In his first interview since being confirmed to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday the bellicose analogy [of the drug policy to a war] was a barrier to dealing with the nation's drug issues.The fact that such an approach would be "more controversial" is yet another example of the down-the-looking-glass stupidity of the drug war.
"Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a 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.
The Obama administration is likely to deal with drugs as a matter of public health rather than criminal justice alone, with treatment's role growing relative to incarceration, Mr. Kerlikowske said.
Already, the administration has called for an end to the disparity in how crimes involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine are dealt with. Critics of the law say it unfairly targeted African-American communities, where crack is more prevalent.