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Let Mexico fight drug war

Published: Wed, August 24, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Justin Akers Chacon


The increasing involvement of the United States in Mexico’s drug war is only going to make a bad situation worse.

It will likely lead to more deaths. It will be a drain on our treasury. And it’s unlikely to stem the flow of drugs. This is because the U.S. intervention ignores the root causes of the drug trade and the spreading international character of the cartels.

U.S. involvement began with the “Merida Initiative,” a $1.4 billion aid package signed by President Bush in 2007 to provide training and equipment to Mexican drug enforcement efforts. It coincided with Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s initiation of a military offensive against the drug cartels.

President Obama then expanded the scope of the Merida Initiative in 2009, emphasizing coordination and information sharing, including the establishment of joint command and control centers in Mexico. This has led to the training of thousands of Mexican agents, the transfer of high-tech weaponry, the deployment of unmanned drones within Mexico and now the direct involvement of Drug Enforcement Administration and CIA agents, U.S. military personnel (from the Pentagon’s Northern Command) and private contractors.

Since the launch of Calderon’s military operation, an estimated 35,000 people have been killed. And the death rate has been increasing for each year of the conflict.

Taking the lead

Mexico has surpassed Col- umbia in kidnappings and has seen a dramatic spike in assassinations of journalists and political figures. Corruption has exploded, as drug money has been poured into politics to subvert the war effort from within. A study of the Mexican Senate’s Commission of Municipal Development has found that six out of every 10 municipal governments in the country are infiltrated by drug dealers. Mexico’s Department of Public Security estimates that 62 percent of police nationwide have also been corrupted by drug money.

Rather than suppress the drug trade, the war has driven it deeper into the social and political fabric of Mexico and has spread it to other countries in Central America.

U.S. society is intimately tied to the Mexican drug trade. Earlier this year, for instance, 34 U.S. citizens and legal residents were convicted of running weapons to cartels from Arizona. According to a 2010 Washington Post report, more than 60,000 U.S.- origin guns have been linked to drug violence in Mexico. Some U.S. banks have been implicated in laundering drug money. And according to Justice Department statistics from 2010, the cartels now operate in 231 U.S. cities, taking in nearly $40 billion in annual sales from within our country, as the consumption of illegal drugs in the United States is increasing.

The Mexican government is losing the drug war. That’s why the Obama administration is now sending U.S. security forces directly into the war zones in Mexico (as never before).

But U.S. intervention won’t make it any more winnable, and will only draw more personnel and resources into a costly and bloody quagmire.

Justin Akers Chacon is a professor of U.S. history and Chicano studies in San Diego. He wrote this for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary that is affiliated with The Progressive magazine. McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


1jway(4 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The cartels make more than $10 billion a year selling marijuana in the U.S. - this supplies them with the bulk of the money they need to arm themselves and pay their hit men. While this massive mountain of marijuana money sits on the border there will *always* be people willing to do whatever is necessary to make as much of that money as possible their own. The *only* solution is to eliminate this money and the *only* way to do that is by allowing our supermarkets to legally sell marijuana to adults at prices too low for drug dealers and the cartels to match.

We have to face facts. Either we as a country have the ability to eliminate marijuana use in the U.S. or we as a country must provide safe and legal access to the stuff through distributors we can trust - and who better to do this than our supermarkets who we already trust with alcohol and tobacco? Our supermarkets have proven that they're reputable companies, they know how to card their customers, and they have the ability and the will to price these products at a level too low for illegal suppliers to match. Supermarkets are the ideal way to drive drug dealers off our streets and bankrupt the murderous and sadistic cartels. The status quo of massive, unrelenting demand combined with zero legal supply is simply NOT an option!

We may not ever wish to purchase beer, tobacco or marijuana ourselves but for the sake of our safety and our children’s safety we should *always* insist on these products being legal for supermarkets to sell to adults.

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2Traveler(606 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

We need to look at the cartels as a business. If you do then it easy to shut them down.

First legalize pot and give control of growing and distributions it the cigarette company's. They know how to track who is growing there product and keep the drug lords out.

Second attack there distributions network if they cant get hard drugs in to the country they cant sell them. SHUT DOWN THE BORDER CALL IN THE ARMY TO GET IT DONE

Third cut down on the demand. Drug testing for people on government aid. Mandatory drug treatment for anyone caught with drugs. Automatic death sentence for major drug dealers no appeals.

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