Thursday, June 08, 2006

Souder Sees Blind People

Our good friend Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), no longer content with denying financial aid to hundreds of thousands of students with drug convictions, is pushing a plan to blind Colombian peasants. According to a report in In These Times, Souder sponsored a provision to a recently passed House bill that requires the fungus Fusarium keratitis to be sprayed in a "major drug producing country" such as Colombia in an effort to eradicate drug crops. Unfortunately, in addition to destroying coca crops, Fusarium also destroys the human cornea.

According to the story:
On April 16, the New York Times ran a full-page ad from contact lens producer Bausch and Lomb, announcing the recall of its "ReNu with MoistureLoc" rewetting solution, and warning the 30 million American wearers of soft contact lenses about Fusarium keratitis. This infection, first detected in Asia, has rapidly spread across the United States. It is caused by a mold-like fungus that can penetrate the cornea of soft contact lens wearers, causing redness and pain that can lead to blindness - requiring a corneal replacement.
Souder and co-sponsor Dan Burton (R-IN) seem to be alone in thinking that blinding Colombian peasants is an effective means of controlling drug crops. The article mentions various government agencies opposing the use of Fusarium, including the State Department, the USDA, the CIA, the DEA, and the ONDCP:
The DEA stopped funding Fusarium research in the United States during the early '90s after it learned that Fusarium infections can be deadly in "immunocompromised" people - not only AIDS patients and those with other illnesses, but also those who are severely malnourished. The University of the Andes in Bogotá has recently reported that 12 percent of Colombian children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Spraying this fungus on a vulnerable population could be perceived as using a biological weapon.

The CIA has been against the use of Fusarium to kill drug crops since at least 2000. At that time, one official told the Times, "I don't support using a product on a bunch of Colombian peasants that you wouldn’t use against a bunch of rednecks growing marijuana in Kentucky."

Mark Souder has once again proven himself to be the most hysterical drug warrior in Congress, devoid of all logic and reason when it comes to anything concerning drugs. In this case the government's own anti-drug agencies have enough sense to realize that causing a public health crisis in one country does is not an acceptable means of addressing a perceived public health crisis in this country. If this provision does become policy, perhaps we can convince Souder to support supplying medical marijuana to relieve the intra-ocular pressure of the newly blinded Colombians.

To find out just how heartless the "distinguished" Congressman from Indiana really is, you can read the entire article here.


Rob Wood said...

"Souder and co-sponsor Dan Burton (R-IN) seem to be alone in thinking that blinding Colombian peasants is an effective means of controlling drug crops." - LOL - he'd probably be right! Let's hope a little common sense prevails on this one.

jackl2400 said...

Is anyone electable running against Souder, Senselessbrenner, Burton and the other drug war lackeys (*especially* that wackjob Souder)? Would it make sense for orgs like SSDP, DPA, MPP, NORML and the other reformers to raise money and field candidates to exact retribution at the polling booth and target a "dirty dozen" for defeat in November?

That would certainly take a lot of wind out of the sails of prohibitionists in Congress who are still in a "ramping up" mode with fusarium in Colombia, the meth scare, war against pain doctors, etc.

Terry said...

Misery loves company.
Souder wants to share his blindness.

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