- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 28, 2001

Robert Charles´ April 24 Commentary column, “Shoot-down fallout,” about the mistaken shoot-down over Peru of a plane carrying American missionaries, contains a fallacy in logic commonplace among zealots of every stripe.

Mr. Charles states, “Make no mistake: Ultimate responsibility for this friendly fire accident lies with the unrepentant drug lords who are the unambiguous first cause of the Peruvian shoot-down policy.” He is incorrect.

Responsibility for this incident lies with whomever gave the order to shoot. His statement makes as much sense as saying, “Ultimate responsibility for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City lies with politicians in Washington who caused Timothy McVeigh to hate the government.”

Yes, drug lords and dealers are criminals. Yes, doing drugs is patently stupid. But allowing zealots such as Mr. Charles to be involved in policies involving civilian life and liberty is equally misguided. It is no wonder the war on drugs has led to such loss of liberties as banking privacy and to the search and seizure of property by government officials while, in spite of it all, kids down the street are getting high, anyway.


ANDREW CURRIE

Alexandria


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