Dear Mr. Soros:
I had the opportunity to attend your very interesting presentation on October 28th at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., and thereafter read your book, ‘The Bubble of American Supremacy.’ While there is considerable validity, in my opinion, to many of your concepts and philosophies, there is one area where I think you radically depart from reality and from your own guidelines for an open society. Drug policy!
My purpose in writing is not to critique your book, but to seek a better understanding of your position on the issue of Drug Policy Reform. One of your concepts of an open society is that “.…We must treat our beliefs as provisionally true while keeping them open to constant reexamination.” First hand experience of the death and destruction of numerous family members from drug dependence has led to my own rather extensive involvement in drug prevention activities. I have learned a lot about the causes, consequences and solutions to substance abuse. But, to the extent my beliefs are erroneous, maybe you can enlighten me. To the extent your position stems from only a superficial understanding of the devastating impacts of drugs on all societies in the free world, maybe my comments will change your position.
I would like to challenge the following comments or points in your book.
- Drug Policy of The United States – On Page 26 and 27 of your book, your wrote “…When I decided to extend the operations of my Open Society Foundation to the United States, I chose drug policy as one of the first fields of engagement. I felt that drug policy was the area in which the United States was in greatest danger of violating the principles of open society. I did not claim that I had all the right answers, but I was sure of one thing: The war on drugs was doing more harm than the drugs themselves – and on that point the evidence is clear. Drugs kill a few people, incapacitate many more, and give parents sleepless nights. On the other hand, the war on drugs has put millions behind bars, disrupted entire communities, particularly in the inner cities, and destabilized entire countries.”
Substance abuse kills Americans at a rate in excess of 1,000 people per week. Drug induced deaths alone account for almost half. 9.4% of the population over 12 years old (almost one in ten) are dependent on drugs or alcohol. The parasitic nature of their existence and the wreckage they impose on society in the form of crime, health care, welfare, mental health, child care and education costs the other 90% of the taxpayers roughly $294 billion per annum. That’s about $1,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. The average addict commits 100 crimes per annum. 70% to 80% of crime is committed while people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Mr. Soros, nothing in modern history compares with this rate of death and destruction. In comparison, it took 18 months to claim 1,000 American soldiers in Iraq. We lose that many Americans every week because of substance abuse. We lost roughly 3,000 people on 9/11. That many Americans die every three weeks from substance abuse. Drugs don’t just “…..kill a few people.” Drugs kill more people than any event in modern history. They kill more people than all other forms of terrorism combined.
Drugs don’t just “…..give parents sleepless nights.” Drugs cause immeasurable pain and suffering for parents whose children have died, and for those of us who endure the endless agony of watching our beautiful young people lose all of their potential for life, as drug addiction turns them to trash and leads them to an early grave. 5 million Americans today are raising their grandchildren, because their own adult children are incarcerated or otherwise incapable of raising their own children. Sleepless nights? Indeed!
Drugs are this nation’s biggest weapon of mass destruction. Why shouldn’t people who sell illegal weapons be incarcerated and treated as any other terrorist whose sole intent is to profit by killing or destroying others? This particularly pertains to those who market drugs to children.
Legalizing the sale of illicit drugs will not fix the problem of death and destruction. Making drugs more readily available will just exacerbate the problem, as we have seen from alcohol, which conquers more people than drugs.
Nor does providing clean needles to heroin addicts prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. It only enables drug addicts to expedite their own demise, as 80% of them die from drug overdose. In the heat of feeding their passion for more and more of what is killing them, they frankly couldn’t care less about contracting a lesser disease. To use tax dollars to enable druggies to self exterminate is morally and legally wrong. And, for those who encourage and augment the addiction in the first place to claim some later form of compassion by helping addicts continue their addiction is highly hypocritical.
It is not the war on drugs that has caused this problem. It is the drugs, and those who sell them, that have caused this problem.
There are several concepts in the following quotes from your book that seem to be in direct conflict with your financial support to organizations that are trying to legalize and proliferate the use of drugs …. such as The Drug Policy Alliance. You stated:
• The Responsibility to Protect: Core Principles (Pages 104 and 105)
I.1. Basic Principles
A. State sovereignty implies responsibility, and the primary responsibility for the protection of its people lies with the state itself.
B. Where a population is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to half or avert it, the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect…
I. 2. Elements
A. The responsibility to prevent: to address both the root causes and direct causes of internal conflict and other man-made crises putting populations at risk.
B. The responsibility to react: to respond to situations of compelling human need with appropriate measures, which may include coercive measures like sanctions and international prosecution, and in extreme cases military intervention.
C. The responsibility to rebuild: to provide, particularly after a military intervention, full assistance with recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation, addressing the causes of the harm the intervention was designed to halt or avert.
A. Prevention is the single most important dimension of the responsibility to protect:< prevention options should also be exhausted before intervention is contemplated, and more commitment and resources must be devoted to it. …..
You have assailed the Bush Doctrine with regard to Iraq. Perhaps the Bush Doctrine with regard to Drugs deserves some accolades. Since the President has been in office, drug use has declined. Supply lines have been seriously interrupted in several key locations, such as Columbia and Mexico. Drug legalization efforts have been thwarted in many locations, in spite of being outspent 30 to 1. There are now more than 1500 Drug Courts whereby arrestees receive treatment in lieu of incarceration. Of greater importance, the President has recognized and allocated funds for drug prevention where it begins, with school age adolescents.
The President and John Walters, the Drug Czar, are responding to the compelling need to reduce harm by encouraging prevention activities that are known to work, where they need to work; with school age children. The Supreme Court decision in 2002 cleared the way for schools to implement random drug testing programs for athletes and extra curricular activities.
Random Drug Testing has reduced drug use by between 67% and 90% in the work place, schools (where tried) and the military. The vast majority of all those who die or have been destroyed by drugs got hooked between ages 12 to 17, according to the experts, where their bodies and brains are much more susceptible to harm and addiction than adults. Research has shown that if we get kids to adulthood prior to first significant use of alcohol or drugs, they should never have a problem. It behooves us then “…..to respond to situations of compelling human need with appropriate measures.” That would certainly include take all measures possible to safe guard our young people, and in turn the future of our nation.
If, as you have pointed out, “… Prevention is the single most important dimension of the responsibility to protect,” then it follows that our governments at all levels should mandate or at least encourage the use of the best known prevention tool ….. random drug testing.
“…To address both the root causes and direct causes of internal conflict and other man-made crises putting populations at risk…,” does it not follow that we, as a nation, must scrutinize closely not only those who are selling weapons that kill and destroy, but also those who actively corrupt the legislative process based on bribes and false pretenses?
Only in the last few months, actively working against California Senate Bill 1386, did I learn of the existence of the Drug Policy Alliance, and of your financial backing of this organization. This bill was corrupt in its origin (The Drug Policy Alliance) and its intent, which was to prevent local school districts from implementing random drug testing. Fortunately, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, so more kids can be saved from the ravages of drugs.
The justifications given for SB 1386 were false. If as you say, “….The war on terrorism as pursued by the Bush administration cannot be won, because it is based on false premises,” than I would say to you that the subversive efforts of the Drug Policy Alliance to legalize and proliferate the use of drugs will not prevail either, because their arguments are based on false premises.
America, and all populations in the free world are “…..suffering serious harm.” The “….primary responsibility for the protection of its people does lie with the state itself.” If, however, the governing bodies in the United States don’t follow the President’s lead to preserve the health and safety of its young people and the future of this nation, ultimately the population will revolt. That would include the 5 million Americans raising their grandchildren; all those who have had children needlessly die or be destroyed because safeguards were not put in place; all those who are victims of the crimes associated with substance abuse; and the unwitting taxpayers who don’t yet understand that conservatively, on the average 13% of their state taxes are wasted on the painful aftermath of substance abuse, while only 1% is spent on prevention. This is horrible economic and social policy, and must change.
In your book, you said you were referred to as a “…..statesman …..a person with principles but no interests.” I have no doubt that in many cases your philanthropy has helped people. But I find it unimaginable that anyone as obviously successful as you could believe in and financially support organizations that promote death and destruction to a nation you have chosen as your primary home.
Please help me to understand.
Roger D. Morgan
ROGER MORGAN, Co-Founder of Californians For Drug Free Schools, is a San Diego businessman and entrepreneur, and former corporate executive with Volvo of America and Caterpillar Tractor Company. He was Founding Chairman of the Coronado SAFE Foundation, a non-profit dealing with drug prevention, and prior Board Member of the San Diego Prevention Coalition. Armed and repulsed by his experience with two stepchildren who became drug addicted at age 12 and 14 years old, roughly 25 years ago, and two newphews who died of drug related causes, he believes the only thing that could have saved these young people, and others, would have been drug testing. Unfortunately, this prevention tool was not understood or available back then.