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Missing in US war on drugs - a general

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The war on drugs is missing a general. An obvious place to look is the National Drug Policy Board, headed by the attorney general of the United States. That group is supposed to coordinate law enforcement activities of about a dozen agencies, ranging from the departments of State and Defense to the CIA. But wait. A little farther down in the government directory is the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System. Working out of the vice-president's office, it coordinates the same basic team. Okay, so there are two generals, and a lot of colonels - by one count, 10 cabinet departments, 29 agencies, and a horde of multi-agency groups carrying out US policy. Theoretically, the two generals are supposed to harness all that drug enforcement energy and channel it in one direction. But it doesn't always work that way - as when foreign policy butts heads with law enforcement. When the State Department wanted to ``decertify'' Panama, for example, the Justice Department, whose agents have to work in Panama, balked. State won. When it came to Mexico, however, Justice won. ``When you can tell me what our national strategy on drugs is,'' says Rep. Lawrence Smith (D) of Florida, ``let me know.''

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