Don’t blame the U.S. for Mexican narcotics meltdown

Most of us know of the national earthquake of narcotics gangs and terrorist tactics splitting Mexico apart like an egg dropped from a tall building. The problem is us, if you listen to Mexican President Felipe Calderon during last week’s visit with President Obama.

He is upset at Arizona’s attempt to crack down on illegal immigration as well as the smuggling of American weapons into Mexico, where there would apparently be no violence had we not introduced these awful mechanisms into their society.

Yes, we are the problem in a country where one city, Juarez in 2010, had more civilian casualties from gang killings than Afghanistan had for the entire year from a war. It is not just a total number. There was also a higher probability of being killed in Juarez than in Afghanistan.

America’s appetite for drugs drives cartels to control smuggling corridors into the United States, but that’s only part of the reason for the violence, and both leaders know it.

Our part is a lack of desire by the administration to seal the border from illegal immigration, which is fine with the Mexican government that needs illegal immigrants to send money home to supply a considerable amount of the nation’s revenue.

In Mexico, turning a blind eye to illegal immigration and corruption, engendered by narcotics money injected into the Mexican body politic, has reached a breaking point. Drug cartels realize the inept government has become needless overhead.

The American left, in a desperately destructive effort, has hoped to bring immigrants to the United States who can be quickly converted to political supporters.

The Obama administration, hoping to win support from Hispanics — who, the administration simplistically believes, support unrestricted immigration — has sued Arizona over its attempts to stem the illegal tide.

The Obama administration also has brought a ludicrous meaning to the concept of “soft power,” as it arms our border patrol agents with beanbag projectors and rules of engagement that are less aggressive than the average paintball tournament.

Tragedy soars with such absurdity, as in the case of border patrolman Brian Terry.

In November, he was apparently following agency policy to fire beanbags at border smugglers when they returned fire with AK-47s, tragically killing Terry.

Adding absurd insult to the injury was discovery that two of the weapons used in his murder were sold to cartel members under the watchful eye of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms program, “Project Gunrunner,” which allowed illegal transfer of hundreds of weapons to drug cartels so they might be later “traced” by the agency. This project was wildly unpopular and opposed by field agents, but was apparently a popular plan at the upper levels of the bureau.

Even this alarming policy choice does not give credence to the myth, loudly echoed in the United States, that 90 percent of the firearms used by the drug cartels are from the United States. This figure comes from a 2009 report that, of the weapons returned by Mexico to the United States for tracing, 87 percent came from this country.

This figure has little to do with the 90 percent figure cited by those who think American gun policy is causing Mexican violence.

The Strategic Forum points out that only 24 percent of the 30,000 weapons seized by Mexico were submitted to the United States for tracing and only about 4,000 of those could be traced at all. Mexico seemed to have little interest in submitting the other 76 percent of the weapons that, many speculate, includes a lion’s share from police and military barracks and even some supplied by the United States for fighting drug activity.

This is to say nothing of the South Korean grenades often used and the reminder that the United States does not manufacture AK-47s. But countries that do are selling a lot of them to Central and South American nations such as Venezuela.

Both Calderon and Obama seem to think politics are harming their countries and both like to think it’s the politics of the United States. Their dubious solutions would seem to unhappily produce a de facto dissolving of the border and a devaluing of American citizenship.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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