With Thailand's 'war on drugs' entering its second month, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government needs to take a careful look at its strategy. It must ensure it is consistent with the nation's hard-won commitments to creating a fairer and more just society. The rule of law is an ideal to which many countries aspire, but which few manage to achieve wholly. The United States has alleged al-Qaeda terrorists locked up arbitrarily in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Hong Kong has its own experience with irregularities in law enforcement. In recent years, Thailand has made huge strides to put a darker era of political violence and corruption in the past. Yet Mr Thaksin's anti-narcotics policy patently breaches the acceptable boundaries of police action, with fears widespread that suspected drug dealers have been the victims of extrajudicial killings and with the deaths of innocent bystanders. No one disputes that Thailand has a massive drug problem. The government estimates that more than three million Thais, or 4 per cent of the population, are addicted to methamphetamines. Thailand's precarious position perched on the edge of the Golden Triangle, and the principle of containing the evil of the drug trade, are both reasonable justifications for tough action. Indeed, a recent poll found that 70 per cent of Thais support the harsh government crackdown. The problem is, in the same survey more than half of the respondents said they believe rogue police are responsible for the shockingly high death toll in the war on drugs - nearly 1,000 in the first month. There is a widely held belief that many corrupt Thai policemen and officials are involved in the drug trade - people who would be strongly motivated to eliminate collaborators or witnesses. The government, however, says that drug traffickers have been getting rid of potential informers and are to blame for most of the killings. Mr Thaksin wants to rid the country of the drugs scourge in three short months and has warned his officials that their jobs depend on it. But surely, he would never subject his own office to such an impossible requirement. Mr Thaksin has called a meeting next week to review his strategy. It is a most welcome decision - and one that would be greeted with broad approval should he follow it with moves that reaffirm Thailand's commitment to rule of law.