Malpractice suits are destroying medicine because we will not jail criminals in the medical profession. So we take the coward's way out and the lawyers get rich.

We refuse to deal with the real problem and choose instead to take the coward's way out. The result of refusing to deal with the hard reality is that what we end up with is the worst of both worlds.

The most obvious example of this was our Vietnam policy. In Vietnam, we didn't want to really fight the war but we didn't want to abandon it, either. So we got the worst of both worlds. We fought half a war and lost it.

The longest war America ever fought was in Vietnam, and it was the first war the United States ever lost.

We got the Mafia under control because Americans finally decided to stop lying to ourselves and go after them.

We dealt with the old organized crime, the Mafia, by going after them tooth and tong.

But we can't handle the new organized crime, the drug cartels. The reason we cannot handle the drug cartels is the same reason we can't deal with medical criminals. It is the same reason we lost in Vietnam. We refuse to really go after drugs and dealers but at the same time we refuse to call the war against drugs off.

So we have half a drug war, with the State of California on one side and the Feds on the other. The Bush Administration wants to make the anti-drug forces happy, but it also wants to make the ACLU happy.

The result is that we have enough drug enforcement to keep the price of drugs high and drug dealing profitable. But our enforcement doesn't make the slightest dent in the drug cartels.

Be it Vietnam, drugs or bad medicine, half a war is far, far worse than a real war or an outright surrender.

Going after bad doctors and medical associations will be very, very hard. But the

present situation is impossible.