Unbelievable. Awesome sign of the times. Gil Kerlikowske, the new White House drug czar, signaled Wednesday his openness to rethinking the government’s approach to fighting drug use.
The Obama administration’s new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting “a war on drugs,” a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.
“Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or ‘war on product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” he said. We’re not at war with people in this country.
Mr. Kerlikowske’s comments are a signal that the Obama administration is set to follow a more moderate — and likely more controversial — stance on the nation’s drug problems. Prior administrations talked about pushing treatment and reducing demand while continuing to focus primarily on a tough criminal-justice approach.
My thoughts? IT’S ABOUT TIME a U.S. drug czar made sense!!!
True story on Kerlikowske: I was living in Seattle when a big snow came. Attending law school. Walking around downtown Seattle with a friend. A black SUV rolls by. Stops by a car that was stuck in the snow. Two police officers get out. One looks highly decorated. Both officers push the skidding car off the ice. It drives away, freed from its frozen trap.
I immediately recognized the decorated officer as then-Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske. I say, “Yo man, that was cool!” He smiles, salutes, and jumps back into the SUV. Drives away.
As far as police officers go, Kerlikowske was a good one. Had his head on straight. Gained respect from Seattle’s black community. He was an advocate, a reasonable guy, and bridged ideological differences. Obama chose right.
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