Car Bombing in Ciudad Juarez
In an AP article by Alicia A. Caldwell and Alexandra Olson, they relate the story of a car bomb in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (You can read the article at MyWay news.) A drug cartel dressed an injured person as a police officer, faked a call about an injured officer, and then detonated the bomb once all the emergency services people showed up. This is exactly why Mexico needs to treat this cartel problem like a real war.
Where is Juarez?
Ciudad Juarez is just across the river from El Paso, Texas. That means it is right next to Fort Bliss, where the U.S. Army is currently doing a lot of training and staging. (LibertyBob was stationed at Fort Bliss back in '88.)
The position on the border made Ciudad Juarez an easy path for smuggling drugs, people, and anything else that needed smuggling. At the same time, people living on either side of the border go back and forth every day for legitimate work. Though we like the ability for people to pass peaceably with good cause, the violence has disrupted that. What's more, if the violence grows too great, it will spill over and threaten the U.S. side of the border.
What can Mexico Do?
Mexico needs to start treating this cartel issue as a real war. Why? Because it is a real war. The cartels want to take over. That means they are trying to become the governing group in that area. The cartels want to be in charge and they are using warfare to remove the official Mexican governing structure to do so. That sounds like war to me.
First, Mexico needs to establish martial law in the affected areas. Right now, the cartels move freely and they have infiltrated local law enforcement. They use violence to coerce the citizenry. Only by establishing martial law can Mexico hope to start gaining control. You may complain that it would remove civil liberties, but under the threat of the cartels, the citizens have no civil liberties anyway.
Next, Mexico must really step up its propaganda game. They must make clear several things. The people must understand that the cartels cause all the trouble. Second, the government will destroy the cartels. Third, the penalty for joining or helping the cartels is harsh. Fourth, the government cannot start to fix the other problems (poverty, health, etc.) the resources must go to fighting the cartels. That last one may only be vaguely true, but it is important to demonize properly the cartels. Finally, once the government defeats the cartels, peace, freedom, and prosperity will return to the wholesome citizens of Mexico.
Can the US Help?
The United States must take the threat seriously as well. Search everyone coming or going across the border, particularly in that area. Collect fingerprints and DNA from everyone crossing the border. Do warrant searches for warrants on both sides.
We must step up military patrols along the border in that region, possibly as part of the training mission of Fort Bliss. Our military must coordinate with the Mexican military to share intelligence and to maximize utilization of our resources. Remind everyone that the Mexican government is our ally and that the problem is from evil, violent cartels that want to sell drugs to your five-year-old and sell your daughter into prostitution. (In a slightly malicious mood, I might suggest leaving the border a little open in Arizona because their new laws will take care of everything.)
Is This Really a Big Deal?
You may wonder why it is such a big deal, after all it is a foreign country. Ignoring the argument that the cartels unchecked will result in far more death, suffering, loss of freedom, and chaos than actual warfare, let's look at the problem in terms of what it does to everyone else.
The cartel violence will destabilize Mexico as a country. That means continued violence there for the foreseeable future. Eventually, smaller states will evolve, but even those are likely to be little dictatorships run by brutal cartel leaders. All of this removes a huge, stabilizing force in the economy of the Western Hemisphere. Mexico really does matter to our economy, even if in indirect ways.
There will be huge numbers of refugees from all of this violence. Where do you think they will go? The direction of travel will depend on the nearest border. Some will head south. Some will head to islands in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. Others will head north into the Republic of Texas, the Republic of Arizona, and the various American states there. Such a huge flow of people in need of help and support is difficult to control and document. Do you think there won't be bad guys hidden among them?
Worse will be when the gang violence spills over to their related gangs on our soil. As it stands, we are already bad at defeating drug gangs because we want to treat them as criminals instead of as insurgents. What happens when a powerful cartel decides that it wants to own Corpus Christi, Yuma, or Los Angeles? Will we be able to arrest all of the participants, or will we watch the bombing of police stations? Will we treat it like a war then? It may be better to "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here."
What Can I Do?
What can you do to stop this nightmare? First, support the idea of Mexican martial law in the needed areas. Second, contact your elected officials and tell them how important this is to you. Third, if you use illegal drug, just stop it you moron.