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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

May 24, 2011 at 4:00 PM

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War on drugs continues south of the border

Posted by Letters editor

Surrender and sign here

I’m writing about Neal Peirce’s thoughtful column: “Failed U.S. policies on drugs take a toll south of the border” [Opinion, May 22].

Our so-called drug war and our war and occupation of Iraq are very similar. Both were started with lies and false pretenses.

The war in Iraq is over. We won. What we have now is an occupation of Iraq. Occupations cannot be won. Who is going to surrender and sign the peace treaty?

The so-called “war on drugs” cannot be won. Who is going to surrender and sign the peace treaty?

The war on drugs is an occupation, a career, an industry and huge bureaucracy. The goal of the drug war is not to win, but rather to continue and to expand.

The only way to end the drug war is to legalize the products that are now prohibited and sell them in legal, licensed and regulated business establishments like we do with the drug alcohol and tobacco products.

Those benefiting from our drug-prohibition policies don’t want this to happen and they will do everything in their power to make sure it doesn’t happen.

— Kirk Muse, Mesa, Ariz.

Something to show

One hundred years ago, opium was the enemy and a bare handful of highly principled Americans persuaded the international community to restrict opium production.

They believed that no government should benefit from the opium business, as the British, Spanish and French had done in China, the Philippines and Vietnam, respectively.

They were tight on principle, but wrong on logic. They must have believed that if opium supply decreased by, say 25 percent, that addiction would also decrease by 25 percent.

But it does not. While many casual users quit because of price and fear of arrest — addicts don’t. They do whatever it takes to get cash for the higher price. They, not the casual users, fuel the wealth and violence of the illegal market.

Recent policy experiments in Europe indicate that if we had focused on the addiction (rather than the drug) we would have something to show for our 100-year effort.

— John Chase, Palm Harbor, Fl.

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