess in the last few days, there was a report, and actually this
is from last week, this is January 27, ironically the same day the President
stood a few feet from where I am now standing and talked to us about the
State of the Union. He did not talk about the State of the Union in this
headline: Drug Use Explodes in Rural America. Not only have our urban
centers been decimated by illegal narcotics, not only has now our suburban
area, the other parts of the country, and I represent a
suburban area that had really
not been victim here, but now, thanks to this great policy and this great
failure, we have managed to make our rural areas a killing fields. The
statistics are unbelievable. The percent of eighth graders who said they
used a drug at least once, the highest percentage of this use in marijuana,
cocaine, crack, heroin and amphetamines is now in our rural areas. We
did not hear the President talk about that. Nor did we hear him talk about
this failed policy. And now we know why, because the legacy of this administration
to address the most serious social problem we face in our Nation, that
is again destroying countless lives, that again is impacting our youth
in every part of our country, metropolitan, suburban and now rural, we
see why we have gotten ourselves into this situation by again failed policies.
It is nice to talk about who
failed, and I do not want to be partisan in that, but I think people must
be held accountable. I should also report that the Republican majority
has begun to put this effort back together. We have begun to restore the
cost-effective programs, the one I described in stopping cocaine production
in Peru and Bolivia. We would like to restart it in Colombia, but we need
an administration that is capable of at least delivering the resources
to our allies in this effort and restarting a real war on drugs where
the drugs are produced, where the drugs are coming from. Additionally,
we have brought the Coast Guard back and United States customs and provided
additional funding and resources. We are back up to the 1992-1993 funding
levels for that.
Now, we know that just restarting
interdiction and source country programs is not the answer. I had proposed
legislation that would require our media and particularly those broadcast
media, because I know television, radio impact our lives and particularly
our young people, influence their opinion more than just about anything
today. But I had proposed that they devote more of their time. In fact,
we mandate that that time, public airtime be given to drug messages and
not just at odd hours but throughout prime time. The President, of course,
has had a different approach, which was spending, and he proposed expenditure
and purchase of those. The compromise, and, of course, we must deal in
a compromise situation to get anything done here because we have a great
diversity and a very narrow majority, the compromise was a plan that combined
my plan with the President's plan, and we have $1 billion appropriated
for 3 years for drug education, we are 1 year into it, and the other part
of the compromise was to have at least a match in donated time. We are
1 year into it. I am not real pleased with the beginning. I thought it
was not a good start. Hopefully we will have even more effective drug
and antinarcotics ads, education ads for our young people and adults,
because it is important that education along with eradication, interdiction,
enforcement and also treatment be part of a multifaceted approach.
I look forward to working
with my colleagues and bringing that multifaceted approach. I am pleased
to report again on this issue to the Congress and the American people.
As of March 13, 2000, this
document is also available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H01FE0-533: