There appears to be a problem with Americans’ peripheral vision that makes us unable to see anything to our south. However, the real, hot drug war raging in Mexico has finally bubbled to the point where even we can’t miss it.
We probably never would have noticed – nor even acknowledged the role played by Americans’ insatiable appetite for illicit drugs including marijuana, which makes up about 60% of Mexico’s drug trade – if it weren’t for the inevitable expansion of that war into our own country.
The explosion of violence, most recently reported by The Washington Post, is shocking and heartbreaking. One thousand dead just this year. Two thousand guns flowing into Mexico from the United States every day. Mexican drug cartels operating in more than 230 U.S. cities, up from 50 as recently as 2006.
And federal law enforcement’s take on this spiraling chaos?
“The violence we see is actually a signpost of success,” Drug Enforcement Administration intelligence official Anthony P. Placido told the Post.
Now, I admit that international drug enforcement is not my area of expertise, but I seem to remember from my own stint in the military that we usually considered increasing violence to be a bad thing.
I’d be willing to write this off to being just one DEA guy with a tin ear and a delusional, rosy outlook, but this isn’t the first time federal law enforcement has made this assertion. In February, an anonymous official told the Wall Street Journal, “If the drug effort were failing there would be no violence” in Mexico.
So we could reduce the demand for illegal drugs – and therefore the violence associated with their trade — by ending marijuana prohibition and regulating the drug’s manufacture and sale in the U.S. Except that would be seen by our federal law enforcement officials as a failure.
Maybe it’s just me, but I could accept that kind of failure.