Question: Ignoring the “other war” – Agenda Avoidance?

The Mexican Drug War - 18,000 direct casualties and 100k plus indirect victims in America

Time Magazine’s “Ioan Grillo” said in a report that:

While the Mexican crime families do not have a history of using bombs, explosive devices used to be a favored tactic of their associates in Colombia. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Medellin cartel responded to a government crackdown with bombs on street corners, cars and even one passenger jet, killing hundreds. Colombian gangsters have long been selling cocaine to the Mexican cartels, who smuggle it into the United States. “The cartels could be turning to this Colombian tactic of using terror to pressure the government to back off,” said Mexican drug expert Jorge Chabat. “They may be trying to raise the political cost for Calderon of carrying out his campaign.”

The author Stephanie Hanson, for the Council on Foreign Relations, put it in clearer lines:

About 90 percent of the cocaine that enters the United States is trafficked through Mexico, ……. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. Mexico’s extensive cocaine trade is controlled by cartels based in border areas and along the southeast coast. Three groups–the Sinaloa Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, and the Tijuana Cartel–have waged an increasingly violent turf war over key trafficking routes and “plazas,” or border crossing areas.

Violence reached acute levels in 2006 and has only worsened since then; decapitations became common and cartels began disseminating videos documenting gruesome deaths-“narco messages”-to threaten rival cartels and government officials. While initially the majority of violence was between cartel members, in the past two years, police officers, journalists, and politicians have become frequent targets of drug killings. In May 2008, for instance, Mexico’s acting federal police chief was killed in a drug hit.

Every other day, reports of large numbers of death, mass graves found, decapitated bodies or gun battles appears on news items in front of us, but those quotes of Grillo and Hanson above are from 2008.   In today’s figures, more than 18,000 victims of the war, and it is a declared war by the Mexican Government against Drug Cartels, has made the conflict as big as the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.   If you consider that at least 20,000 people in the US die each year from illegal drugs (and that is a figure only scratching the surface) then since the war started that makes 120,000 other war victims.

According to Kristin Bricker of the Narcosphere website, in her February 2009, item “Is Mexican Drug War Violence Ebbing?” she argued correctly then that the figures are huge but for domestic politics, perhaps the figures are worse than reported.  We know now, how true she was.

The Mexican Attorney General’s Office (PGR) reports that as of March 13 of this year it had counted 10,475 executions since the beginning of President Felipe Calderon’s term on December 1, 2006.  Furthermore, almost 10% (997) of the victims were public servants.2007’s official (according to the PGR) death toll of 2,477.  The NGO, the Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, had requested the year’s organized crime death toll broken down by month and by state.   In response, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office released one sheet of paper (PDF file) breaking down the violent death toll by state, but not by month. official count for 2008 (released this past February only after an NGO filed a Freedom of Information request), 6,262* people died “violent deaths” in 2008–a 154% increase over PGR’sAccording to the 25% decrease over the last three months of 2008. (The AP reported that the drop occurred when the first three months of 2009 are compared to the first three months of 2008, but that is a misinterpretation of government officials’ statements). has recorded during the first three months of 2009 constitutes a PGRThe Mexican government has been quick to manipulate the 2009 numbers to demonstrate some sort of success in the war on drugs.  Eduardo Medina Mora, the Federal Attorney General, told press that the approximately 1,600 executions the the most violent period of the Calderon administration occurred in January 2009: between December 26, 2008, and January 27, 2009–a period of 32 days–one thousand people were executed.  It points out that in 2007, it took 115 days to reach the first one thousand executions of the year; in 2008, 120 days.  Milenio also notes that the most violent day of Calderon’s term was February 12 of this year, when 52 organized crime-related violent deaths were reported.  January 2009 was also the most deadly January under Calderon’s watch: Milenio counted 480 executions in January 2009, 247 in January 2008, and 204 in January 2007., however, notes that Milenio

Now, in mid-2010, the war continues and the gruesome accounts simply increases the death-toll no end.   In January Jo Tuckman’s Guardian item which is reporting official figures gives as a simple report on what is something sadly now daily:

The start of 2010 has been marked by a major escalation of Mexico‘s drug wars, increasing pressure on a government already struggling to convince many that its military-focused strategy will eventually bring the cartels to heel.

El Universal newspaper reported today that 69 people had died violently in the previous 24-hour period, the biggest daily death toll yet in the struggle for supremacy within Mexican organised crime that lies at the heart of the wars. The paper said that 283 people had died in 2010 so far, more than double the figure from the same period last year.

Horrible but unfortunately a reality. According to some, it seems that this can only happen at the hands of another group of people.....

As a background, and quoting Wikipedia’s summary, The Mexican Drug War is an armed conflict taking place between rival drug cartels and government forces in Mexico. Although Mexican drug cartels, or drug trafficking organizations, have existed for a few decades, they have become more powerful since the demise of Colombia’s Cali and Medellín cartels in the 1990s. Mexican drug cartels now dominate the wholesale illicit drug market in the United States.  Arrests of key cartel leaders, particularly in the Tijuana and Gulf cartels, have led to increasing drug violence as cartels fight for control of the trafficking routes into the United States.

Mexico, a major drug producing and transit country, is the main foreign supplier of cannabis and a major supplier of methamphetamine to the United States.  Although Mexico accounts for only a small share of worldwide heroin production, it supplies a large share of the heroine distributed in the United States.  Drug cartels in Mexico control approximately 70% of the foreign narcotics that flow into the United States.  The State Department estimates that 90% of cocaine entering the United States transits Mexico—Colombia being the main cocaine producer—and that wholesale of illicit drug sale earnings estimates range from $13.6 billion to $48.4 billion annually.  Mexican drug traffickers increasingly smuggle money back into Mexico in cars and trucks, likely due to the effectiveness of U.S. efforts at monitoring electronic money transfers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the death-toll since the 2006 start of the War, is now over 18,000.  With such a figure then why is it that something that indirectly is killing more North Americans than both wars combined, not argued as passionately in the media as the two more famous conflicts?   Why is it that the far-right commentators, elements of America’s Tea-Party movement and the radical bloggers spending all their times on issues such as the life of people under militant and radical Islamist regimes (and condemning anything and everything “Muslim” or “Islamic”) but completely ignoring a vicious war on their doorstep that has, and is having, a greater impact on their own lives?

Could it be that it is still viewed as “just a war on crime?”   I find that a foolish thought, it is about control, power, corruption and social issues.   It  is about the drug culture it should not be forgotten that the existence of such horrors steams to the equally horrible drug needs of its clients, and in this case up to 90 per cent American.

Does the far-right movement in America carefully avoid the subject for their own agenda?   I think so.  They can shout about an oil-spill and somehow blame it on the “left” and certainly will milk every bad result as miss-handling by their nemesis Obama.   The Spill is a catastrophe, no doubt, so is the larger problem of a drug-war killing more people than the two wars. 

Of these wars, the extreme-right and hate-for-profiteers such as the bloggers Spencer and Geller will try to make it more a social-issue – attempting to imply an entire faith followed by a quarter of mankind is out to destroy the world, yet a real, proven and present social issue killing

The Drug Project says around 20,000 people are killed each year in the United States from illicit drugs.

77.6 billion dollars is used by the US Government to deal with Drug abusers Economic Costs of Drug Abuse.  They say that “In 1999, Americans Spent $63.2 Billion on Illegal Drugs”, and worse:

Illegal drugs exact a staggering cost on American society. In 1995, they accounted for an estimated $110 billion in expenses and lost revenue.116 This public-health burden is shared by all of society, directly or indirectly. Tax dollars pay for increased law enforcement, incarceration, and treatment to stem the flow of illegal drugs and counter associated negative social repercussions. NIDA estimated that health-care expenditures due to drug abuse cost America $9.9 billion in 1992 and nearly twelve billion dollars in 1995.117

About donny2811
Trots Nederlands, goed gereist en een begerige politieke centrist met een speciale afkeer voor basissen.

4 Responses to Question: Ignoring the “other war” – Agenda Avoidance?

  1. adam says:

    Great Post Donny ! The vast sums of money involved mean that this war will only intensify and the will to stop this drugs war; may be weakened by corrupt politicians and senior public officials. Whilst the violence is contained mainly in Mexico then there will, I suggest, be this half arsed approach to stopping it.

    However, I did hear that the war is actually now spilling into some states in the US (Texas possibly) this should provoke a sterner response.

    If the worlds governments are truly committed to ridding the world of illegal drugs then there needs to be global approach that’s consistent across the board. There may even be a case for finding a socially acceptable and healthier alternative to these narcotics, that could be sold legally like alcohol. People have and always will, want to get wasted, the government need to think outside the box on addressing this social issue.

    In the UK there has been a flood of ‘Legal Highs’ sold as safe and legal alternatives to the drugs bought off dealers; this I think may be a step in the right direction; but like everything this needs to be regulated properly. The Chinese have some seriously big operations making these legal highs, but they are exploiting loop holes in our inept drug / chemical laws; many of these legal products are hugely dangerous to humans and have been responsible for numerous deaths!

    Surely, big pharma companies could be part of the solution and considering the amounts of money we’re talking about, it would be a very lucrative market.

    Awesome blog you have here!

    Respect and Peace!

    • donny2811 says:

      Thanks and welcom Adam. As a new blogger any appreciation is always a nice feeling!

      Your comments are valid and I support them. The natural defencive/ignore/denial response of man has chosen not to consider this a war, except for the nation that has the death and destruction. For Mexico it is a war, for those officials working on it is also a war, the familes world wide with family suffering from it (like myself) consider it a war but the rest will consider it a social issue. I think like this, 10 years ago, terrorism was a war only to those that were mixed in it and now it is a global war on terror……. . They have yet to realize the impact, costs and of course casualties to realize that it is a global world war. Also, because it is not an apparent enemy (and we can say militant radical Islamism is alos not apparent) it can be worked-on in fashions non-apparent as well, such as how you suggested via the Parapharma companies, altered national policies and community related targetting.

      Great comments and again welcome, I have seen your blog and will make a football comment – I am rather opinionated and not English so be warned!


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