Dole assails Clinton in shadow of convention Republican vows to use military capability to halt drug influx

Democratic Convention

Campaign 1996

August 26, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

PALOS PARK, Ill. -- Declaring that President Clinton had "surrendered" in the war against drugs, Bob Dole vowed yesterday to devote the nation's military capability to halting the influx of drugs and said he would prepare the National Guard to "move in" to combat them.

"We will make drug interdiction a priority for our intelligence services, beefing up not just technical operations but also human intelligence operations," Dole, the Republican presidential nominee, said here in the shadow of the Democratic convention in Chicago.

"We will expand our use of military technology, including reconnaissance and satellites and area surveillance and listening posts to track drug movements toward our borders."

It was not clear how sweeping the use of the military would be. Dole said that in his first 45 days in office, he would order military officials to come up with a plan.

Dole also acknowledged that using military forces for law-enforcement purposes was an idea to be approached warily. He said the threat of drugs, like the threat of terrorism from abroad, was an area where the military had a proper role.

"We'll treat drugs for what they are, the moral equivalent of terrorism. Like the terrorism of fanatics who blow up people and hijack planes, the terrorism of drugs destroys our young people and hijacks America's future," Dole said.

He said that under the Clinton administration, spending for drug interdiction by the Defense Department had fallen sharply, with planes and ships spending less time hunting for suspected drug smugglers.

Although the United States spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year on ships, planes, radar and even tethered surveillance balloons to track drug shipments, the effort has proved largely ineffective and was criticized by congressional auditors.

The interception program began during the Bush administration, and in 1993 the Pentagon and the White House National Security Council decided to shift some money away from it and to place more emphasis on helping Latin American countries attack drug trafficking organizations.

Dole spoke in this suburb 17 miles southwest of Chicago, where the Democrats are preparing to renominate Clinton at their convention. Nelson Warfield, Dole's press secretary, said Dole had encroached upon Democratic turf because he wanted to make a "bold and unprecedented" statement.

Dole told the crowd of about 1,500 people, "I heard there was a party happening somewhere in the area."

Pub Date: 8/26/96

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