Mccain Says Ramping Up War On Drugs Can Help Border Security

Sunday, September 2nd 2007, 7:15 pm
By: News On 6

GLADBROOK, Iowa (AP) _ Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on Sunday said the United States should step up it's war on drugs as part of efforts to secure the country's borders.

He said that's because Americans are to blame for ``creating the demand'' for illegal drugs that come into the country and give too much power to drug cartels that terrorize border areas.

``They are powerful, they are strong and they have taken over our border cities and there is all kinds of fighting going on in these border towns,'' he said. ``We are creating the demand. We are creating the demand for these drugs coming across our border, which maybe means that we should go back more trying to make some progress and in telling Americans, particularly young Americans, that the use of drugs is a terrible thing for them to do.''

McCain said the war on terror has diverted some efforts in the war in drugs.

``The war on terror has taken some of our attention off the drug problem, drug cartles, and by many measurements they are getting a lot stronger rather than weaker,'' he said. ``I think it's damaging to our national security when the drug usage is up.''

McCain spoke during an appearance at a central Iowa farm where he devoted much of the conversation with a few dozen supporters on foreign relations and immigration.

The Arizona senator, who vocally supported President Bush's illegal immigration reforms that failed to pass in Congress, said the plan didn't hold up because lawmakers have lost Americans' confidence.

``We believe the comprehensive approach to immigration failed because the American people do not have trust and confidence in the government and Washington to do what we say. When we failed in Katrina, when we failed in Iraq when we have corruption in Washington, like you see all the time, my friends, they don't trust us to do what we say we'd do,'' he said. ``We said we would secure the borders, Americans didn't believe us.''

While his stance on illegal immigration has been unpopular with many other Republicans, McCain said ``I still believe we need a temporary worker program _ we need to address the 12 million people who are here illegally.''

``But the point is, we have got to secure the borders,'' he said.

Border state governors _ whether Republican or Democrat _ should also be tasked with certifying that their borders are secure, McCain said.

``I don't think there is any doubt in anybody's mind that our borders are not secure,'' he said.

He suggested that in urban areas, fences or walls should be built for long distances outside the city. Unmanned aerial vehicles and remote cameras can then take care of surveillance in unpopulated areas.

``I think we can use a lot of high technology and I think we can effectively secure the borders,'' he said. ``I don't think you'll every prevent anybody from coming across, but I think we can do a whole lot more.''

At one point during the appearance, a man spoke up and told McCain there was a tradition in Iowa to exchange caps. McCain handed over his navy blue Naval Academy baseball cap for the tan one proclaiming the ``Central Iowa Farm Store, Marshalltown, Iowa.''