Drug Policy

How Many Drug War Victories Can Mexico Take?

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On Wednesday the notorious Mexican drug trafficker Arturo Beltrán Leyva was killed during a shootout with troops in Cuernavaca. "Although President Felipe Calderón on Thursday called the operation 'a convincing blow' against the drug cartels," The New York Times reports, "his government also warned that drug-related violence might not abate and could even get worse." Take a few moments to digest that. The Mexican government is waging a literal war on drug traffickers, featuring extensive use of soldiers as policemen and predictable human rights abuses. The main justification for this U.S.-backed war is the ever-more-appalling level of violence associated with the illegal drug trade. Yet the man directing the war concedes it is apt to make the violence worse, and he's right: Prohibition creates a black market where disputes are resolved through violence, and stricter enforcement exacerbates the violence by creating unsettled conditions that invite further conflict. Leyva's death, for example, is likely to trigger a power struggle among his subordinates and embolden competitors to steal some of his cartel's market share. "Despite thousands of arrests and the capture of several gang leaders," the Times notes, "drug violence keeps increasing." As an unnamed "senior U.S. official" told The Wall Street Journal in February (exaggerating slightly), "if the drug effort were failing there would be no violence." The more victories Mexico's drug warriors win, the more the Mexican people lose.

Last month Brian Doherty interviewed University of Texas at El Paso sociologist Howard Campbell about Mexico's escalating violence. I explained prohibition's role in a column last June. 

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  1. "Despite thousands of arrests and the capture of several gang leaders," the Times notes, "drug violence keeps increasing."

    It's almost as if that's not the right approach to take. Huh.

    1. But we have to keep killing people in the drug war if that is what it takes, for as long as we have to! Because if we don't, people could be killed by drugs! Don't you get it?

  2. Not to mention that it was sailors from the Mexican Navy that killed Levya. The local police were corrupted, then the federal police were corrupted, then the army became corrupted, so they couldn't function against the cartels. So now Mexico is using its Navy, until they become corrupted, I guess.

  3. one of the gangs is meant to be run by former members of an "elite" army unit
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Zetas

    1. Yeah i remember hearing some time ago that there were quite a few ex mexican special forces guys in these cartels.

    2. When Los Zetas was formed, they were all special forces soldiers, but most of them have been arrested of killed. They aren't any more elite than the average street gang now. The only difference is Los Zetas have bigger weapons.

  4. So now Mexico is using its Navy, until they become corrupted, I guess.

    I'm not even going to check if there's a Mexican Air Force, because the imaginary one is too funny.

    1. How many pilots can they fit into an F-14?

      1. Im sure they can fit an entire battalion in a blackhawk

  5. Thank goodness. Finally, a victory in the drug war. It's hard to imagine someone replacing Arturo. Imbeciles.

    Gary Johnson was on Dylan Ratigan's show this morning. As bad as MSNBC is, he's not too bad. He laid into Debbie Wasserman Schultz about regurgitating Democratic talking points. It was fairly entertaining. So, KT Mcfarland pulled the classic imbecilic "I worry about my kids using marijauna if it were legal" response. So, you would rather your kid cruise down to the corner and get a "nickel bag" from the thug on the corner instead of regulated entity where they would be denied for being underage? Luckily, the "kids" can always get a quarter of the killa from Spicoli. And, actually thoroughly enjoy Avatar despite the idiotic story line. With the shit Hollywood puts out, there should be an optional pot chamber at every entrance.

  6. The more victories Mexico's drug warriors win, the more the Mexican people lose.

    Yeah, but they're all drug dealers, and relatives of drug dealers, and people in the vicinity of drug dealers--so it's a win.

  7. If you gringos do not control
    your use of drugs culture and
    stop protecting the users
    and not punishin them
    things will remain the same
    no matter what .
    test people before get people
    hired and so on in every aspect
    drivers lic schools
    and so on.

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