Chaos in Mexico: US Military May Help Mexico Fight Drug Cartels
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
The following is based on a teleconference held — and material provided — by Donna Miles of the American Military Press Service:
The US government may increase its military presence to help Mexico fight drug cartels that pose an increasingly alarming security risk, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during a televised interview on Sunday.
“I think we are beginning to be in a position to help the Mexicans more than we have in the past,” Gates said during an NBC “Meet the Press” interview. “Some of the old biases against cooperation between our militaries and so on, I think, are being satisfied.”
Drug-related violence has soared in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon dispatched the federal army or federales to confront the well-armed and -financed cartels. So far in 2009, an estimated 1,000 people have been killed.
The problem is compounded by the Cartels’ muscle, known as the Zetas. For the most part, according to reports obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police, Zetas are former military and police or deserters some of whom were actually trained in counter-narcotics by the US.
During the Calderon Administration, more Cartel leaders and members have been extradited to the US than at any time in the past.
“The cartels are retaliating,” Gates told NBC. “It clearly is a serious problem.”
The United States could support the effort through training, reconnaissance and surveillance support, intelligence cooperation and other assistance, Gates said.
The secretary praised Calderon’s courage in standing up to the cartels and police corruption in a way that previous presidents wouldn’t. “One of the reasons it’s gotten as bad as it has is because his predecessors basically refused to do that,” he said.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shared Gates’ growing concern about Mexico last week during a Pentagon news teleconference for bloggers and Internet journalists.
“Mexico is certainly more of a concern to me,” Mullen said. He announced plans to visit Mexico on the last leg of this week’s trip to Latin America.
Mullen noted the spike in drug-related violence in Mexico that has increased dramatically in the last year. “We’re looking for ways to assist them in terms of addressing this kind of threat,” he said.
The chairman pointed during a Feb. 5 address at Princeton University to successes the United States has helped Colombia to achieve over drug cartels and narcoterrorists that had controlled much of the country. The U.S. military provided primarily training assistance, but other interagency efforts also supported efforts taken by the Colombian government and military, according to Donna Miles of the American Military Press Service.
“I think the Colombian example is a great example of a very broad program that wasn’t just military to support a friend at a time when, effectively, they were very close to a failed state,” Mullen said.
Mullen said the same kind of support could help Mexico. “We’ve offered that,” he said. “It takes engagement — not high-end military activity.”
The days of looking east and west more than north and south to assess security threats are long over, he told the Princeton audience.
“We do need to pay a lot of attention to our neighbor and the security issues and the economic issues that are associated with not just Mexico, but with Latin America,” he said.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the former blog editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Recently, the editors at Examiner.com appointed him as their Law Enforcement Examiner. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for NewswithViews.com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 300 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. If you wish to receive Kouri’s emailed law enforcement and intelligence reports, write to him at COPmagazine@aol.com. Simply write “Free Subscription” on the subject line.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.