I’ve been saying for a long time that border security is a matter of national security. Here’s today’s must-read at the Wall Street Journal,
Northern Mexico’s State of Anarchy
Residents Abandon a Border Town as Vicious Drug Cartels Go to War
Two years ago, the U.S. military warned that the Mexican government was “weak and failing” and could lose control of the country to drug traffickers. Mexican officials quickly rejected the assertion, and in truth the most dire predictions now seem overblown. Mexico’s economy is rebounding from the aftershocks of the U.S. recession, with gross domestic product growth expected to top 4% this year. Foreign companies not only haven’t fled, they continue to make some investments along the country’s northern manufacturing belt where much of the drug war is playing out. Mexico City and large parts of south so far have escaped the mayhem, and the country as a whole remains stable.
Still, some parts of Mexico are caught in the grip of violence so profound that government seems almost beside the point. This is especially true in northern places like Ciudad Mier and surrounding Tamaulipas state—a narrow, cleaver-shaped province that snakes along the Texas border and hugs Mexico’s Gulf Coast.
As goes Tamaulipas also go a small but growing number of Mexico’s 31 states, including Chihuahua and Michoacán—places where rival organized crime groups either exert political and territorial control or are in the midst of bloody battles to impose their hegemony. In these states, despite four years of intense effort, the Mexican government and its institutions hold little sway.
In other words, the US borders a war zone:
The failure of Tamaulipas carries consequences for the U.S. The state shares roughly 230 miles of border with Texas and handles nearly 50% of the merchandise moving between the U.S. and Mexico. Only a river separates it from the U.S. cities of Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville.
Earlier this month, about 660 Mexican Navy special forces fought a 10-hour battle in the streets of Matamoros with some 300 gunmen from the Gulf Cartel. Fearing stray bullets, the University of Texas at Brownsville on the other side of the Rio Grande suspended classes. The battle ended with the death of one of the cartel’s top leaders, Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén, known as Tony Tormenta.
At the root of the problem: institutional corruption,
Outside experts and residents say the state is unable to defend itself now partly because it failed to confront the cartels earlier. Indeed, they say the Tamaulipas government kept close ties to the Gulf Cartel, an arrangement that worked well until the Zetas violently took on both the cartel and the state.
“The Gulf Cartel managed to co-exist with the state government for decades,” says George W. Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William & Mary. “But the presence of the Zetas has thrown an electric eel in a barrel of fish.”
Here’s a map showing exactly where this is going on,
IBD writes about Texas Governor Rick Perry,
As lawlessness spreads in Mexico, the governor of Texas speaks of sending in U.S. troops — a dramatic statement underscoring the fact that the region needs help and isn’t getting it.
Attending a conference of governors in San Diego on Thursday, Rick Perry startled some by saying defeating Mexico’s cartels may require U.S. military intervention.
Jane Napolitano is too busy harassing people with body searches to notice,
Worst of all is the condescending attitude of the Department of Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano, who snidely told Perry that if he wants border protection, it’s up to him to pay for it with Texas National Guard troops. Is she saying border protection isn’t her job? If so, that’s dereliction of duty.
this isn’t the kind of misnamed “war,” like the war on drugs, which leads to excessive militarization of civilian policing, a serious concern I think conservatives are wrong to have left to the libertarians. The cartels in Mexico sure seem to be engaged in a genuine insurgency against the state, and legalizing marijuana — which I think is necessary on its merits — will have no effect in curbing the narco-insurgency south of the border
But what is BHO doing instead? Pulling the National Guard off the border! Because, you know, it’s all secure now. And the whole thing was just a pre-election stunt in any case.