If any of you thought that it should be easy to change the formula of funding for the drug war, this piece will help demonstrate the sad reality.
Remember when the drug policy budget for 2011 came out? Despite constant messages from the White House and the Drug Czar that the emphasis needs to be on treatment rather than on enforcement, on demand rather than supply, the new budget the unveiled showed increases in every major category of supply-side and enforcement-side drug war with just some shifts within those areas. It’s like they gave in entirely to the lobbying pressures to keep the drug war fully funded even when we’re broke.
And yet, check out the grillinggiven yesterday to the Drug Czar in the House:
At a March 3 hearing of the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) asked, â€œWere you consulted, Mr. Kerlikowske, or anyone else here, when the administration proposed to cut the Coast Guard positions by 1,100, to mothball five recently upgraded helicopters, reducing the Coast Guardâ€™s anti-drug operations in Florida, where I just happen to live, and the Caribbean â€“ which we just cited was the main source of these people putting this crap in â€“ that would dramatically reduce our nationâ€™s capability? Were you consulted on these cuts?â€ Mica asked.
â€œNo,â€ Kerlikowske said. […]
â€œActually, both sides of the aisle were just stunned at the administrationâ€™s proposal,â€ Mica said of the proposed cuts. […]
â€œThe Coast Guard is also stretched thin – responsible for carrying out a range of missions, from port security to disaster response, drug smuggling interdiction, and the protection of our maritime resources,â€ Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said at the Feb. 24 hearing where Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified about the budget.
I hate to be right, but, in my initial post on the budget, I said:
Because there are so many entrenched interests in law enforcement, well organized interests with lobbyists and guns, that nothing can ever be cut. The only question when this bill reaches Congress is how much they try to increase the law enforcement/supply side numbers.