by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Indiana), March 29, 2000
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
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
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: