Friday, January 16, 2009
Things we maybe shouldn't have overlooked
It's understandable, I suppose: we're about to have a major change in leadership in Washington, we're in the midst of a massive global economic crisis, and we're fighting two wars and piracy overseas. Thank God, you might think, at least we still have two oceans and two friendly neighbors to protect us from the worst craziness in this world. Apparently, you'd be right on only three out of four of those counts. Today, in a flurry of headlines, many different sources are sounding the same warning: Mexico is on the verge of internal collapse. I actually got an inkling of this a couple of weeks ago, when our base command sent out this report by retired Gen. McCaffery coupled by a warning that trips into Mexico were now essentiall verboten. We get these warnings occasionally when drug violence makes the news in Tiajuana, so I filed the email in my garbage folder and forgot about it. But today, we got the Joint Forces Command, the outgoing CIA chief, and a think tank weighing in on the subject, so I read all those and then went back, found Gen. McCaffery's report, and read it too; and the situation south of the border is incredibly disturbing. Perhaps you've seen pictures of drug-smuggling submarines and thought, "Oh, that's cute." What it actually shows is just how powerful and well-equipped the Mexican drug cartels are. McCaffrey's report is probably the most troubling. He details the heroic efforts of federal politicians and law-enforcement officials who've taken many risks in tackling the cartels head-on; and after contrasting it to the widespread corruption and infiltration of the judiciary, and state and local governments, one wonders whether Mexico's federal leaders might not want to get out while the getting's good. Mexico is fighting a losing war against the cartels, who kidnap, murder, and intimidate with virtual impunity, and who are armed - apart from their submarines - with night-vision equipment, anti-armor weapons, robust air transport, and a huge variety of military-grade equipment. According to all the above analyses, we are in real danger of seeing a 'narco-terrorist' state develop down there within the near future. Couple that with our porous border, massive illegal population, and the underground presence of Mexican cartels in both our border cities and around the country, and you have all the ingredients for a hugely bloody and violent national and domestic security problem. And we've been so busy watching the stock market at home and news reels from Iraq that this issue has caught us off-guard. And President-elect Obama already thought he had enough to worry about . . .