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Beheading of Convicted Drug Dealers Discussed by Bennett

June 16, 1989|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — William J. Bennett, federal drug policy coordinator, said Thursday night he had no moral qualms about beheading convicted drug dealers.

"Morally, I don't have any problem with that at all," Bennett said when asked on the CNN program "Larry King Live" call-in television show, whether he would support Saudi Arabian-style beheadings to deter drug dealers.

"One of the things that I think is a problem is that we are not doing enough that is morally proportional to the nature of the offense," he added.

"What we need to do is find some constitutional and legally permissible way to do what this caller suggests--not literally to behead, but to make the punishment fit the crime--and the crime is horrible."

Idea 'Legally Difficult'

Bennett, who heads the Bush Administration's fight against illegal drugs, said the idea of beheading was "morally plausible" but legally difficult.

"I mean ask most Americans: if they saw somebody out on the street selling drugs to their kid, what they would feel morally justified in doing--tear them limb from limb.

"There's no moral problem there. I used to teach ethics--trust me," he told the talk show host.

Bennett went on to say that he would like to see more use of the death penalty.

Bennett, whose full title is director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has overall responsibility for coordinating U.S. anti-drug enforcement efforts.

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