Monday, November 28, 2011


Chris Moody of Yahoo News asks Newt Gingrich about drugs and is told that Gingrich admires how the law deals with drugs in Singapore:

In 1996, you introduced a bill that would have given the death penalty to drug smugglers. Do you still stand by that?

I think if you are, for example, the leader of a cartel, sure. Look at the level of violence and the level of violence that they've done to society. You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there's nothing wrong with heroin and cocaine or you can be in the tradition that says, These kind of addictive drugs are terrible, they deprive you of full citizenship and they lead you to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American. If you're serious about the latter view, then we need to think through a strategy that makes it radically less likely that we're going to have drugs in this country.

Places like Singapore have been the most successful at doing that. They've been very draconian. And they have communicated with great intention that they intend to stop drugs from coming into their country.

Moody clearly did his homework, because, in 2009, Gingrich responded favorably to an invocation of Singapore on Bill O'Reilly's show:

O'Reilly: I don't know whether you know this, but I did one of my papers at Harvard on this -- on how to reduce demand for drugs. But the United States has never figured it out. You can't lock up drug users, I mean, that doesn't work. And you can't force them into rehab, you have to want rehab, and even if you want it, it's very hard to get off hard drugs and alcohol. Very hard.

What you can do, though, is sanction people along the way. And this is what they do in Singapore. If you're caught possessing drugs -- and that means drugs in your bloodstream, they have a little hair thing, and they put it in there -- then you have to go to mandatory rehab. And they have centers where you go.

Now, they have no drug problem in Singapore at all, number one, because they hang drug dealers -- they execute them. And number two, the market is very thin, because when they catch you using, you go away with a mandatory rehab. You go to some rehab center, which they have, which the government has built.

The United States does not have the stomach for that. We don't have the stomach for that, Mr. Speaker.

Gingrich: Well, I think it's time we get the stomach for that, Bill. And I think we need a program -- I would dramatically expand testing. I think we have -- and I agree with you. I would try to use rehabilitation, I'd make it mandatory.

I should point out that Singapore doesn't just apply capital punishment to cartel leaders -- it applies the penalty to midlevel couriers:

A Malaysian couple who were due to get married drove into Singapore two years ago with 21.48g of heroin bundles in their car.

The pair were caught, charged and put on trial.

On Friday, the High Court acquitted Mas Swan Adnan, 27, but sent his fiancee Roshamima Roslan, 24, to the gallows for trafficking in 15g or more of the drug....

When Roshamima was put on the stand, she ... gave all kinds of explanations when confronted with objective evidence such as text messages; four times, she changed her story of whom she and Mas Swan were supposed to meet the day they were caught.

Her fiance, on the other hand, had consistently stated in his police statements and in court that he believed the bundles contained Ecstasy pills that he was delivering for a Singaporean man known only as Mickey....

And users? Well, if they're caught, they're imprisoned and given treatment -- but if they reoffend, they're caned:

Tony Tan is one of very few former drug users in Singapore to successfully escape from the cycle of addiction and incarceration and, after serving two prison sentences for drug offences, now works as a counsellor helping to rehabilitate Singaporean drug users....

“Singapore is a bit different. The first time you are caught for drug consumption is one year, the second time is three years and the third time is five minimum with three strokes of the cane....”

I hardly think being pro-caning for habitual drug users would hurt Gingrich in the Republican primaries. It might just put him over the top. Still, it would be an interesting position to take into the general election. And I wonder: does Gingrich think any of these punishments should have been meted out to, oh, say, the last Republican president of the United States, or Gingrich's fellow Republican president Gary Johnson, an admitted former user of a number of recreational drugs?


Kathy said...

Just who is going to pay for the mandatory rehab, I wonder? Can't ask the taxpayers to do it. Are private corporations going to foot the bill? I think not.

This sounds like the same idiocy spouted by my congress member, Spencer Bachus, when he first ran back in 1992 (and promised, if elected, to serve only two terms): lock up pregnant drug users if they refused treatment. As if there were all these affordable, accessible rehab beds just waiting to be filled.

c u n d gulag said...

My guess is that Ol' Newtie has, at the very least, inhaled.

He's a hypocrite about everything else, what would lead anyone to believe that he isn't one in this case?

The New York Crank said...

The hanging part interests me. Do you suppose we could get a law calling for the mandatory execution of any candidate for public office whose television commercials are found to contain lies or deliberate distortions?

Just wondering, Mr. Romney.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

BH said...

Kathy - Who said anything about "beds" for these vermin? Or roofs? I think the path to the GOP base vote would be to propose open-air incarceration. (No, you silly libs, that's not the same as a concentration camp! After all, this is Amurka!)

Kathy said...

Good point, BH. Open air incarceration in privately owned for-profit facilities. The right-wingers' wet dream.

c u n d gulag said...

For their ultimate wet-dream, add barbed wire, cattle cars, tasers, dogs, and guard towers with leather attired sharpshooters!
Oh, and pink outfits for the prisoners, so that unless they're near a flock of flamingo's, they'll be easy to shoot to kill.

Ten Bears said...

But, but, but... in Ameirka the biggest drug problem is heroin or cocaine but legally prescribed drugs - Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on CNN/Faux News. We gonna' cane these bitches too?