What does "had to" refer to here? What's the different between "had to take such drastic" and "took such drastic"?
"Had" in this case is used to imply an obligation to do something. If someone "has" to do something, it means they were forced or obligated to do it against their desires. So "had to take such drastic measures" in this case means that he was forced or had no choice but to take drastic measures, while "took such drastic measures" means that he took drastic measures and it was probably his own choice.