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The Nation : Lawmaker Faults Bush Drug War Policy

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Narcotics, charged that President Bush has failed to make the war on drugs a priority in the nation’s foreign policy and has sown confusion among South American leaders. Fresh from a meeting in Ecuador with more than 200 officials from five Andean nations, the congressman said it was “embarrassing” to talk with his South American counterparts about the U.S. commitment to battling drugs. “They want leadership from Bush--they are pushing for a drug summit,” he said. Rangel said the Bush Administration continues to treat the fight against drugs almost exclusively as a law enforcement problem when it should be at the top of the foreign policy agenda. The Administration is still not prepared to use discussions on restructuring Latin American debt, as well as on military aid, to press for pledges from South American governments to wipe out drug production, he said.


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