Sunday, March 14, 2010

Obama Needs More Than Express Outrage Over Mexican Drug War

President Barack Obama through a press spokesman expressed his "outrage" Sunday that two Americans were killed in broad daylight in a drive-by shooting in Ciudad Juarez where drug violence is common.

The president "is deeply saddened and outraged by the news of the brutal murders," National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement.

And, what does the president plan to do? Nothing.

Hammer said the administration would "continue to work with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his government to break the power of the drug trafficking organizations that operate in Mexico and far too often target and kill the innocent."

The death toll attributed to drug cartels is more than 45,000 lives and the battle has spread to the U.S. border cities with kidnappings and brutal assaults. It is only a matter of time when these towns and cities join the killing fields.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have delegated Homeland Security forces, primarily Drug Enforcement agents, to work with Mexican officials fighting the drug lords who brutally murder their competitors as well as government officials, news media and ordinary citizens they deem as a threat to their lucatrive operations.

It is the United States problem as much as Mexico because we are the idiots who buy the dope they are peddling. That's my opinion.

In Mexico mordida or bribes remains part of the government culture as much today as a half century earlier. It makes at least me wonder how sincere the current Mexican administration under Calderon really is and I'm not suggesting he's on the take. The violence in the drug wars -- an exact term when applied to the current conflict in Mexico -- may be too out of control for the Mexican army to win.

Calderon and Vincente Fox, the man he succeeded as president, are no angels.

The Los Angeles Times, one of a handful of U.S. publications that have committed teams of reporters covering the drug wars, is skeptical of Calderon's commitment. It reports claims the army's success in killing drug trafficking suspects has left the large cartels unscathed.

One in particular is the Sinaloa cartel based in the drug-rich Pacific state of the same name. Calderon finally addressed that charge. "It is absolutely false," he said Wednesday. The Times:

"These accusations are totally unfounded, false and the fruit of, in the best of cases, ignorance, if not because of ulterior interests that must be made clear," an unusually animated Calderon said. "We neither protect, nor shield, nor tolerate any criminal group in this country."

He then proceeded to tick off the names of members of the Sinaloa cartel who have been captured or killed, often using their noms de guerre: El Teo (Teodoro Garcia Simental, who allegedly melted hundreds of victims in vats of lye, captured in January), Vicente Zambada (son of one of the top leaders of the Sinaloa cartel, extradited last week to the U.S.), and so on.

Those who are promoting the idea that Calderon is going light on Sinaloa gangsters point to a couple of factors. Edgardo Buscaglia, a respected academic and expert on organized crime, says arrest figures skew heavily toward the other cartels. By his calculation, of more than 53,000 people arrested in drug-trafficking cases in the three years since Calderon took office, fewer than 1,000 worked for the Sinaloa organization.

Buscaglia says that the Calderon administration may want the Sinaloa group to emerge as the main network of traffickers because it would be the easiest with which to negotiate a truce. Calderon has repeatedly said he would never negotiate with traffickers.

The billionaire Sinaloa drug king Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman escaped from prison in 2001 and his sightings reported in Mexican media resembles that of Elvis sightings in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the slain Americans, a husband who worked for the U.S. consulate office and his wife, were among more than a dozen killed on a bloody day. A third person, a Mexican citizen, was killed at the same time in a different part of Ciudad Juarez.

Just as thousands of U.S. college students are flocking to the Pacific resort of Acapulco, 13 people including five police officers were killed in which the heads of two of the decapitated men were found on a scenic road packed with nightclubs.

The State Department authorized families of government employees to leave Ciudad Juarez and issued a travelers warning for U.S. tourists planning to visit the northern states of  Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua but not Guerrero where Acapulco is a major city of 1 million residents.



U.S. border security and fences is not the issue here. It is money chasing money and God save those that get in the way. The only way to rid the problem -- the same as for the illegal immigrant problem -- is eliminate the market. Fat chance. American's thirst for illicit drugs is insatiable. Unless that thirst is quenched, our government is playing Don Quiote chasing windmills.

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