NEWS

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May 25, 2006

Back from Truman Camp

Well, I'm back from Truman Scholars Leadership Week at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. I have to tell you that it was one of the best weeks I've had in a long time. I expected it to be a week-long pat on the back replete with sessions on the 5 pillars of leadership and superficial get-to-know-you sessions. Boy was I wrong.I spent a fair amount of my week with my policy group. We were given a herculean task: defend Senate Bill 333. For those of you who don't want to read a badly written bill, here's the skinny. S333 was introduced into the Senate by Santorum, but the beltway gossip is that it came from Cheney's office. Entitled the Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005, the bill makes it the official position of the US government that it is for regime change in Iran and that it has allocated $10 million for that effort. I'm sure you know that $10 million can't do much half way across the world, let alone foment a democratic revolution. So we used the $10 million to create drug rehabilitation programs for heroin and opium users (our form of treatment was methadone) administered by students of Tehran University, while channeling the US government dollars through a German NGO that has been on the ground in Tehran and doing this for some time now. Why drug rehabilitation? 20% of the Iranian population is addicted to heroin, morphine, and/or opium. That's why. With a porous northern border, Iran is getting an influx of poppy from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, some speculate that the government is happy to have traditionally politically active groups (the middle class, students, etc.) drugged up so that they are docile. In short, a society in which one in five citizens are high is not a society that will overthrow its government.