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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Indiana), March 29, 2000
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Chairman, I have great respect for the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad) who has offered this amendment. I would share with the gentleman that I do agree with him on some of his points, especially when he said that we have to go after the demand. I agree with him.

But when it comes to the drug issue, I think, as a Nation, we have to embrace a comprehensive approach, one that is, in fact, multifaceted. So when we do that, I stop and I think about, yes, the importance of education. I think about the importance of rehabilitation and treatment, but there are also other important factors out there.

It is deterrence. It is punishment, punishments of users, of pushers and of kingpins. There is also the glamorization of utilization of drugs, whether it is by Hollywood or stories, TV shows. What about going after the source countries, as the chairman just spoke of, or what about through the transit countries, where the drugs move out of the source countries and transit through other avenues and to find its way on the streets of this country?

What about the precursor chemicals that are coming from our other ally countries, such as Germany and others in Europe, and their relationships into South America, that they have those relationships dating all the way back to pre-World War II, they sell those chemicals, and then going after those precursor chemicals.

Talking about a multifaceted approach, when a Member stands here on the floor and says we are going to war in Colombia, give me a break. We are not going to war in Colombia. We are going to war on drugs.

I was rather stunned in the Committee on Armed Services when a member of this administration came so very cautious and concerned to tell the members of the Committee on Armed Services that in Colombia we are not choosing sides. Not choosing sides? What, are you going to then somehow be neutral? You want to defend the drug cartel, the narcoterrorists?

What do you mean you are not choosing sides? Who are you going to be for? Are you going to stand to defend a president who wants to engage us in the war on drugs in Colombia, the longest-serving democracy in this hemisphere, with the United States? Yes, that is who we need to stand with. So they want to engage in a comprehensive approach in the, quote, war on drugs; should we embrace them? The answer is yes.

We have great debates on this floor about the United States, we should only engage in certain areas of the world to protect vital national security interests. Can you define an interest that can be more vital to all of us than the drugs and the effects they have upon our children? I cannot think of one.

We will spend $10 billion in Kosovo. And people cannot relate as to why we are spending these monies in Kosovo, when, in fact, if we would spend half of that in an endeavor to stop drugs from coming into our country, look how far ahead we would be, the 52,000 lives that are lost each year, I say to the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad).

I would urge Members to vote against the gentleman's amendment for a comprehensive approach.

As of March 30, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H29MR0-173:

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