Wars are cancerous. They grow both rapidly and gradually, achieving malignant milestones along the way. The Mexican government, U.S. officials and the tourist industry would have you believe that the vicious drug-cartel-related violence plaguing our neighbor to the south occurs in isolated provincial pockets. If Americans simply stick to popular resort destinations, they’re as safe as houses. Yes well, on March 14, 2o10, the following headline appeared thetimes.co.uk (and around the world): Mexico drug wars reach tourist resort of Acapulco. Same grim tale in an ominous, attention-grabbing new setting . . .
Two decapitated men were found on a scenic road packed with nightclubs in Acapulco while another man was found shot to death on the edge of the city. Gunmen also killed five police officers on patrol in Tuncingo, a rural area outside Acapulco.
In the same area, police found the bullet-ridden bodies of five other men, including two who had been beheaded.
Again, this outrage was nothing new; just a remarkable waypoint. As the relentless carnage continued, the media and their consumers quickly accustomed themselves to the new reality. In June, the guardian.co.uk reported that Mexican murderers had deposited 14 headless corpses outside a shopping center in Acapulco. As they used to say at CNN, BTDT. Been There Done That.
The next major milestone (for us) will arrive when American tourists are gunned down by “accident.” At that point, an internecine drug war that’s claimed ten of thousands of lives, an insurgency that’s sent already tenuous Mexican democracy spiraling into oblivion, will catapult to the top of the American news pile.
Finally, the cry will go up: something must be done! The Mexican tourist industry will dry-up like a flash flood in a desert. With a bit of luck, President Obama will read the bit in his job description about protecting our borders and respond with the necessary—and long-overdue—increase in boots on the border. Maybe.
Meanwhile, narco-killers took out U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Jorge Zapata. Zapata was inside Mexico at the time, in an armored Suburban, performing as-yet unknown duties for Uncle Sam. The assassination hasn’t roused public indignation. Zapata was a cop, not some sunscreen-slathered American tourist. But cops are paying attention to the escalation. They know what it means.
Clock this reality check from Phil Jordan at brownsvilleherald.com. Jordan’s the retired head of the Drug Enforcement Agencie’s (DEA) El Paso Intelligence Center. The guy who used to run the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration office in Dallas. A border cop more than 30 years in law enforcement.
If Phil Jordan were to travel to Mexico, he would do it under one condition: “If I could take a couple of U.S. Marines and Navy SEALs with me.”
He also likely would be armed.
“Whether we want to admit it or not, there is a war going on in Mexico. It’s a no man’s land,” Jordan said.
Why wouldn’t he be armed, you ask? Not only do the Mexicans keep their civilian population unarmed (they’re working on the card-carrying drug cartel members of that demographic group), but the federales also bar U.S. law enforcement officials from carrying south of the border. So, ostensibly, Agent Zapata was unarmed when he met his maker at the hands of Mexican marauders.
ICE has not released any statement about whether Zapata and Avila were able to defend themselves. ICE did volunteer that the Mexican government does not authorize U.S. law enforcement personnel to carry weapons.
“Now, if you think for one moment in time that if I was in charge that they would not have a way to defend themselves, they would not be going,” Jordan said.
When he was with the DEA, Jordan said that he would tell agents what the rules and regulations were in Mexico – “but I wouldn’t tell them what not to carry.”
Jordan carried a gun in Mexico. “I’m not going to lie about that,” he said.
But he noted that now, he doesn’t know that a .38 special would be much better than a peashooter, “if you even get to fire it.”
He said a .38 special doesn’t compare with the weapons the drug cartels are carrying, which include grenades, AK-47s and bazookas.
“They are better equipped than most police departments on both sides of the border,” Jordan said of the cartels. “They don’t have to worry about budgets.”
Nor do the cartels have to worry about politics. America’s response to the metastasizing Mexican drug war, on the other hand, has been nothing but politics. Department of Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano and her minions have been busy making reassuring sounds about the safety of our southern border. politico.com reports that the feel-good campaign includes some Congressional Bob Barker action:
To help foster a constructive dialogue, I’d like to invite a bicameral, bipartisan congressional delegation to join me at the border this spring to jointly assess the progress that has been made, discuss ongoing operations with our agents in the field and visit some vibrant border towns.
Hey, I wonder if they’ll leave the security guys at home and tour our vibrantly besieged border towns unarmed? Not to put too fine a point on it (or mix metaphors too violently), the feds are pussyfooting around while Rome burns.
The Obama Administration and their toadying, amoral acolytes at the ATF have been talking-up the mythical “Iron River” of guns headed south—when the cartels’ armament re-supply issues are the least of our problems.
Note to our elected officials and the ATF: Mexican drug gangs got guns. And enough cash to buy whatever weapons they want to buy, up to and including anti-tank missiles. From places that ask a lot less questions than Bob’s Gun Store. The cartels are not afraid to use these weapons on anyone who messes with their business, in Mexico or America.