We've Been In Denial
I find it extraordinarily hard to accept the denial of the Bush or Obama Adminstrations emergence of the problems in Mexico (that began at least 3 years ago with the first of many cross-border incursions). Its is most frustrating to know that while billions of dollars have been spent on the War on Terror(ism) that awareness and recognition of the threat so much closer to home has struck with such "suddenness"
Even still, former Governor Janet Napolitano, now entrusted with the responsibility as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security is expected to appear on this Sunday's 60 Minutes and praise the efforts of the Mexican government, blame the upsurge in violence on the export of firearms to Mexico from the U.S., and have the epiphany of revealing corruption in the Mexican government and police. That is laughable, and ignores the fundamental fact that the core of Los Zetas were trained by the United States in special operations tactics before they went rogue.
It should also not be lost on American citizens that a crackdown on the purchase of firearms and ammunition is on the horizon.
Mexico's Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora. "Two thousand and 200 grenades, missile and rocket launchers, .50-cal sniper rifles," says Medina Mora. The vast majority of these guns - 90 percent - are being purchased just over the border in the U.S. Medina-Mora wants this stopped. "The Second Amendment was never designed to arm criminal groups, especially not foreign criminal groups," says Medina-Mora. "We believe that much more needs to be done. We need a much more committed effort from the U.S.," he says.
To his credit, Texas Governor Rick Perry has called for the U.S to put 1,000 troops on the Mexican border. Recognizing that the federal government is now only going to hold hearings to "study" the problem, he has also asked the Texas legislature for $135 million to support border security.
"We're (also) asking the (Texas) Legislature for $135 million for border security - to go after transnational gangs, for technology and aviation assets."
The drug violence in Mexico killed more than 5,800 people last year; since January 1, 2009, the murder rate has already hit 1,000! The revelation of warning students on Spring Break to avoid "crossing the river," is ludicrous. All of a sudden this is "sage advice"? That anyone would vacation or worse, send a child to a university in Mexico given the lengthy trail of violence in Mexico is beyond my imagination.
Yet, in contrast, el Presidente Felipe Calderone audaciously denies that his country is a failing state and that the cartels do not control any part of the country.
"To say that Mexico is a failed state is absolutely false. I have not lost any part, any single point, of the Mexican territory," he said.
"Colombia lost [territory] during several decades... and even today huge parts of its territory [are] in the hands of the criminals, or the guerrillas, or some combination of drug traffickers and guerrillas."But in Mexico, all the territory is in the hands of the Mexican authorities."
To Señor Calderone, I would ask, "and in whose hands are the Mexican authorities?"
Finally, it is imperative to note that the practice of "express kidnappings" has penetrated the United States with a marked increase kidnappings and armed home invasion in Arizona as far north as Tucson. The same has been experienced in South Texas as far north as San Antonio. And this does not even touch the reality of the cross over of youth gangs with the drug cartels.
For more than 15 years I have been involved, more peripherally than directly, in the War on Drugs, a term ridiculed by many people. The battle to identify the drug tunnels on the border near El Paso and elsewhere predates my involvement. In a way, I am relieved that narco-terror has reached our National Security radar screens. But this is not "new", but it now becoming news. We have a problem and we have, until now, been in denial. Now, unfortunately, we face an uphill battle.