The Dark World: the US Military vs Mexican Drug Lords

by Jeff Abbott on January 8, 2009

The New York Times reports on a plan for a ‘surge’ of civilian and military law enforcement along the US border should drug violence-which has already claimed 5300 lives in Mexico last year–spill over in the US.

Officials of the Homeland Security Department said the plan called for aircraft, armored vehicles and special teams to converge on border trouble spots, with the size of the force depending on the scale of the problem. Military forces would be called upon if civilian agencies like the Border Patrol and local law enforcement were overwhelmed, but the officials said military involvement was considered unlikely.

I’m trying to imagine the Army fighting Al Capone, or Don Corleone. The level of violence is boosting transnational criminal networks up to being military targets, if needed. It makes one wonder if planners in Washington feel that we face an unofficial army on the border–one not supported by a government, but by illicit profit.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff also recasts the proposed 700-mile border wall as not just about immigration, but about fighting transnational criminal networks:

In the wide-ranging interview with Mr. Chertoff, two weeks before he leaves office, he suggested that his controversial efforts to rapidly build a fence along nearly 700 miles of the Mexican border, as well as his bolstering the size of the Border Patrol, were part of the push to defend against drug violence, not just to control illegal immigration.

Army vs criminal networks. We’ll see if this happens on American soil any time soon.

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