- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2007

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

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