- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Not a fitting tribute

It was sad to read about the enthusiasm the new Madame Tussauds wax museum had for putting former Mayor Marion Barry on display (“Madame Tussauds plots to make Barry immortal,” Page 1, Wednesday).

Mr. Barry is the man who ran Washington for almost 20 years as if it were a banana republic, with little or no outcry. It is because of his policies and corrupt leadership over so many years that the city has nothing left but a crippling legacy that we are still trying to dig out of.

Hopefully this statue will serve as a constant reminder to us of our shameful past and not the pride of self-delusion.

FRANCOIS KRODEL

Washington

Losing momentum in the war on drugs

John P. Walters, the head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), has finally awakened from his long sleep and discovered that Mexican drug cartels are attacking our public lands by the cultivation and trafficking of marijuana. Mr. Walters recently stated, “•ur national treasures are now ground zero” (“Cartels grow pot on ‘national treasures,’ drug czar says,” Page 1, Monday).

It was six years ago that Mr. Walters was appointed as drug czar by President Bush. He replaced Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who held that same position for five years at the end of the Clinton administration.

Mr. Walters was made aware of the threat to our “national treasures” upon assuming his position at ONDCP more than six years ago. The threat had been identified by the various High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) regional programs long ago. The HIDTA Program is operated as a component of ONDCP. The regional HIDTAs had been aggressively using their federal, state and local law-enforcement collaboration and intelligence capabilities in identifying and fighting this problem through the regional HIDTA task forces operating under Director McCaffrey.

Mr. Walters and the Bush administration instead did their best to try to eliminate the 28 regional HIDTA programs and might have succeeded if it had not been for the efforts of members of Congress such as Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat. Now, Mr. Walters is finally coming to his senses. He has wasted more than six years by doing nothing to address a threat that had been identified more than a decade ago.

This is just another example of the ineptness of the Bush administration and the poor quality of the people he has appointed to important positions during his terms as president. Mr. Bush has not only lost momentum in the war in Iraq, but also on the war on drugs.

LES FRANCIS

Former Office of National Drug Control Policy Staff Member

Rockville

Enforce current immigration laws

I read the article “County’s alien crackdown may spread to other areas,” which dealt with the enforcement of current immigration laws (Metropolitan, July 13). I found the article to be fair in its representation of the subject matter; however, I take issue with the statement made by Arlington County Board Vice Chairman Walter Tejada.

Mr. Tejada referred to concerned citizens as “a vocal, angry minority” because they spoke out in reference to the effect of illegal immigration on county services.

Perhaps Mr. Tejada’s appreciation for illegal aliens overlooks a few important points: If people arrive in the United States and they did not come through legal channels, they arrived illegally. The fact that they got into the United States does not in any way qualify them for legal status. His argument is made irrelevant by the fact that illegal aliens have no rights, as they broke the law by coming here without the proper authorization. It should come as no surprise that undocumented aliens add financial burden to state and county social services. Mr. Tejada labels me, as a taxpayer who is not interested in paying higher taxes, and other concerned citizens as angry and divisive. I just want folks to follow the rules or obey the laws. If Mr. Tejada is insinuating that people, regardless of their legal or illegal status, should not follow state and federal law, he is promoting chaos.

I am concerned that, as a nation, we send the wrong message to people outside of our country by allowing mass amnesties and special status for people who break laws. We are in essence saying, “It does not matter how you got in the United States; just get in, and we will take care of you.” This implies that our laws are not to be taken seriously.

I support the votes filed by Sen. John Warner and Rep. Frank Wolf in favor of supporting the current immigration laws instead of allowing a mass amnesty. As a taxpayer in the great state of Virginia, I am in favor of standing in support of our existing laws, not caving in to special interest.

PATRICK WHITE

Sterling, Va.

First, do no harm

“Proceed with caution” — but, by all means, proceed.

The Monday opinion piece by Biotechnology Industry Organization President and CEO Jim Greenwood asks Congress to carefully weigh legislation before allowing generic biotech drugs to be produced (“Proceed with caution,” Op-Ed). His group’s real end-game is obfuscation and continued delay.

The current proposal before the Senate that would guarantee 12 years of exclusivity for a brand-name company’s biotech drug is excessive. Even worse, as it currently stands, the Senate legislation would ensure that even a minor product change could get 12 more years of guaranteed exclusivity, destroying any chance a generic might have of entering the market and thus destroying the public’s chance to benefit from an affordable generic product.

Mr. Greenwood’s “safety” and “don’t-stifle-innovation” cautions are red herrings. These same arguments were also heard when Congress debated the establishment of the Hatch-Waxman Act 1984. But, contrary to brand-name pharmaceutical companies’ dire warnings then, the generic industry did not hurt pharmaceutical research. Indeed, just the opposite is true — generics spurred competition and provided safe and effective medication at lower prices.

Here is the real warning Congress should heed: American generic companies are moving their production facilities to Europe, where there is an appropriate drug approval process in place for generic biotech drugs. A suitable pathway for the approval of generic biotech therapies must also be established in the United States before patients, consumers and taxpayers lose the benefits of this vital industry. Congress should act now to pass legislation that will enable patients to access safe and effective generic versions of biotech drugs in a timely manner.

THOMAS A. SCHATZ

President

Citizens Against Government Waste

Washington

GREGORY CONKO

Senior Fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington

MATT KIBBE

President

FreedomWorks

Washington

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