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Decriminalizing the Use of Drugs

April 17, 1988

I must admit that this is, indeed, a novel notion.

However, to state that the "war on drugs" actually "produces the crime," is not only a monumental leap of logic, but is, at best, vaguely reminiscent of the old riddle--"which came first, the chicken or the egg."

Morse's arguments in favor of decriminalization are also vaguely familiar.

Twenty years ago, while in Vietnam, I heard a young captain propose a solution to that war. His "solution" was for the Americans to claim they had already won the war, and all go home.

Morse contends that "The drug war is unwinnable." He also asserts that "The argument for decriminalization is decidedly not permissive or blindly libertarian." It would appear that just as an addict develops an expanded tolerance for drugs, so too has certain segments of our society developed an expanded tolerance for crime--as long as it is a crime that is happening to someone else.

With all due respect to Prof. Morse and his views, I fear that he has completely missed the basic issue.

The basic issue is, of course, one of moral philosophy; not merely expediency.

W.W. HERRMANN

Pasadena

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