Whether shot, beheaded, mutilated or bombed, at least 2,680 Mexicans have been slain by drug cartels this year.
Citizens, law enforcement and government officials are deeply alarmed – and that’s just on our side of the border.
In Mexico, they’re terrified.
President Felipe Calderón’s crackdown on cartels is a long-overdue imperative for Mexico.
But it has increased executions, assassinations and bribing of police, judges, politicians and journalists.
The war must be won, however, and this is as much an American issue as a Mexican one.
That’s why Congress is sending $400 million to Mexico this year in training, technical assistance and equipment to help battle the seemingly omnipotent cartels.
It’s our issue, too, because Mexico is our next-door neighbor and because we cannot allow its democratic form of government to be destroyed.
The cartels are our concern, also, because drug and people smuggling and its attendant violence are leaching through our border. And until the cartels are controlled, we cannot begin to stop the smuggling and illegal immigration that overwhelm our nation.
This also is an American issue because we buy their drugs – and we sell them guns.
Mexico is our top supplier of Colombian cocaine, black-tar heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. We spend billions on the illicit drugs they bring us.
And we send thousands of guns to their drug dealers every year.
The cartels’ private armies wield grenades, rocket launchers and the most powerful automatic weapons. And they’re not afraid to use them.
Beheadings now occur weekly along the Texas and California borders, and the decapitated body of a police officer was found in July in Sonora – his index finger stuffed in his mouth, signaling a snitch.
A cop in Agua Prieta, just south of Arizona, was killed in July, and 10 fellow officers resigned the next day.
Naco has gone through 17 police chiefs in seven years, and droves of officers there are quitting too, The Arizona Republic reported.
Kidnappings average 65 a month. Military units patrol Nogales. Police and prosecutors seek U.S. asylum.
Any American who doesn’t regard Mexico’s drug violence as a serious problem simply isn’t paying attention.
The drug war has wrought more Mexican deaths in the past two years than the war in Afghanistan has cost in U.S. and NATO troop deaths, The Washington Post noted this week.
The Merida Initiative, sending money to Mexico, is controversial and must be undertaken with scrupulous oversight.
But our government must do everything possible to help beat back the drug cartels – for both nations’ sake.