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New York Times Editor A.M. Rosenthal Terrified by End of Drug War


June 1993

The apparent end of a law-enforcement oriented war on drugs is a terrifying prospect for aging New York Times editor A.M. Rosenthal (A.M. Rosenthal, "On My Mind: Dismantling The War," New York Times, 5/18/93, A21).

Rosenthal writes:

"Before it is too late, Americans should realize that the concept of the war against drugs is in danger of being dismantled and the result will be creeping legalization.

If that is what they want, fine -- they can get it just by keeping silent.

"But if they are among the huge majority of Americans who believe legalization would build drug addiction into American life forever then they would make themselves heard now. There is still time, while decisions are being made in government."

Federal judges who have refused to handle drug cases should resign, writes Rosenthal, or be asked to leave by Congress. Mandatory sentences should not only be perpetuated, but applied more broadly. Janet Reno is undermining our law enforcement officers by suggesting that interdiction is ineffective, writes Rosenthal. Further, more drug arrests are needed, because "reducing drug arrests immediately reduces the hope in treatment."