by Rep. Melvin Watt (D-North Carolina), March 29, 2000
Mr. WATT of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite
number of words.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in support
of the Pelosi amendment and in opposition to the underlying provisions
in the bill dealing with funding of the military in Colombia to address
a serious problem that cannot be really addressed by the military.
Let me start by stipulating
that we have a serious drug problem in this country. I do not think anybody
would debate that issue. Part of the reason we have a serious drug problem
in the country is that we do not have any kind of rational plan to deal
with drug prevention or drug treatment or the consequences of drug use.
Instead of coming up with
a plan, we come up with reactionary approaches. We come up with emergency
responses. And there is no ongoing plan to deal with this. And that is
exactly what we are doing again in this emergency appropriation bill.
Instead of coming up with a plan, as the Pelosi amendment has suggested
that we need to do, we are funding this on an emergency basis.
Let me be clear that I do
not support having the United States military involved in our drug prevention
efforts. And we have had a debate many times on this floor, and we have
had a policy of not having the United States military involved in drug
prevention in this country.
So why in God's name would
we, not supporting our own military being involved in drug prevention
in our own country, allocate $1.7 billion to a corrupt military in Colombia
to deal with drug interdiction? A military that is part and parcel of
the drug problem itself because they have been involved with drug dealing
and selling and shipment over and over again in addition to being involved
with some of the worst human rights abuses that have taken place in that
Why would we as part of a
plan, other than as a reactionary approach, where we are just going to
throw money after something and send in the military so we can go home
and tell folks we have done something? Why would we give money to a corrupt
military in another country to do a job that we would not even have the
military do in our own country?
This is symptomatic of our
approach to issues that are difficult issues. We put some money out there.
We say we are sending in the military to solve a problem that is not a
military problem, and then we go home and tell our constituents, well,
we have done something to solve this problem.
This is exactly the approach
we should not be pursuing, and I hope my colleagues will support the Pelosi
amendment and reject the underlying provisions in this bill, and support
the Ramstad and Campbell amendment that strikes out all of this provision,
because it has no place in our policy, no place in a plan, a rational
plan to deal with drug abuse in this country.
As of March 30, 2000, this
document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H29MR0-173: