By the Way…


Perhaps President Reagan is not solely to blame for losing the Pyrrhic "War on Drugs" (in lives spent and dollars wasted, it's beginning to make the Vietnam war look like a clear-cut victory). He is, after all, hampered by such fetters as the "presumption of innocence," Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to due process of law.

Not so the military. The Defense Department is boasting of surveys in which the number of servicemen and women who admit using illegal drugs is down by a third. Mandatory urine tests and summary discharges for those who fail (possibly on the theory that one bad discharge deserves another) apparently have been so effective that President Reagan considers the effort "a model" for combatting civilian drug use.

Let's hope the president's fervor for efficient military-style autocracy ends with drug testing. Else it soon may be short hair and identical clothes for all of us.