JSOC and the Mexican drug lords.

The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is a subordinate command of Special Operations Command. The confusion in naming ought to be straightened out.  JSOC commands the counter-terrorist commando forces.  The Delta force, Navy SEAL Team Six, etc.  There are aviation assets, intellligence collection and fused analysis centers, et.  This is a very specialized group of forces.  JSOC exists for one reason only.  That is to kill or capture purely terrorist enemies of the United States.  Imagine a SWAT team on a global basis.  JSOC has little relevance to warfare of any other kind.  The people in it do not like to be called "soldiers."  They like to be called "operators.  That's fine with me.  Over the last seven years these very specialized "operators" have killed or captured their way through most of the high value Islamic terrorist targets in Iraq and Afghanistan.  What is left is warfare against semi-Islamist tribals or politicians and their militias.  Those are suitable targets for conventional forces,  COIN enthusiasts or Green Berets like I once was.  You, know, people who like foreigners as something other than targets.

JSOC appears to be running out of "high value targets," in the places where they have been used so successfully.  They can continue in places like Yemen and Somalia but they should be given something really useful to fo.

I suggest that they should be unleashed on the Mexican drug cartels.  Kill or capture.  Kill or capture.  Those should be the instructions.  The legal niceties could be "cleaned up" through arrest or execution warrants.  On the other hand, maybe that is not necessary if recent history is a guide.

I suggest a special federal court for this purpose.

This is not irony.  These druggies deserve that we should send them "the very best."  pl




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93 Responses to JSOC and the Mexican drug lords.

  1. F5F5F5 says:

    Where do you draw the line between commandos and death squads? Counter-terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism?
    Kiling Mexican drug lords is fair enough, but useless if the domestic drug lords aren’t eliminated as well. Them,their gangs and their families.

  2. bubba says:

    I’d say go for it, but two big problems arise:
    1) Mexican sovereignty. We’d need their permission and even with deniability I doubt they’d go for it. Without this, and probably even with it, we could look forward to all the rising leftist politicians of Latin/South America to go into a conniption.
    2) Those bastards fight back. And it would really fucking suck if they decide to go asymmetric on our turf.
    So, nice idea. In a world devoid of political/social considerations I’m sure the “operators” could make relatively quick work of them. But their persistence thus far isn’t simply a matter of a lack of will/capability on the part of the security services.
    Plus, an administration like Obama’s where secondary effects are given top consideration those two points above make this a non-starter. In one like Bush’s where the force of willpower was eminent those would be mere challenges to ignore.
    All that said, I’m sure there are highly targeted operations where these guys can be (and have been) employed in ways that’ll make everyone happy.

  3. Patrick Lang says:

    you can’t make omelets without breaking eggs. (Quotation from von Rumsfeld)
    Don’t go hypocritical on me. What have we been doing in all these other places?
    Simple rule. Inside the US we do “due process.” Outside the US we do JSOC. pl

  4. Lysander says:

    Call me crazy, but I’d bet the most effective way to bring the cartels to their knees is to legalize the stuff. It wouldn’t cost a dime, nobody gets killed and you’ll see results in a day. After all, I don’t see anybody smuggling avocados.
    As for users it’s pretty easy to get crack now if you want it. If it’s legal, no one has a reason to push it on you.
    Merry Christmass to all

  5. Cato the Censor says:

    I once had an extensive conversation with a Hispanic man from Panama with a long history of service in the U.S. Army (among other operations, he participated in the invasion of Panama to remove Noriega). Based on what he told me without giving away any compromising details, he spent a good chunk of his Army career doing just what you recommend, Colonel, only in South Americam not Mexico. This leads to two points: 1) how do you know JSOC isn’t already doing something along the lines of what you suggest; and 2) given that your recommendation has probably been tried before, why do you think it will work this time to stop people from taking drugs in the U.S.?

  6. This is an intriguing idea just so long as we don’t overstate what could be accomplished by deploying the JSOC.
    The drug phenomenon is tremendously resilient. Destroying drug cartels does not destroy that trade but rather results in other organizations filling the void. Indeed, the Mexican cartels emerged following the decline of the Columbian cartels.
    Accordingly, some organization like MS-13 will take over the trade.
    While it would take time for them to do so, I am sufficiently pessimistic about American drug policy so that I doubt we would actually put that time to good use.
    Somebody above stated that the Mexican gangs would fight back. Indeed they would. They will go after wives and children. That’s what they do.

  7. b says:

    “Simple rule. Inside the US we do “due process.” Outside the US we do JSOC. ”
    And next you ask “Why do they hate us?”?

    If the U.S. really wants a failed state on its southern border using JSOC is certainly a way to achieve that. Fine with me as a European.
    There are of course other ways to end the “drug war”. Decriminalize and regulate the use of marijuana and cocaine and the potential profits in the drug trade will come down to a level where it is not worthwhile to fight a war over it.
    That would be the smart solution.
    But as Churchill noted, the U.S. is always doing the right thing – but only after it tried all alternatives.

  8. china_hand says:

    I detest the perpetrators of the violence in Mexico, but it’s clear enough that simply killing a few people at the top will only speed up the process of consolidation that’s already under way.
    Doing what you suggest, Colonel, would be playing right into the hands of some unidentified kingpin — nothing more. Your suggested course of action would do nothing more than create a more resilient and ordered criminal syndicate.
    The drug war is already the dumbest, most expensive, and most ineffective, (not to mention, among the most inhumane) policies on the planet.
    Escalating it in such a manner would only make increasingly bad things happen increasingly often. In fact, hearing you suggest this, Colonel, makes me wonder if you wouldn’t simply prefer to replace our government with a military dictatorship.

  9. The Moar You Know says:

    This here former peacenik hippie is not a fan of dealing with problematic people in the manner described, but after seeing firsthand what the druglords have unleashed south (and north) of the border I’m ready to make an exception to my normal values and say “turn ’em loose.”
    My problem is, of course, that it is no longer solely Mexican citizens who are dealing with the consequences of their government’s alliance with these folks; I live in San Diego, and these murderers and their minions seem to have the ability to come and go here as they please. I’m not talking about your average, American-born/raised Mexican gangbanger – I’ve known plenty of them over the years. As long as you know the rules in dealing with them, at their worst they are largely nothing more than a nuisance. This new breed of traffickers are a different, wholly amoral breed of criminal, and put plainly, they scare the shit out of me.
    Bubba speaks of a fear of these guys going “asymmetric on our turf.” Bubba, too late. They already are. They kidnap and murder here, not as often as they do in TJ and Rosarita but close enough. There are now huge swaths of San Diego (south of the 94 and east of 5) that are flat-out no-go zones, even for guys like me who could pass for Hispanic and can speak the language.
    It’s a damn shame. I like Mexicans. I like Tijuana. And there are a lot of nice people who live there, and a lot of nice people who live in Mexico, period. But it is too dangerous to go anymore, the government (and that includes the entirety of their armed forces, don’t fall for Calderon’s recent kabuki here) has been bought and is outright owned by these people, and frankly the citizenry don’t care enough to try and change the situation. I don’t particularly want to spend more American money and lives to fix it for them, but it is starting to have some real effects on this side of the border and something fairly extreme is going to need to be done to stop it – these are some pretty extreme people at the root of the problem.

  10. COL,
    Didn’t Tom Clancy write something like this? Hmmm… I believe it was called A Clear and Present Danger.
    IIRC, major themes of the novel revolved around willful failure of the Administration to submit to proper Congressional oversight, abandonment of the so-called “assassination ban,” simple revenge-taking for the murder of a political ally, the sell-out of engaged forces to cover-up White House directed misdeeds, and of course, plenty of Clancy’s he-man Jack!
    Amazing today how many of these themes are now mainstreamed, even approved US government policies (!), since 2001. Even the “he-man” of the TV crowd is named Jack (Bauer).
    Too bad Clancy’s fantasy has become, in many ways, our reality.
    There is no question that highly empowered non-state actors (like drug lords or Islamist jihadis) can wreak havoc in the more “civilized” places of the world. One reason they become so successful at this is because they grow out of areas of weak or non-existent state control, places where the state is so corrupted and unable to deliver basic security that drug lords become defacto state leaders themselves. Is the use of JSOC SMUs the best way to guard the US from these menaces? Perhaps. So to is supporting efforts by the existing states to actually control their own territories, meet the needs of their populations and take responsibility for those highly-empower destructive forces that take up residence in their lands. Experience over the past 8 years tells me we are not very good at anything other than the JSOC approach. And that this one method alone make be creating significant future blowback — not the least of which is when a comparable world power (eg China) develops their own JSOC and decides to use it in US-friendly locales to protect themselves. Maybe we should spend to time exploring and learning some other approaches?? Or going back to using established rules of law to combat crime.

  11. R Whitman says:

    The parallel in Mexico is the lawlessness in the US during Prohibition. Governments, both the US and Mexico, have had no impact on the demand.
    As with Prohibition, the only solution is legalization of drugs and government control thru taxation.
    Killing drug dealers does not stop drugs. It only makes new drug dealers. If you want to stop drugs without legalization you have to kill the drug users.

  12. Fitzhugh says:

    Sounds like a job for the Texas Rangers.
    This is the caption for the photograph linked to above.
    “Texas Rangers with dead Mexican bandits, after the Las Norias Bandit Raid, October 8, 1915.”

  13. Redhand says:

    Over the last seven years these very specialized “operators” have killed or captured their way through most of the high value Islamic terrorist targets in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The “most” qualifier refers to bin Laden and his #2, that insane former Egyptian doctor, I suppose.
    I assume these are NOT the people who worked with the Colombian military/police on the Killing Pablo mission. Wouldn’t that be the model for working with the Mexican government, assuming they can handle the “infringement” on their sovereignty?

  14. JohnH says:

    But, Colonel, if the ‘operators’ went after drug lords, where would politically protected drug merchants in the US get their supply? From the CIA? Could happen. But it would be called eliminating the competition, not fighting drugs.

  15. John Minnerath says:

    OK, sounds good, but could it be done?
    It sounds more and more like the Mexican Police and Military are corrupt at the core. Could JSOC operate effectively under the circumstances, even if the Mexican government could somehow reach an agreement to allow such a joint US/Mexican operation to take place in the first place?
    We must certainly be providing intel to their government, perhaps especially since President Calderon has been trying to beef up tougher actions against the drug cartels. But, corruption in the ranks at all levels has led to some disastrous results.
    Do we send in advance teams with bags of money to try and buy back the scum to our side?
    There’s also the problem of adding more fuel to the very real racist anti Mexican feeling among certain groups of Anglos especially along the border; catching up more innocent Hispanics.
    I know our “Operatives”, if you want to use the term, could drop the hammer and drop it hard on the drug cartels. But, could they do it effectively under the circumstances now?
    There’s already enough of the “build a higher wall along the border” mentality.
    The drug cartels operating in Mexico are a real and serious danger to us. The “goody goody” reduce the demand for the drugs ideas and plans don’t work.
    Some people way smarter than me have to sit down and develop a real and workable hardnosed plan to deal with this.

  16. Patrick Lang says:

    A lot of you people do not understand the deterrent effect of a fear of certain death as a consequence of particular behaviors. “A FEW” eliminations?” You misunderstand me.
    China Hand
    “makes me wonder if you wouldn’t simply prefer to replace our government with a military dictatorship.” You are no longer welcome here and your comments will not be published.
    A lot of you people have no real talent for violence on the scale that I am talking about. You fear the drug gangs? Dead men have no teeth.
    We might cause Mexico to become a failed state? Mexico IS a failed state.
    A lot of cowardly talk. pl

  17. optimax says:

    I think it would be a good idea to send in our operatives to Mexico to deal with the drug cartels. The Mexican Mafia is a greater threat to our national security than al Qiada, proximity and a porous border being the main difference. The Meican gang-bangers aren’t as brazen in the U.S. as they are in Mexico, most of their terror is aimed at illegals and other druggies, though there is spill-over and more familiarity will breed more contempt on their part.
    Portland, OR, being a sanctuary city, will not allow the police to check a person’s legal status unless a felony has been committed, allowing known gang-bangers, of which many are illegal, to ply their trade without fear of being deported. It’s an insane policy fueling the rise here of hispanic gangs.
    Targeting as much of the drug cartel as you can root out is a better idea than limiting efforts to killing or capturing the drug kingpin. William Burroughs noted that drug cartels are a pyramid, there are a thousand people ready to fill a vacancy at the top, and the only way to stop illegal drugs is to execute the user. Of course most people don’t want to go that far and neither do I, and think targeting lower level cartel members is important.
    I feel sorry for the average person living in the drug cartel controlled areas of Mexico and for those living in U.S. ghettoes. Civlization’s core value is the safety of its people.
    Clifford knows a lot about this problem and am interested to see what he says.

  18. John Hammer says:

    The cartels are creating the failed state as Capone did to the city of Chicago. So let me get this straight people, don’t go after them because they might retaliate, wow!?!
    Down in Texas, some people have offered an interesting defense at their murder trials. “So Mr. Smith why did you kill Mr. Jones?” “Cause he needed killin”.

  19. Jose says:

    “A lot of holes in the desert, and a lot of problems are buried in those holes. But you gotta do it right. I mean, you gotta have the hole already dug before you show up with a package in the trunk. Otherwise, you’re talking about a half-hour to forty-five minutes worth of digging. And who knows who’s gonna come along in that time? Pretty soon, you gotta dig a few more holes. You could be there all f*ck*n’ night.” – Nicky Santoro (Joe Posci)
    I agree with you, unleash hell upon the demons, but do it right.
    If you go after the Drug Lords don’t stop till you hit the corrupt police officers, military personnel, and even government officials (Regime Change part II?).
    Just have enough holes to do the job right…
    Go to Houston for a weekend and see what happens…

  20. Steve says:

    I agree with you on taking these extreme criminals out of action. It’s time for these evil bastards to be on the receiving end for a change.

  21. Lysander says:

    ” You are no longer welcome here and your comments will not be published.”
    Your site so your call, but I think China Hand’s posts have been insightful and well written. It will be a loss if he’s gone, and besides, you have other means of expressing your displeasure.

  22. Fred Strack says:

    “mere 2nd tier Green Berets”
    I’m speechless on this one.
    I’ll have to ponder the strategy you suggest. Does this include the bankers to the drug lords?

  23. Patrick Lang says:

    Fred Strack
    That is how SOCOM sees things. pl

  24. Patrick Lang says:

    People are not allowed to make assertions like that about me. I would not allow it in person, much less here. pl

  25. zanzibar says:

    The drug problem like most problems are complex and nuanced.
    We have approximately $30 billion in annual demand that many “businesses” would love to supply. There are no long term solutions until the demand side of equation is seriously addressed.
    Our “war on drugs” which is running many decades at a cost of many billions have hardened the narco-terrorists and they have made countries like Mexico ungovernable in many aspects.
    A viable solution needs an anti-terrorist approach to dealing with the armed and organized narcos as Pat has suggested along with in my opinion a legalization and decriminalization that drives the criminal element out of the trade combined with a larger focus on treatment and prevention that works to reduce demand.
    For whatever political reason we seem to be stuck with only the “war” part of the strategy. Although with some states experimenting with medical use of marijuana we may get to the point some time in the future where disrupting the criminal distribution end of the supply chain would only be one element of the overall strategy.

  26. Dick says:

    You’ve cetainly entered dangerous territory this time; stirred up a real hornets nest, you have.
    Well, I’m encouraged by the comments. Mainly the idea that this is a homegrown problem and not sourced outside the US, like the Jihads. Kill as many as you’d like (it’s really just a “feelgood” thing from seeing such abhorrent violence), but that does absolutely nothing to stop the supply of drugs into this country – DEMAND will ensure that. Economic enticements have turned these people (Mexican drug businessmen) into the personifications of evilness that we see.
    The solution can only be a combination of every tool we can come up with: education and illegal drug use interdiction in this country, concerted international law enforcement efforts, clandestine targeting and elimination of known executives only(i.e. drug lords), and working with the victimized foreign states on cooperative solutions via economic, social, and law enforcement aid.
    We must be careful not to just look without, while not looking within. I live in H-town, and drugs are frigg’in everywhere. WHY?

  27. F5F5F5 says:

    Colonel, I’m mereley pointing out the limitations of this approach. I don’t like long winded posts be here ya go.
    It has very little to do with morality.
    Eliminating active international jihadist terrorists, and especially their leaders and financiers can be effective.
    This is because non-territorial terrorist organizations are restricted in size, numbers, financial and recruitment base. Kill the head and the body will die, eventually.
    Anarchist/revolutionary terrorism died out after their leaders got killed, imprisoned, or just because they realized terrorism will never bring about regime change in their favour.
    Killing drug lords, even entire gangs, in a country like Mexico, will only create a vaccum and soon it will start all over again for as long as there’s a buck to be made. In this context, death squad tactics are doomed to fail.
    I agree however that mass killings and arrests would provide a degree of peace. For a while. Assassinations only wouldn’t do much in a context of crime fighting, as nobody’s really irreplaceable.
    Merry Christmas to all, by the way.

  28. The Twisted Genius says:

    Colonel Lang’s proposition has definitely elicited a visceral response from many SST readers… including myself. Mexican drug lords are definitely deserving of the the attention of the operators. I see two possible scenarios if we did this.
    The first is that the drug lords are hit with sufficient widespread brutality that those remaining make the business calculation that they better get out of this particular line of business (no matter how lucrative) or end up dead. These killings must be done quickly, quietly and efficiently to leave the undeniable message that this is the only possible outcome available to a drug lord or prospective drug lord. Public posturing and boasting about winning the drug war would only paint the drug lords into a corner.
    The second is that the drug lords make the business calculation that they can fight and win this war and end up with even more riches and power. Could they reach out to other criminal groups and convince them that an alliance is in their best interests? (In spite of what goes on in the world of comics, I can’t see all the world’s criminals uniting to take over the world.) If narco-money is now an important part of the world banking system, could they reach out to “allies’ on Wall Street? I can see the approach, “You guys got a nice little financial system here, I hate to see anything happen to it.” If drug lords chose to fight back, I could see killings of military families around Fayetteville, NC and Miami, FL fairly early in the conflict. At that point, the American people have to decide if they are willing to sacrifice enough to win this. This would not be a fight for national security. That’s just empty think tank talk. This means we would be willing to kill in hot blood for the sake of our children’s lives.
    If the American people can be aroused to this state, I’m certain we would prevail. However, our leaders would have to play this right and the drug lords would have to make mistakes in order for the American people to reach this state. I think this scene from “The Untouchables” is applicable:

  29. Optimax, All
    My view is that the various Latin American criminal mafias (narcos, gangs, etc) constitute a major national security challenge for the US. Particularly the ones in Mexico but not excluding any of the others. They are very powerful and they at war with the United States and have billions behind them.
    I do not believe in “legalization” of hard drugs as a remedy. We need to reduce domestic demand, we need to have compassionate rehabilitation programs at home, and we need to go after the narcoterrorists on our soil and externally.
    I believe these criminal mafias are terrorist organizations equally as violent and dangerous as AQ etc. They should IMO be treated as, and officially listed as, terrorist organizations. Thus we should handle them internally and externally as we would any terrorist organization now on our official lists. Another way of looking at these organizations is as if they were “pirates” as in olden days.
    Thus JSOC and other elements of USG can be tasked. I am confident we have the capability we need to do the job if our leadership in Washington DC decides to prioritize it. It makes sense to me to consider the threat from AQ and the jihadis and the Latin American narcos/gangs etc. as complex and interrelated. This is not to mention Triads and Yakusa and whatever interfaces they may have into all of this. This is not about some guys wearing sombreros and riding mules…
    I started working on this problem back in 1983 as part of an effort by the US Senate to conduct wide ranging investigations on the matter. The situation has gotten continually worse over the years as has the situation in Mexico, Colombia, and so on.
    When Congress began to hammer the Mexican government in the late 1980s for corruption and all that, the Washington Post and others accused concerned Senators of “Mexico bashing.” High Mexican officials being involved in the drug trade is certainly nothing new as billions of narcodollars buy a lot.
    Future trends may see chemical-pharmaceutical synthetic drugs displacing “old fashioned” cocaine and heroin. For the latter you have to have land, grow plants, do the processing, move it around and so forth. For synthetics, a good supply of precurser chemicals and little lab somewhere will do fine or networks of mobile labs or whatever.
    Irrespective of the drugs involved, now we have giant criminal organizations with billions of dollars to launder and place into various “businesses.” Dwarfs Al Capone and da boyz I would say.
    The US Army Strategic Studies Institute has a good range of publications on threats from south of the border. Prof. Manwaring’s work for example:

  30. Tyler says:

    On one hand, I like the idea.
    On the other hand, as a mere Border Patrol Agent, I don’t like the idea of being on the front line of the repercussions this policy will bring about because of some “Operator” needing to keep busy. ESPECIALLY after seeing this administration’s reaction to the murder of Agent Robert Rosas.
    Right now, Colonel, we have a “Good Fence” with the various drug/human trafficking organizations. They don’t fight for dope loads (we have seized over 40,000 pounds of MJ this fiscal year in my station alone!) that we seize when we run up on them in the dark.
    You’re speaking of totally upending the apple cart here for all involved by a third party with no real ties on the SW border.
    You want to get hard on the DTO/HTO orgs? Build a REAL fence, like the one in San Diego, across the SW border. Man it with more Border Patrol Agents (there are more cops in NYC than there are agents in the Border Patrol) and you will put a serious kink in their plans.
    The reason we don’t do that is because of the vote pandering that goes on for “poor undocumented migrants” from down south and the communities that harbor these illegal aliens.
    I like the idea at face value, I really do. But on the other hand I am faced with the reality that I am not part of a beloved law enforcement organization (on either side of the fence). When illegal aliens start getting caught in the crossfire between agents and drug traffickers, sure as shit you’re going to see stories about “Nazis on the Border”. You only need look at youtube for some of the freaks we have to deal with on a daily basis down here who think they’re law scholars.

  31. Patrick Lang says:

    No. Selling drugs is a business like any other. Tough law enforcement amd sentencing ruins the business.
    In my town across the river from the big cess pool called Washington the price of crack cocaine is five time what it is in DC.
    In my modest proposal the cost of being in the trafic is death. Do the math. pl

  32. Anon_AF says:

    Wouldn’t successful “hits” on any one cartel simply improve the position of the remaining cartels? Wasn’t this something of the epilogue of Mark Bowden’s “Killing Pablo,” which has some analogues to what you propose? How would one use JSOC in such a way that – presumably – all cartels are “injured” more or less “equally,” so as to reduce the level of violence within Mexico?
    May I query as to the Colonel’s thoughts regarding legalization/decriminalization of narcotics?

  33. Anon_AF says:

    On second thought, one need not, I think, impact all cartels equally to reduce the overall level of violence within Mexico; if my conjecture is correct – by no means a sure thing – one need only do so to reduce the amount of narcotics flowing through Mexico to the US.

  34. optimax says:

    I remember Clinton sending the National Guard to protect the border. One of the NG shot and killed a Hispanic-American 12 or 8 year-old hunting rabbits with a .22. Public condemnation made Clinton pull the Guard.

  35. Tyler says:

    I agree on the tough law enforcement and sentencing. Problem is that does not happen because when we do catch the dope runners, who are often repeat offenders, the US Attorney will refuse to take the case.
    We are not talking small quantities of dope here. We are talking in the hundreds of pounds at least. Yet b/c they won’t prosecute we are forced to simply send them back to Mexico where they do it again.
    Anything that interferes with the flow of votes and workers from the south is not looked kindly upon by interests in washington.

  36. curious says:

    If drug cartel is a question of killing a handful of targets, I am pretty sure Mexico is more than capable finding few sharp shooters. Usually it’s the massive political corruption combined with gigantic amount of money and criminal violence.
    Imagine a situation like prohibition era except the product is few thousands times more profitable than moonshine and instead of two bits gangsters we have military trained guys who understands insurgency wars (Los Zetas)
    Sending few unit of special forces without larger program and policy to go with will only add few guns in violence rivalries. It won’t fundamentally change the situation. Maybe after one or two big fishes die, the scene will calm for a few months, then the whole cycle starts again with different players. This time pricing in the activity of special force (eg. using leak to inject false information to help kill rivals) The special force unit then turns into freebie assassin paid for by taxpayers. (remember the opening of afghanistan war? the taliband groups simply use US bombing powers to eleminate rivals) Except in case of mexico, the political instability from that size of violence will cause big financial jitter. (The cartel already attacking provincial level governors.)
    don’t get me wrong. I think mexico needs help. I for one think their police needs equipment like light armored vehicles and special police force capable of facing opponent trained in army special force. (on top of resistance to corruption and intimidation). On US side, weapons, money laundering, drug market need to be dealt with seriously. No country police force can face that much weapons and resources.
    Whatever it is, drug cartel problem, IMO should be right there in top 3 in term of national threat along with large scale international terrorism.
    The potential of Mexican drug cartels destabilizing mexico and then the problem spilling over into US is real.
    Los Zetas

  37. F5F5F5 says:

    Drugs trade is a multi-billion global business.
    Profit alone, however petty, would encourage any street thug to risk it for a buiscuit regardless of penalties.
    My modest proposal would be to shift the crosshairs of JSOC from the drug lords and gangs to their white-collar accomplices amongst officials and banking industry. These are the real high-value targets.
    Paraphrasing Sun Ttzu, killing one these would certainly scare one thousand.
    Doing the math, the profit per bullet ratio would surpass blanket death sentence.

  38. Tyler makes some good points. The national US newsmedia, it seems to me, suppresses coverage on the threat from “Hispanic” South American narcos, gangs, and etc. as part of media’s political correctness. Politicians pander to all manner of lobbies whether Zionist, or Hispanic, or whatever….The LA Times does, however, have an excellent on going series and others should follow suit.
    The illegal immigration issue does come into this as Tyler points out. Illegal aliens are illegal precisely because they have not followed the proper procedures for LEGAL immigration into the United States. They have no more “right” to be here illegally than American citizens have a right to be illegally in Mexico, or in any country for that matter.
    Do notice the correct technical term is “illegal aliens.” The newsmedia and the politically correct use the term “undocumented worker” or “undocumented migrant.”
    I worked on the illegal immigration issue while in the Senate during a major revision of the laws: Simpson-Mazzoli back in the mid-1980s. Those of us who opposed illegal immigration and sought to do something about it were essentially rolled by the majority. Out of 100 votes in the Senate, I recall a “no amnesty” amendment got about 20 votes. The politically correct of that day got what they wanted from Simpson-Mazzoli and we see the effects here in the US a quarter century later…as many of us predicted.
    The US had no real illegal immigration problem with Mexico prior to the 1980s. There was a little but nothing really problematic. It was when the Mexican economy started to disintegrate under the effects of the socialist policies of Echevarria and the corruption of later governments that the flood started across the border. The US was an economic safety valve for the oligarchic (and plutocratic) Mexican elite. No jobs in Mexico? Well, then promote Mexicans moving out to the US which will take care of them…
    I do not recall the annualized arrest rates of illegals at the border during the 1980s precisely but it was fast rising. For every arrest, several more got through some saying about 3 to 5 for 1 arrested. The issue of how many stayed or moved back and forth is another consideration.
    Tyler, how many arrests of illegals on an annual basis have there been in recent years about across the entire southern border?
    Like the jihadis who move through Muslim communities living in Europe intimidating them, the same happens here with the narcos/gangs and Hispanic populations (legal or illegal) in the US.
    The narco issue came into its modern phase in the early 1980s as well. Pressure from the US Coast Guard and other counternarcotics operations in the Carribbean pushed the Colombian based cocaine traffickers further up our East Coast for drop zones. Also, the narcos began to use the land bridge to the US via Mexico. To do this, however, they had to cut the Mexican organized crime guys (and some politicians) in on the profits. Later, yet another line of attack was developed running up our West Coast by sea. Additionally, air drops were undertaken so small private aircraft were used and landed inside the border in Texas and etc.
    Thus, the cocaine flood in the US in the 1980s. During this period, the cocaine mafias realized that they could also produce and then move heroin into the US market. Heroin is much more profitable by weight than cocaine and thus is more cost efficient to smuggle. The South American cocaleros brought in assistance from specialists from Pakistan and Afghanistan (yes this was reported) with respect to the creation of their heroin product from the standpoint of raising the plants to chemical processing. Then they used their cocaine distribution networks across the US to introduce the new product. Very logical business.
    The American people are asleep on this issue owing in part to the newsmedia and to our politicians. But the threat has been increasing over the past quarter century. It seems that Americans living along the border have a sense of the situation but this does not permeate much north of the border/war zone…

  39. These were two of the key “Hispanic” lobbying orgs back in the 1980s during the immigration law debates over Simpson-Mazzoli. They were shoestring ops back then and now…:
    On the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli legislation:

  40. Redhand says:

    If the U.S. really wants a failed state on its southern border using JSOC is certainly a way to achieve that. Fine with me as a European.
    I mentioned this post to my daughter at dinner yesterday, because she spent time in Mexico last year doing volunteer work at a Mexican orphanage. (It’s what you get when you send your kid to a Jesuit University, but I’m OK with it).
    Anyway, I asked her, based on her experience in Mexico, whether she would consider the place a “failed state.” The instant response was, “Absolutely.”
    Not too long ago there was a clip on the PBS Newshour about Mexican use of the army to fight the drug cartels, especially in the border towns. The reason was because the local police had been totally compromised by the drug lords. A commentator pointed out that troops were no substitute for people like police detectives, whose investigatory talents are essential in attacking this kind of criminality, but that the military was the only instrument available.
    Given this kind of societal and governmental breakdown, perhaps treating the border as a war zone is the only real course open to us. There is a long tradition in international law of having the right to engage in cross border activities when a lack of control in a neighboring state threatens one’s own security.
    I think we’re there, though there must be diplomatic window-dressing to pave the way for U.S. action. I regret this, but like Col. Lang I am really tired of the spill-over of this chaos into our country, even though I recognize that U.S. demand for illegal drugs is what fuels it.

  41. Peter says:

    Well-disciplined attention that the JSOC can bring to the fight would be one of the needed elements in the War On Drugs. What happens when CIA/DEA/ICE operatives start to get popped by JSOC shooters? Or during deep intel gathering the word comes back to stand down to the JSOC and let the plane fly, what then. I would hope that the JSOC, if allowed to start cutting off heads can do so with out political interference. Find, Fix, and Destroy. Turn the whole NSA apparatus loose to track them.
    This drug war is convoluted and so intertwined, it’s hard to find the head and cut it off. We must start to cut off the heads for real. Demand side reduction is the only way in the end. We are being attacked on our own soil. We have to fight back, or allow these Cartels in the end to own and control the political and economic core.
    What head will be the highest one cut off on the U.S. side?

  42. Cold War Zoomie says:

    It’s always fun to read the comments here, broken into two basic camps: the idealists versus the pragmatists. Idealism makes America great – we wouldn’t exist without it. We wouldn’t have progressed without it. Sometimes, it is our greatest weakness, since idealism insists on long-term, almost perfect solutions.
    These drug gangs are evil, plain and simple. They are posting their torture and murders on Youtube to show how ruthless they are. That is happening RIGHT NOW.
    It’s time for the pragmatists to deal with the situation as it is TODAY. I think the problem with the idealistic view now is that it allows the situation to deteriorate while some perfect, long-term solution is sought.
    Guess what – there ain’t going to be any legalization of any drugs in the USA any time soon. That is at least another 15-20 years down the road.
    So, all we can accomplish right now is to apply whatever tools we have today to tamp down the violence on our borders. If that means bribing some Mexican officials to establish some legal framework to send in our “operators,” then so be it.
    I for one am not a violent man, but it would bring me great pleasure knowing that our operators who are willing to pull the trigger are smoking these drug lord assholes.

  43. Tyler says:

    I’d have to be on a work computer to access the information you requested, but I know from personal experience that we’ve processed numbers in the thousands at the sector level, and we’re still waiting to hit our “busy” season.
    And you nailed it on the head when you talked about Mexico and the undue influence that country exerts when it comes to our immigration policy. What’s the number 2 source of income for Mexico? Remittances from up north. So don’t buy the hype that illegal aliens feed back into local economies.
    Our country is used as a safety valve for all the criminal/revolutionary/unwanted minority elements as well. I remember apprehending a family from Cancun, and asking why they’d want to leave for Chicago. The mother snapped at me “You try being dark skinned and living in Mexico. Its not so nice.”
    However, with all this going on, most Americans are still happy to believe the hype that these are just poor undocumented migrants that just want to work. I don’t believe anything is going to change until someone gets a terrorist weapon through the SW border and takes out a city like San Diego, El Paso, or Phoenix.

  44. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Tyler and Peter bring up some good points – sorry I didn’t read their comments before posting mine.
    These are tactical issues that can be worked out.
    Turn the whole NSA apparatus loose to track them.
    Funny, when the Wall came down in the early 1990s and Cuba ran out of money, NSA looked at transitioning the SIGINT site in Honduras that we used to intercept Nicaraguan and El Salvadorian targets over to drug interdiction. They decided against it for some reason.

  45. Tyler, thanks for the comments and assist with the numbers.
    I recall some of all this from my days in 1981 onwards working this issue from Capitol Hill, first illegal immigratation, then narcotics beginning in 1983. This work related to the emerging trends beginning at that time. Now it is 25 years later. A few us of who worked on this in the old days are still in touch, some colleagues have since died.
    We worked with Border Patrol and all manner of law enforcement, intell, State Department, DEA, Customs, and so forth as we moved through our investigations. I myself spent considerable time south of the border on various issues: counternarcotics and counterterrorism. I also was down in Miami on a number of occasions … that old Holiday Inn on Brickell usually, sometimes the Intercon, for those who may recall that day.
    When we looked at border security we had to try to find some statistical indicators to get a feel for the situation and the dynamics. So one area I looked at was arrest rates by Border Patrol. As I said before, things really started to gain momentum in the early 80s as Mexico unravelled for various reasons. I seem to recall a border wide arrest rate of about 100,000 per month back in this time or about 1 million per year…I may be wrong in my recollection. But for every arrest a certain number naturally would get through thus adding illegals to our population then with their children and grandchildren now among us.
    Of course no one wants to discuss the demographic issue which has arisen over the last quarter of a century owing to the failure of Simpson-Mazzoli of 1986 and illegal immigration. No one wants to discuss the costs to localities, counties, states owing to illegal immigration…we are looking at many billions of dollars of TAXPAYERS’ money.
    Here is a 2006 article by Simson and Mazzoli:
    Compare what they say to what the critics said back in 1981-1986 when this legislation was ongoing. I was in the middle of it at the staff level. We, the opponents, always felt Simpson and Mazzoli simply sold out to the pro-immigration lobbies which included “white” corporate America seeking cheap “brown” labor etc.
    Personally, I like Mexico, the Mexican people, and Mexican culture. I speak Spanish (and Portuguese) among other languages. I have been over quite a bit of Mexico from north to south, east to west, and have friends there. In more recent years, I have met President Zedillo in his office there, have had dinner with Vicente Fox during his first presidential campaign, have met many folks on the right-left-center etc and so on. The narcotics issue came up naturally.
    I feel sorry for the tens of millions of decent folks of all income and social levels in Mexico who are victims of the narco-crime violence and all the rest. But my job was to defend the US, and thus I took a very hard line and still do. The soft line has gotten us to where we are today. How much longer can we tolerate current and worsening conditions?
    I noted the demise of a top Mexican narco in the last couple of weeks. It seems his replacement to be was born in Texas…
    I would also remind folks that the narco war was linked to aspects of the Cold War. Our adversaries calculated narcotics addiction would weaken our population and polity. Just what was the role of Cuba, for example, with respect to the narco trade in this Hemisphere? And what about the Soviet hand lurking in the background, and the Soviet bloc services interlink to Cuba (try the Czech as a starter) in the narco war???
    Take a look at Joe Douglass’ book “Red Cocaine” for some background:

  46. John Minnerath says:

    It’s a pleasure to read information written by someone who was there as it were.
    Thank you, thought provoking stuff.

  47. Charles I says:

    Aside from my usual comment that “They” obviously like the current arrangement – that has resulted in a pressing blowback
    close to home – I must concur with those concerned about drawing lines, legality, morality etc.
    Not for those reasons on the face of them. Rather, because I’d see it as further indicia of a long blurry series of lines
    your rulers have drawn around your Constitution,to constrain the rule of law in the United States while militarizing your
    foreign policy on the grounds that your domestic way of life requires perpetual foreign wars as well as a war on human nature
    in general and the selective criminalization of it at home and abroad.
    Of course, the War on Drugs does have all those features that piss off lefties like me.
    This allows for the most egregious civil rights outrages to be sold as as minor kerfluffles inflicted on scumbags and losers
    suffered for your own good as well as that of the nation. It habituates the population to the concept that its quite alright
    to enjoy ones’s pecadillos in the comfort of one’s own home while suffering your fellows to be prosecuted by paramilitary
    style law enforcement against poverty-striken losers you will pay to jail for the same offences.
    The war on drugs is perfectly suited to selectively cow segments of society that may be inclined to resist non governemental
    culture wars, as well as another pressure point to control the privileged elite who themselves dabble in drugs or young boys
    themselves should they publically stray from the nauseatingly hypocritical ideolgically or religiously enforced reservations,
    or publically muse that perhaps the emperor indeed has no clothes.
    It ensures a steady stream of feedstock to surveil, arrest, prosecute and jail, an important part of your economy given that
    you have 2 million people locked up, a clear majority of them for drugs.
    But much more insidiously, the war on drugs has expanded from Reefer Madness through the failure of Prohibition and
    facilitaion of garden variety white gangsterism to the point where it now conveniently facilitates militarization of foreign
    policy and affords cover for introducing armed forces turned narcs, as opposed to law enforcement, to host countries that are
    the reputed source of the problem, and/or happen to be strategically located near some vector of interest. And while doing
    so, our own polities are riven by hypocrisy and culture wars as our domestic police ecome ever more militarized and
    expensive, ever less controllable or accountable.
    The campaign you propose, whatever its efficacy in reducing the number of firearms discharges in Mexico attributable to our
    insatiable appetites and predilection for diversion from our condition, I believe is just another stage of the military
    industrial intelligence complex that china hand appears to be getting the boot for imputing a desire for its dictatorship to
    our host.
    Columbia is a case in point, while examining it below of course I’m mindful that its not the nightmare on your border Mexico
    I find no coincidence in reporting first that Columbia has granted the U.S. military access to deploy armed forces in seven
    Columbian locations, followed by reporting that Columbia has recently moved heliecopter asault elements to the border with
    Venuzuela, our favourite latin American charismatic threat to world order. These developments bookended multibillion dollar
    Chinese investmet the Venuzuelan energy sector, while Plan Columbia also had an energy exploration security angle to it.
    As well, it appears that these elements in the War On Drugs in Columbia are to be deployed independantly of Plan Columbia,
    the multibillion dollar antidrug military & economic assistance that was and is subject to Congressional oversight.
    The new basing agreements and de facto SOF’s are hence not subject to particular Congressional scrutiny outside of the global
    military budget, although their stated purpose is “filling the gaps left by the eventual cutting of [military] aid in Plan
    Colombia,” according to sources in Washington and Bogotá’ and they involve the deployment of American forces to a foreign
    country to prosecute the drug war, but apprently the DEA remit has it covered.
    So as a comprehensive plan of military assistance under Congressional imprimitaur winds down due to, what else, budgets, it
    appears to be replaced with direct insertion and stationing of US armed forces under US rather than Columbian jurisdiction as
    opposed to the training/support formerly afforded.
    And there are questions about the nature and scope of the proposed counter-narcotics strategy that was formerly subject to
    congressional debate and funding.
    “The proposed bases, replacements for the soon-to-closed U.S. base in Manta, Ecuador, would serve to expand the U.S.
    military’s counter-narcotic operations in the region, deepen involvement in Colombia’s counterinsurgency war, and combat
    “OTHER INTERNATIONAL CRIMES”(EMPH ADDED) according to Colombia’s Foreign Minister.
    Trite by now, but problematic for the locals is reporting that “U.S. military forces will be not be bound by Colombian law .
    . . US negotiators have made it known that “even if they won’t interfere in the exercise of command by Colombian officers on
    the bases, they will ensure the autonomy of U.S. military forces when operations go beyond Colombia’s borders.”
    The basing is politically problematic, perhaps unconstitutional for Columbia as well in that
    ” that such an agreement would bypass Article 173 of the Colombian Constitution, which prohibits the presence of
    foreign troops except in transit, and then only after legislative approval. Multiple protests have been held in
    downtown Bogota, and a national day of action is being planned for August 7 – the national holiday celebrating the
    Colombian armed forces – as opposition to these military bases grows.”
    And yet,
    “even the Colombian Congress has yet to receive detailed information from the Uribe administration, despite repeated
    official requests. Nonetheless, on Tuesday Uribe began a South America tour to convince his regional counterparts of the
    plan, despite not having briefed his own Congress.”
    Regional counterparts in Ecuador, Venuzueal and Brazil are not amused.
    Analysis below goes on to cast further doubt about the nature of a deployment supposedly needed to make up for coverage of
    Pacific Ocean smuggling routes that the Manta, Equador location afforded. John Lindsay Poland spent years studying U.S.
    military bases around the world, wrote that
    “the locations of the bases under negotiation raise further questions. None of them are on the coast of the Pacific
    Ocean, where aircraft from the Manta base patrolled for drug traffic – supposedly with great success,reflecting how traffic
    has increased in the Pacific. Three of the bases are clustered near each other on the Caribbean coast, not far from existing
    U.S. military sites in Aruba and Curacao – and closer to Venezuela than to the Pacific Ocean. Why are U.S. negotiators
    apparently forgoing Pacific sites, if counternarcotics is still part of theU.S. military mission? What missions ‘beyond
    Colombia’s borders’ are U.S. planners contemplating?”
    Seven New US Military Bases in Colombia Is Hardly a Move to the Left
    My point is not that there isn’t merit in killing off gangsters and thugs right next door, but that the war on drugs is like
    an iceberg. We see the shootouts, the piles of dope, cash and guns on dispaly by preening narcs who must acknowledge that
    their catch is a drop in the bucket even as they tout their particular success on the evening news with inflated seizure
    values calculated to impress where barely a dent has been made. The War on Drugs is big business, and very profitable for all
    sides, but its return on investment as pitched accrues soley to empires of criminals, narcs, spies and armies, and in no way
    to the general betterment of society and governance.
    Done bugger all to usage.
    It is a handy law and order meme to propogate amongst those conservatively inclined folk who might not repond as well to the
    truth about drug use and its costs(as oppsed to the international drug business, now the turf of international mafias,
    governments and the finacial system) and support ideologues who couldn’t care a whit about the human fodder of their forceful
    fantasises of perfection. If I beleived that proponents and supporters were sincere AND INFORMED, I might at least credit
    them their good faith along with their obtuseness. That simply cannot be the case when all the data, criminology, psycholgy,
    medicine and history demonstrating its absolute bankruptcy as social or political policy have now been widely disseminated.
    It is those people – the leaders and the led who are hysterical about this or that threat, who do not see any problem in
    prohibition, hypocrisy, bankrupting wars and insane financial structures, the invidious corruption big cash and the vector of
    dope, arms, diamonds, sex and The Great Game(s) ensure. The punishing legal regimes of drastic minimum sentences that put
    some putz in jail for 25 to life for a weed or a bit of white powder never seem to be applied as rigourously against spies,
    traitors, fraudlent contractors and criminals that seem to comprise international relations at the moment. Not to mention
    their puppetmasters and paymasters.
    Of course, the program Pat mooted above has not been tested here, so there’s no data to review, my example of Columbia not
    apt given the clear and present danger the mafias, cartels and their enablers present.
    I’ll take you at your professional word that a lot of us “have no real talent for violence on the scale that I am talking
    about. You fear the drug gangs?”
    Well, I don’t fear the drug gangs as much as I fear my fellow drivers here in the ant hill that goes by the moniker “Greater
    Toronto Area”. Before it was completely paved it used to be called The Golden Horsehoe, but I digress. Pathetically for a
    bleeding heart like me, its no skin off my nose if drug dealers want to kill each other, which they do here with some
    regularity, and to date the collaterall damage is surely less rush hour.
    Bloody right I have no talent for large scale blooshed and my thanks to those of you that have on our behalf, but I’m agin it
    in this context because I don’t think it will be effective and I think it will follow a trend that potentiates
    executive/authoritarian blurring of law emforcement and war and the issue of loosening the reins on state monopolies of
    violence in and ACROSS those domains at a time when private mercenaries are being well paid to play sub rosa roles in both.
    Its just not a good thing given human nature, and the patent herdability of Americans by means of the FOX/GOP shreikoramas
    when fear, insecurity, ignorance and greed abound.
    And morally, well, I only smoke pot, pot that I grow, a threat to nobody except people that would rather I buy a bloody weed
    for literally criminal prices from them – who do get it from organized crime, here in Ontario seems to be Vietnamese running
    the grow op logistics while the bikers control distribution.
    And a robust programme of extra-judicial prosecution will solve NOTHING. If you could conduct the perfect campaign of terror
    including against the ranks of finacial and government collaborators maybe so. But some where this hydra is connected to
    American things that go bump in the night. Governments and narcs always protect and indeed enable their own pet dealers,
    thugs and criminals, and the latter often manipulate the former to the detriment of competitors, enemies, or just because
    there’s a buck in it. The Iran-Contra affair, and Nicaragua as a THREAT TO THE HEMISPHERE mandating heroic defiance of
    Congress to circumvent the rule of law at once revealed that governmental elements will do as they like, and have no
    compunction about resorting to the drug and arms trades and other criminality that may be required to effect the saving of
    mankind from leftist Latin America or the next threat.
    Many governments, or elements of them, by corruption or conviction are now deeply engaged in international criminality of
    many kinds as a means to a greater political end, and the drug trade plays an important role in the global economy both licit
    and illicitl, direct and indirectly, that these parties utilize to avoid oversight or legal restrictions. We took out Panama,
    supposedly for dope, but the tinfoil hat crowd sees CIA, Bush the Elder, Panama Canal, and the dirty wars of the 70’s and
    80’s that somehow combinewd to put an End to the good General’s utility more than the threat from the drug criminality
    All the action just moves elsewhere while the chumps change chairs or cells and in the next theatre a curtain is raised on
    some other pressing scene in the drama that brings us here together.
    Since “National Security” often trumps criminal law these days without a word revealed except to say that this one can’t go
    to trial because it would reveal how in bed we are with them, er, endanger intelligence collection and compromise
    relationships with governments and agencies that are more important than the rule of law, I predict the same kind of target
    vetting may derail a strike or two, as we want our own dealers to be the last man standing.
    The human desire bone is ultimately connected through some of this mess to the various and fanciful deires of our own
    powerful foreign policy, miltary and intelligence elites, and they swim there enabled by the global cancer to effect some
    particular end they or their masters cannot effect by overt means.
    I do understand the difference between debating the War on Drugs and and the manifest security problem of Mexico’s cartels
    and their civil wars, as well as the globalization of the whole dope/gun/s diamonds/sex slaves networks, present the US. And
    surely by now they have established connections with the Chinese, venerable dealers who never seem to make the news. But its
    all of piece now. And governments partake, willingly, and via corrupted enforcement, and via international relations by
    diplomacy or force that inevitably bump up against some bit of the underworld that is given a pass by the authorities so as
    to be used for passage into their domains for other purposes, other deals, other wars.
    I believe based on research and experience – I’m a former jailed drug trafficker who smuggled soft drugs between four
    countries on a very small scale, and subsequently a lawyer – that the war on drugs and current prohibition regime are
    configured exactly as the people with the power to say a drug case can’t go to trial becasue of National Security concerns
    wish them to be, even if they rely upon indirect means to their ends. A lot of the metatasizing international gangs that now
    pose real security threats are just somebody else’s collateral chaff to winnow out of the bigger picture that matters from a
    different angle to somebody more powerful, if not lawful, moral or beneficial.
    And of course as a complete chronic and bleeding heart, that kind of state slaughter is a johny-come-lately response to
    partly self inflicted wounds, wholly disproportionate to your ruthless Mexican gangster’s global culpability in the whole
    mess. The Afghan poppy warlords were once far away and needed, now Nato says its gonna fight them, although a cohort was
    prominent in the front row at Karzai’s recent swearing in.The ultimate players are perforce in cahoots with various
    neer-do-wells in Iran, Russia and Pakistan and, I dare say, Washington, Wall Street, the IMF and the Chinese.
    Ruthless crazed drug dealers who expose themselves to public sanction are a dime a dozen,and as long as there is povery and
    prohibition, they always will be. By all means, let the Federales kill all the Mexican cartelitos they can, but the best we
    could hope for will be a monopoly situation that ends violent market share competion and consolidation once the smoke clears.
    Unless the Mexican drugs = Nat security threat can trump those enabling/protecting their bits of the trade, its a bit of
    whack-a mole.
    The gangster violence is dangerous, but I imagine more, I hate to say, “innocent” Americans die as a result of far less
    intractable conditons that could be readily addressed with no foreign bloodshed.
    Similarly, if you retired all those marijuana narcs and jailers you could put ’em to work at the NSA where I am certain for
    no reason other than informed cynicism, that clues to the machinations of the government, corporate and financial entities
    that are directly enabling, benefitting from and sometimes sheilding the drug cartels could be found that would allow for
    international financial interdiciton, prosecution and seizure. Except whole countries would be shut down overnight, with a
    lot of powerful people exposed as blithe abettors of international gangsterism for their own pecuniary, political or
    psychological reward. They engender corruption, terrorism and militarization of policy in that order and they are often
    fervent proponents the long war, continuous transfers of taxpayor’s income to private corporate capital, contraction of civil
    liberties balanced by unfettered corporate ones.
    Turn off the money, they’ll go elsewhere. Shoot at them, they’ll just move to Belize. Which I would prefer remain the poor
    beautiful little backwater it is.
    But really, after all that blather, it just makes my little bleeding heart reaction protester(who boots up with the
    disputatious lawyer macro) want to jump and shout that we are in fact part of the problem, the people we should now shoot are
    simply making the most of opportunities that prohibiton in wealthy otherwise free countries provide. And that the fact that
    its gotten so mixed up with state-threatening criminality and international sub rosa competiton and the GWOT that the
    flatheads I despise use and shaped for their own very anti-democratic, anti-human puposes makes me want to oppose more
    extra-territorial firepower to deal with a problem I am insulated from.
    No talent indeeed.
    I admit it. I believe everything I wrote. Nonetheless the US has no alternative but to take those steps it sees fit to
    secure itself, and targeting violent criminals is a rational response. But its no solution. Thanks heavens I don’t have to
    figure it out.
    I’ll just say this. If pot had been legalized long ago, we would be far far ahead of this curve because the hypocrisy and
    vindictiveness of marijauna prosecutions coupled with the profit from the market of millions criminalized users undercut the
    credibility of the government that criminalized them while establishing the conditons for the whole criminal apparatus from
    farmer to suborned offical to user to banker to expand exponentially to the usual level of soft intoxicant use and abuse in
    western populations, whreupon instead of the profits being socially allocated by government to citizens the loot went to foreign criminals with their own antisocial uses for the dough.
    And here we are.

  48. Patrick Lang says:

    Charles I
    Oh, come on, do you really think that I care what drug you or anyone else wants?
    It is the MONEY, the everlastingly corrupting money that I want to stop.
    If legalization would not result in massive addiction, then I would be for it. Unfortunately, the poorest groups in our society would be the most likely to be destroyed by government subsidization of their addiction.
    These scum bag drug lords? You don’t want them dead? That I could not understand. The units I write of have suffered enormous losses in the last seven years and still there is no lack of volunteers.

  49. John Minnerath,
    Thanks for the kind words. I am semi-retired now and look back on a lot of things when considering the present and speculating about the future. I wish I could say more publicly, as I guess many SST readers in federal service, past and present also wish they could.
    The border war I have been talking about really runs across the entire United States — urban and rural — all 50 states and its deep.
    The way I look at it, we as a people have plenty of capability to deal with the issue. So I am an optimist in this sense. I am, however, concerned about the inexcusable and massive waste of blood and treasure on unnecessary wars like Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these billions should have been going into Homeland Security, state and local police-fire-rescue, and national intelligence.
    On the plus side, in addition to our state, local, and federal government officials — civilian, police, military etc. — we also have a very well armed citizenry.
    Thus, our fellow citizens can come into public service as what one might call “citizen-soldiers” when needed and be duly legally deputized as auxiliary forces to assist our local and state police, for example, in times of national emergency here at home. There would be more than enough volunteers immediately I am certain. We can step up pressure on the bad guys on our soil through expanding opportunities for bounty hunters. And of course we are going to have a lot of returning service men and women with wartime and combat experience. Their skills and experience can be brought into play against the narcos and foreign gangs and all that operating on our soil.
    I think the situation in Mexico and further south is going to drive a noticeably increasing level of violence here at home in the near term. Combining this with increased Islamist jihadi ops against us here at home a challenging picture emerges. What would the situation look like with several 911s spread out around the country simultaneously??? These ops being “joint” between AQ types and the narcos….ah yes, jointness.
    Our adversaries should reflect on the levels of violence we have used in the past which have included nuclear weapons. We are not a non-violent people or nation…thankfully.

  50. KHarbaugh says:

    My fear is the spread of corruption.
    Those drug cartels have so much money to spend
    corrupting whoever gets in their way.
    You know how much the U.S. military gets paid.
    There is no way that some, perhaps many,
    of our forces will not succumb to the temptation.
    How can that be contained?

  51. Patrick Lang says:

    That’s what courts-martial are for. pl

  52. Tyler says:

    Don’t forget the “La Raza” types taking a page from the Zionist handbook of painting anyone who disagrees with them with the racist brush and screaming about racial profiling whenever their political base is threatened.
    The illegal immigration and drug problems from the south go hand in hand. If you can close or severely limit the one, you will do the same to the other.
    I don’t have anything against Mexicans or anyone else who immigrates here legally, but the fact of the matter is that we cannot pick and choose the laws we want to follow. Unfortunately, the open border types down here (mainly college students from the northeast and mid west) tend not to follow that logic. I guess when you’re a daddy’s money baby and not competing for jobs, you don’t think these things through.
    Col. Lang,
    You know the Border Patrol has its own “operators” in the form of BORTAC, who have been present in Columbia and south of the line for quite some time now.

  53. mlaw230 says:

    Interesting as usual.
    I would think there would be a legal precedent for actually marching an expeditionary force into feral regions of Mexico. But if we do so, and it would be fraught with unintended consequences, we should do so in broad daylight, in uniform and without the use of “contractors.”
    If sovereignty is really a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, then Mexico does not have sovereignty over these regions, but we if we just send death squads don’t we subvert our own sovereignty by doing so?
    Also, in a culture so clearly corrupted by narco dollars,and fear, where do you draw the line between the legitimate target and those terrified into compliance? Can that practically be done?
    It seems that we would have the same problems in Mexico that we are having in Afghanistan, yet many posters here see little problem with your Swiftian proposal because you have changed the problem from stateless actors driven by religious zealotry to stateless actors driven by drug money.

  54. curious says:

    Thus, our fellow citizens can come into public service as what one might call “citizen-soldiers” when needed and be duly legally deputized as auxiliary forces to assist our local and state police, for example, in times of national emergency here at home.
    Posted by: Clifford Kiracofe | 27 December 2009 at 08:17 PM
    Katrina in New Orleans certainly proves otherwise. That citizen with guns quickly degenerate into armed mob and take away whatever order left that police can control. Without group training, people does not know what to do, gun just add unknown variable in the chaos.
    In fact if I have to predict how America ends. It would be everybody starts shooting afghanistan style while zealots running around inciting commotion.
    If one looks at modern history, what makes a country strong militarily/ahead of other nation is creation of national policy that tightly coupled economy, industrial innovation and maintenance of discipline arm force. not how man guns are active. Looking at top 20 biggest countries at least, nobody is allowed guns possession except for arm service or conscription (mostly smaller country).
    But America takes its historical oddity as normative. a) America has no real next door rival. b) It’s never been in constant war of equal. c)2nd amendment was written out of 18th century revolution and frontier live necessity, not $300 chinese made AK-47 at local gun shop, near realistic shoot em up game and mass media/internet. d)Throughout early postwar period America is pretty isolated culturally. (compared to Asia & europe where people go in and out between countries.)
    So recent things like Columbine, Koresh-Waco, shoot the president-Foxnews-Glenn Beck-tea party are bigger accident waiting to happens. All those are classic modern insurgency trick. Total headshaking moment.
    One crazy and charismatic zealot start hearing voice from God in the middle of national economic crash, magnified by media hysteria. It’s over. It’ll be free republic of Texaskistan or nation of Colorado for Jesus in a jiffy. Trifecta of gun, free speech, God.

  55. rudolf says:

    if the Poverty Fabrics are not shot down throughout the Americas, there will be no end for this über and growing violence
    ANY teenager in Rio’s favelas is ready to be the new boss. They don’t care about dying. They only know this job and it’s the only one there is. And killing and dying is part of their daily lives since they put feet on this world.
    This is an old debate in Brasil, cause, you all must know, Rio de Janeiro is like Tijuana and New York in the same place.
    So, if you really wanna go into the war path, you must end killing everybody in that hellish and impoverished communities.
    In the other hand, you can incorporate those communities in a ‘normal’ standard of living and nobody will shoot nobody, they won’t need to immigrate nowhere, much less growing or selling dope.
    Maybe this sounds idealist, but money, lots of it, for the banks there was.

  56. Vicente says:

    A few mini-observations:
    *Prior to my residence in the beltway, I bounced around the deserts of California as a reporter for a number of years – most of which was spent in the shadow of our border with Mexico. Literally. I had a nice little ranchita next to some aflalfa and asparagus fields that were less than two miles from Baja California. Tyler is right – this debate is a lot different when viewed from back here than on the line. And yes, the BP is hated on both sides… unfairly even in many cases. There is currently a fence that runs the length of Calif.’s border with Mexico. It serves as little more than a speed bump according to the BP I know and still hear from.
    *This talk about ‘spill over’ is coming from people who have little to any experience living near the border. The murder rate in El Paso is a miniscule portion of Juarez’s (same with the border town I lived in). This is not the days of “The Wild Bunch.” There is a border, and little incentive for the narco syndicates to bring their reign of terror to the other side. Assasinations of state law enforcement officials (Baja California, not CA) while not exactly commonplace back in 2002-2004 was not a rarity. Mexicali, for all its progress, remains very much a stratified city – much like its border neighbors. I was and remain comfortable walking around it, with a modicum of common sense and staying in touch with folks. Mexico was toying with failed statehood back then (hell, it treats its poor like coal, oil and pork bellies.. a commodity to be exported) it is certainly openly flirting with it now.
    *Few have mentioned the strict sovereignty issues that would have to be dealt with. Mexico has long be EXTREMELY touchy about foreign forces on their soil (quick.. any of you all recall doing exercises with the Mexican Military.. in Mexico? Probably not.). It was a big deal when they sent a few jeeps up to help out with Hurricane Katrina a few years back. In this manner, the Mexican military has more in common with our friends the Pakistanis. Sure, JSOC could probably do its business most of the time. But the Mexican military is not created equal, as we witnessed with their Navy’s takedown of the kingpin last week (and the subsequent assasination of the hero’s family). The possibility of any ‘understandings’ going sideways at any given time is extremely high dealing with these folks. Just ask the Border Patrol.. they’ve been harassed by Mexican military units for years.
    There’s no easy solution to this problem (anyone remember Pablo Escobar? This approach worked with him, but the problem just migrated…) and it has to do with our drug policy as well as our foreign policy relating to the Mexican state. We should be very concerned about state failure in Mexico – a humanitarian crisis the likes of which we can’t grasp could well up in no time.
    So far from god, so close to the US. Andale pues.
    Perhaps Ed Abbey was right. His solution to the illegal immigration problem was to send everyone back to Mexico, with a few days food, a rifle and ammunition. “The Mexican people know who their enemies are,” he wrote.

  57. Patrick Lang says:

    Tyler, Vicente at al
    My modest proposal is directed at a situation in which the Mexican gocernment is actually in the process of collapse. If that is not so, then we do not need to recreate the situation in which we last intervened in Mexico.
    Incidentally, Trooper Walter Lang rode into Chihuahua with the 6th Cavalry Regiment in 1916. He was our father. pl

  58. Patrick Lang says:

    Cato the Censor
    We are already doing that? Maybe in the movies. Don’t belief all the BS some guy in a bar tells you.
    This has nothing to do with stopping people from taking drugs here. It has everything to do with reducing the flow out of Mexico and preventinh the slop-ove of chaos across the border.
    It also has nothing to do with immegration.
    I do get a kick out of some of you who break out in a rash at the thought of violence. Embassy marines used to say that the Foreign Service battle cry was “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! They’ll kill us all.” This sounds a bit like that. pl

  59. Patrick Lang says:

    For those who want to legalize hard drugs, are you also in favor of govenment issue of heroin and cocain to those who want them but can not pay? pl

  60. Patrick Lang says:

    Fred’s Track
    I couldn’t stand it. I took the “mere second tier” part out. pl

  61. Agree with PL! Mexico is a failed state. Question is whether the “failed state’ syndrome now racks the US?
    Of the 190 UN recognized Nation-states, even given the vast discrepancy in population numbers of the top 20, does the US rank first in anything but foreign arms sales and disposals and military related budgets? Some evidence that the Byzantine Empire fell because the Rentier/Finance class sucked it dry? HMMMMMM! Any similarities here?

  62. mlaw230 says:

    the death of Mr. Beltran: A short happy life a s a rich powerful man versus the long misery of poverty. Which would you choose?

  63. Tyler,
    Well yes, we got called “racists” by the Left back in the 80s debates on Simpson-Mazzoli. On the other hand, Hispanic-American leaders from the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas (and elswhere) with whom I spoke were patriotic Americans and stood for a firm policy supporting enforcement of US laws against illegal activity by foreign nationals.
    The reality was/is that we were/are friends of Mexico. Personally, I have great respect for President Juarez and that tradition of reform. On one visit to Mexico, I made it a point to spend some time in Queretaro, a very fine city with stunning museums, cathedral-churches, and zocalo, etc. In Queretaro, I had the opportunity to visit the old building and room in which the “Emperor” Maximillian was held pending his well justified execution.
    Patriotic and progressive reformers like President Cardenas did a lot to move Mexico forward in the difficult 1930s and the US and Mexico had very good relations from World War II down through the 1960s into the 1970s. President Miguel Aleman reached out to the US and it was reciprocated thereby benefiting both countries.
    The crisis we are currently facing has its roots in the situation emerging in the 1980s with the narcos and powerful organized crime networks. Unfortunately, this criminal activity with its billions of dollars was able to make considerable inroads into Mexican political life and government. Of course, decent people opposed this but the narcos are powerful given the billions at their disposal.
    Mexico is our neighbor, the LAST thing we want to see is that it becomes a failed state and heads into a violent-revolutionary situation. Take a look at Mexican history. For example, how many people died in the bloody revolutionary period from 1911 to the late 1920s or so? A hundred thousand? Two hundred thousand? It was very violent down that way for a long time.
    So we want Mexico to succeed economically so as to have prosperity and jobs and a future for its people. We want to see stability and democracy there. In this condition, Mexico would not pose the threat that it has with respect to illegal immigration, narcoterrorism, gangs and crime.
    As far as I am concerned, we need to do everything in our power to help President Calderon, a conservatve, who is faced with a severe crisis now. I would say the same thing if a liberal would be president there today.
    But as you well know working on the front line, the current situation is very challenging to say the least. It remains to be seen how the Obama Administration is going to handle this challenge.
    William R. Cumming,
    Prior to the Byzantines, the Romans also became corrupted as they engaged in empire building…the Byzantines allowed their “theme” system of farmer-militias on the eastern flank to breakdown as the financier-rentier class consolidated control over the former farm lands of the farmer-militia men who became impoverished and marginalized.

  64. Eric Dönges says:

    For those who want to legalize hard drugs, are you also in favor of govenment issue of heroin and cocain to those who want them but can not pay?
    No. The idea is to remove the vast profits of the illegal drug trade and the criminal activity associated with it, not encourage drug abuse. Decriminalization does not equal endorsement.

  65. Charles I says:

    Sorry about the formatting.
    ‘These scum bag drug lords? You don’t want them dead? That I could not understand. The units I write of have suffered enormous losses in the last seven years and still there is no lack of volunteers.”
    Pat, talentless as I am, I understand. Try and understand this.
    Perhaps America could consider that occasionally the world tires of the one-size-fits-all American response to its self-inflicted addictions to oil, dope and despots – shoot at everyone except yourselves when your dates bite you in the ass.
    The drug lords and their impedimenta are the in large part creatures of the prohibition and permanent war policies of successive US governments, and when they are utile, they are used against extra-territorial American targets and collateral innocents without qualm,
    The tale of cynical serial American policy is detailed and well cited by Peter Dale Scott: “Drugs, Oil And War The United States in Afghanistan, Columbia and Indochina” Rowman & Littlefield 2003. Great powers have been at it since the Opium wars, no doubt china has a few plans for the west in this regard.
    Money is your problem? Get serious. Legalize and shoot the bankers. If parts of your government can create conditions whereby they can mount illegal foreign wars against the wishes of the populace why can’t they crate conditions whereby banking becomes transparent, at least to your intelligence,, courts and assassins?
    One may infer that its not wanted.
    And nobody asked you to subsidize your poorest citizens’ habits, but the notion that government welfare be directed to the citizenry to support their habits with domestic product rather than those of big oil, big pharma and big business, well, it has an appealing novelty to it.
    The research to date, sadly limited by US criminalization pressures, from places like Amsterdam and Portugal – in the latter EVERY DRUG IS LEGAL – that use and addiction do not dramatically spike contrary to trite anti-legalization argument. Portugal is still there.
    How on earth could things be any worse?
    And since it appears that many powerful people want it that way, would prefer any excuse to keep the guns pointed outward, the US ever ready to descend into the next theatre once the previous one has been secured for, er, from, America’s appetites, cynicism about American responses finds fertile ground in our mushy liberal hearts, whatever our heads and FOX tell us.

  66. James McKenzie-Smith says:

    Dear Sir,
    Given the probable disiniterest in martyrdom among Latin American drug lords, this seems to make quite a bit of sense.
    To the rest of your commentors worried about the legal aspects (the benefits of legalization of drugs, infringing on Mexican sovereignty etc.); I think that the Colonel’s main issue with the cartels is that they allow their violence to spill over the border into the USA. If it were an exclusively Mexican problem, he would be perfectly content to leave it to the Mexicans to resolve (or not). However, so long as certain Mexican criminals are making it in part an American problem, and so long as the Mexican government seems to be more or less impotent when it comes to finding a solution that protects America and Americans from their criminal element, then the Colonel feels that America is within it’s right to act.
    Sounds reasonable to me.
    Best regards,
    James McKenzie-Smith

  67. Bobo says:

    I support the Colonel’s concept of utilizing JSOC tactics against the Mexican drug lords but I also understand the main problem is the demand for drugs by US citizens. Filling our jails with drug users is not stopping demand and legalizing this stuff is not happening in my lifetime.
    I travel frequently on business to one of our Caribbean territories and have seen a dramatic change through the years to what I call a semi narco state. Their police force has been decimated through arrests for bribery, drug possession and other similar crimes. How soon or when is that going to happen here or is it already.
    We have danced around this problem for too many years and until we get off our rear ends and do something about our drug using neighbors we will be awaiting the inevitable narco state to creep in. Maybe JSOC should be sent out in the US to reduce demand.

  68. bth says:

    I was down in El Paso for the first time in 25 years this month. In the 80s I traversed all along the border looking for cell radio tower sites. Loved the experience and the people. Going back I was struck this time by the fear level, the no go areas, the loss of middle class confidence in their own safety by all concerned.
    Second, I was having lunch with law enforcement folks this week in Mass. and was told that heroin prices are so low on the east coast that crack and coke have a difficult time competing. So why the hell aren’t we defoliating the opium fields in Afghanistan if we really wanted to get serious on drugs?
    Third, perhaps our best strategy is the strengthen our friends south of the border rather than replace them. The law enforcement folks in Mexico are dealing with something like “High Noon”. Police, forensics specialists, judges, prosecutors are dealing with a level of terror we haven’t ever seen in the US. How can we support those institutions and people.
    My family was very involved with the rangers and early Texas history and what has always struck me in researching that era is that order came before law, not law before order. To the colonels point, we have to weigh in enough to tip the balance of power back to a normal civil experience south of the border.
    But is our military really discriminating enough to do this on a large scale? And if they were, wouldn’t we be doing that in Afghanistan where we virtually supply security for heroin producing drug lords?

  69. Mark Logan says:

    My local rag had a write up about the Mata-Zetas (Zeta Killers) that I think bears on a discussion about our direct-action guys jumping in there. Haven’t seen much national press about it, so here it is:
    “Renegade” Mexican Marines?

  70. graywolf says:

    “Decriminalization does not equal endorsement.”
    Didn’t do well in logic class did you?
    If I arrest you for an action, then decide to NOT arrest you for the same action the next day, that says the action is OK….ie ENDORSEMENT.

  71. Again suggest DEA be moved to DHS! Drug enforcement is a criminal justice and internal civil security issue. DOJ is too big and too poorly administered to be effective in drug enforcement. The FBI continues to have little or no interest in drug enforcement issues.

  72. Grimgrin says:

    PL: Heroin yes, register ’em, take away their drivers license, give ’em one sealed dose in a syringe with an automatically retracting needle a day. Cheaper than prison or treatment for hepatitis or AIDS, and they’re not going to be stealing to fund their habit. You could even source the heroin from Afghanistan, maybe bring a few farmers on side.
    Cocaine’s more problematic because the different consumption pattern of the drug means that it’d be impossible to implement a similar scheme. If it were possible I’d say yes to that as well.

  73. Cold War Zoomie says:

    I think this is feasible. We have ways of “helping” ($$$) the Mexican federal government shine to our idea and set up some sort of legal “joint” operation…joint only in the sense that some Mexican liaison sits with some US liaison back in Mexico City to write status reports and handle the paperwork while the all-American force wreaks havoc on the drug gangs 100s of miles away. And I would think that many higher ups in the Mexican government want these drug gangs eradicated so the more traditional means of graft and corruption can be reinstated!
    As for cross-border asymmetric retaliation. HA! There will be no concerted effort by the druggies since they will be in disarray. Plus, deep down they know we have the training, technology and firepower to turn up the heat at will. Would some lone wolf go nuts and cause trouble? Maybe. But as others have said here, they already are.
    And if the Mexicans say no to our idea, do it anyway. What are they going to do about it? They have an obligation to control the violence and crime that originates in their country and seeps over the border.
    They have a choice. Do it with us or without us. They will make the right choice!

  74. Cold War Zoomie says:

    As for legalizing drugs here in the USA. Forget about it in the short term. Whenever these important problems crop up that need immediate solutions, the dreamers and idealists come out in droves talking about the impossibility of legalizing drugs in this country.
    Don’t get me wrong. I love the dreamers and idealists – they are the folks who help move society forward. We just need some realists and pragmatists to deal with current problems like these.

  75. As you “go after” the drug lords south of your border what are you going to do to reduce the demand for their product? As long as there is a demand there will be people willing to supply.
    Are you going to go after the American banks who provide financial services to the traffickers? If so what penalties – confiscation of the cash certainly but you will need to cause a very very serious level of financial pain to those banks swinging painful crippling fines both to the corporation and levied against its directors and managers personally. Take away their homes. What will you do when you discover that one of your “too big to fail” banks is up to its neck in drug money? Are you going to go after the major shareholders in those banks? If not why not? I was of the impression that in American law a criminal was nit allowed to profit from their crime. What about the drug gangs legal advisers – do you go after them too?
    By all means go after the drug gangs and their leaders but that in and of itself is not enough. You need to make it a losing proposition to be involved with trading narcotics, producing them, transporting them, financing thems, helping to “wash” the proceeds of their sale anybody who profits – anybody and no matter at what remove – from drugs needs to suffer massive financial pain as a result. That, plus your suggestion coupled with reducing demand might do it.

  76. turcopolier says:

    markfrom ireland
    Sophistic, overly clever bullshit. We ought to legalize drugs on a government controlled and rationed basis and kill anyone who wants to illegally import drugs to the US. maybe this could be a new business for you. pl

  77. walrus says:

    I suspect i have more, and bitter, experience of drug addiction than most of you, some Six years, $200,000 and one marriage worth. The short answer to the drug problem is to legalise drug use to the point where addiction is treated as a medical issue, not a criminal matter. Decriminalise possession of less than trafficable quantities of drugs and stop the endless, counter productive, expensive and pointless harassment of users.
    In addition, and contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to do rocket science while addicted to heroin provided a regular, clean, measured dosage is available. There are plenty of addicts who hold down responsible jobs. Heroin is also a much better pain killer with less side effects than morphine. It is an almost perfect medication for terminal cancer sufferers.
    Unfortunately the private prison system and the large number of law enforcement officials who owe their jobs to “the war on drugs”, not to mention the people who derive pleasure from seeing others suffer for their alleged sins, make such an enlightened approach to the matter unlikely to be adopted in America.
    The question of using special forces to “take out” drug cartel members, while appealing, has a major downside – it threatens the peace of the world. Peace is an invented condition, as Professor Sir Michael Howard points out*, and it owes its existence these days to the creation of the nation state.
    Nation States are the only entities that can make treaties and impose their conditions on their populations. Much,if not all, of the worlds troubles at the moment arise from failed states, whose governments are not able to impose their will on large segments of their own population for reasons it is not worth exploring here. Mexico is a case in point, Somalia is another.
    So what happens if JSOC goes into Mexico? While it is no doubt tempting, and the cartels thoroughly deserve it, it further delegitimises the Mexican government for a start. That will increase disruption in Mexico and act as catalyst for more gangs to form, protest movements to start, etc. etc. and further weaken whats left of Mexicos economy – to Americas cost.
    An obvious reaction will be the targeting of Americans and American associated business interests in Mexico and the wider region, leading to a reduction in trade, which will also have a cost on the American economy.
    Then of course, there is the question of the golden rule; surely if America is allowed to target criminals in Mexico with military force, other nations may now do likewise? What happens when the Quds force decides to assassinate the Kristols and other prominent “criminal” neocons on American soil? What happens when the Russians decide to lace someones tea with Polonium in New York? It is not hard to see decades of relative peace unraveling rather quickly as the authority of all nation states further deteriorates because they cannot protect their citizens from furor Americana on their own soil.
    Lest anyone think “So what? America comes first” even at the expense of the rest of the world, I would like to remind you all that Americas vaunted military superiority relies on the absence of about four items that wikileaks has revealed are subjects of serious concern. Cheney was right about the “One Percent” rule. If gnags end up possessing any of the following in quantity, much grief can be assured.
    These are in no particular order;
    1) MANPADS.
    2) Fire and forget anti tank missiles.
    3) Cheap cruise missiles.
    4) Nuclear explosives.
    We rely on nation states to prevent these falling into the hands of gangs.
    * Beg, borrow or steal “The invention of peace” – Michael Howard, ISBN 1 86197 218 0 it will reward you.

  78. VietnamVet says:

    Yes, the drug trade is an important and growing issue that is affecting our national security. It is also the next arena for contractors to source government funding.
    I agree with your objectives. Heck, JSOC killing of drug kingpins is now written into TV scripts. It’s just that it will not work to eradicate the cross border drug trade. The demand and corruption on the US side of the border also has to be addressed. Secondly, kingpins are easily replaced as long as there is a sanctuary in Mexico. Yet, another incursion will bring forth Mexican nationalistic fervor like we witnessed in Iraq.
    Your JSOC campaign has to be part of the Big Picture to eliminate the border drug trade but undercover with Mexican government buy-in.

  79. morgan says:

    Cliff, I remember those days when you were working for the best Senator from NC. It’s too bad you and Jim Lucier were purged by the PC retired Admiral brought in as the Senator’s chief of staff. If you and Jim had been allowed to stay, things might have been different.

  80. R Whitman says:

    If you wipe out the Mexican supply routes, alternate ones will be developed as long as there is high demand in the US. If we wipe out all imported routes to the US, I predict that synthetic heroin will be manufactured in the US. Chemical Abstracts has many references to the production of synthetic alkaloids and the only reason it is imported is because it is cheaper and less risky to do it in the current manner.

  81. turcopolier says:

    more sophistic bullshit and excuses for inaction.. pl

  82. highlander says:

    This all sounds like….in effect the United States has lost control of its southern border.
    Isn’t a valid border a requirement for a valid nation state?

  83. turcopolier says:

    yes. We must do something serious about mexico. what that would be, I know not. But given our history with them it will be a bloody mess if it can’t be fixed politically and/or with police/SOF methods. pl

  84. highlander says:

    Incidentally, my father also rode south with the 6th calvary. Small world. Even smaller army in those days, I imagine.

  85. walrus says:

    Col. Lang, you need to come up with a way of using JSOC that cannot be seen as degrading the Mexican Governments authority.
    Of course if you decriminalised drug use the problem would pretty much solve itself.
    By the way, pharmaceutical grade Heroin is cheap to produce. We do it here. Glaxo and Purdue Pharma could easily set up in Afghanistan as well. Synthesis is both difficult and expensive. I’ve worked on some of the business aspects of analgesics.

  86. Jim Ticehurst says:

    Col..This Narco/Cartel situation already is a “Bloody mess” as you know..and why you started this Very good Debate with your Opinion..about Extreme Options..BTW I agree..
    Extreme Options are Necessary Right Now..Take em out Fast and Hard…..working with whatever SOF Resources that Exist in Mexico fighting the Cartels Now..at a highly secure and secret level..
    The Viciousness and violence of these Cartels equals and surpass’s much of what we have seen by the Cut Throats we encountered In Iraq and across the Middle East..Drones and SOF was Effective there ..and since we have Similar Warfare that threatens and has effeciently Infiltrated our Republic…with now..vast Networks..Lets Go to War..with them..Here and Now..
    Yes..Internally..its a police/LEO/ judicial system Problem..as a former LEO..I HATE these Guys..Despise them..I have seen the damage drugs are doing to all levels of society..and Individuals..Look at the News storys..Decaying Bodys in Hollywood and every city in the United States..(Morgue shot..Michael Jackson)
    I say..first…Secure the Border as effeciently as Possible.. Every resorce possible..PRIORITY SPENDING..Boost our Our Border patrol agents with Soldiers returning from Iraq/Afghanistan with Combat Experience…..Manned O/Ps with Snipers..Drones..and drone teams..
    Special ciourts in the United states to hand all Drug enforcemnt related problems..Anyone caught inside the United States in Posession of ..and importing/Delivering IllegalDrugs as part of a Cartel Operation..gets a Quick but Fair trial with Counsel..if found guilty..They get a Quick but Fair execution..NO deportation..No Prison Sentence..
    As far as I’m concerned..I can Imagine Our Agents SOF Operators catching Drug Mules along our Border…Terminating them if in Posession of Bales of Drugs/Narcotics and Catapulting thier Bodys Back intoexico..Like the cartels catapult Drugs across the Border INTO The United Steates..
    I also could see returning SOF/Troops..(Specialists in Urband Warfare..)..hired to work with Local police in Many areas…(San Diego/ LA) for example..and go toe to toe with those Cratels/Gangs and Clean those citys out….
    where the Gangs terrorize many Nieghborhoods..including even the Law Abiding Mexicans..
    Offer any Illegals just trying to find work..or doing already doing migrant work..Legal Worker Status..and the Protection of the law ..IF they help LEO’s Clean Drug Cartels..and Criminal gangs out of thier Nieghborhoods ..
    The Cartels have Taken everything to a New/Violent Level..equal to Urbal and Gurilla warfare Inside America….CAPEM..Boda Boom..Boda Bang..

  87. Mark Logan says:

    Re: Not offending the Mexican “government”.
    There is a book out called “Murder City” http://www.amazon.com/Murder-City-Ciudad-Economys-Killing/dp/1568584490 by Charles Browden. I bought it out of pure respect for any journalist who could live in, and even more impressive, survive Juarez. It chilled me to the bone.
    The corruption of the drug trade has infected all levels of government down there, and he describes much of it in detail. The government is widely known to have attempted to ally with the Sinaloa Cartel against other cartels. However, that has not gone well because the other cartels buy their own people in the government also. Nobody knows for sure who owns who, much of the time.
    This is related to my earlier post, about the mysterious “Mata Zetas”, or “Zeta Killers”. They blocked a freeway with 35 bodies marked with a “Z” a couple of weeks ago in Vera Cruz. The article only brushes on it, but the speculation that they may be Mexican Marines acting on their own as vigilantes and must hide their identities from even their own government sounds very plausible. However, the speculation that they are Mexican Marines under the pay of the Sinaloa’s is also plausible. So is the theory that they are acting under orders…
    The Mexican government? Not sure it deserves the label.

  88. R Whitman says:

    This is like blaming and killing liquor store employees for alcoholics. The “cure” for alcoholism resides in the alcoholics not in the liquor industry.

  89. Neosym says:

    Interesting dialog. The fact remains, however, that cartels of various flavors have been mass murdering American children for over three decades. Not a quick clean death, either, but a long, drawn out, disfiguring, lingering death that ultimately destroys the lives of both the children and their families. A death far more terrible in its toll than that produced by chemical weapons. I have first hand, personal experience with this. In my opinion when you’re facing mass serial child murderers all other considerations should go right out the window. There is no middle ground here. No gray area. You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.
    This is an enforcement issue that will have to be managed as long as natural or synthetic narcotics are smuggled across our borders. That means a long term engagement. Those who produce, market and distribute such narcotics are evil in the absolute sense – the strongest of deterrents is required.
    I can think of no better deterrent than the one we have proven in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere: JSOC + contractors + MQ-9 Reapers. As the cartel leaders relax in their plush compounds enjoying their ill gotten wealth, let them wonder every night if a Hellfire or JDAM is quietly headed their way.
    Will there be retaliation? Probably. We survived 9/11. It wasn’t the first attack and won’t be the last. Get used to it. That’s what our increasingly chaotic future holds. We have no choice but to deal with it. That’s why JSOC exists.

  90. coboarts says:

    I grew up in San Diego’s east county, and with years of hiking and riding dirt bikes know the back country well. The “Lines and Shadows” approach was intoxicating stuff. I remember well rifling through coyote caches along the upper Sweetwater River, back in the canyons east of Alpine. However, my father made clear to me the real threat to the US from south of the border. He challenged me with, “what would you do if millions marched on our southern border?” Yeah, go ahead and run through the possibilities… Then tell me that the caravans aren’t preparations….
    I have a deep, personal relationship with Mexico. I am quite sure that my Mexican friends didn’t ask for the situation that poverty and the distant allure of earning incomes that can support their families has put them in, El Norte. During San Diego’s construction boom during the 70’s, I remember my boyhood friends finding their union based construction jobs being being thinned out by Pedro and his buddies. I remember me and my bad boy friends saying that under the same circumstances, we would do the same thing…
    And what about the drugs? Oh yeah, we like them. So, we have seduced a large population of Latinos to move into our communities across our country for jobs. And during the 80’s they were being propagandized all along the way into supporting the concept of Aztlan – the mythical return of the rightful owners of the SW United States. All that fit into my father’s warning. He said that Mexico would benefit either way, if they failed and died in the desert, ok, if they succeeded in the reconquista, ok, too.
    Now we’re revisiting the idea of sending in “operators,” to avenge the killings of a few gringos who turned their backs on the US and its laws, those Mormon polygamists. They moved to Mexico for much the same reason that our maquilladoras have, lax regulation… Of course, in the interim years from my time in San Diego, the situation in Mexico has devolved from the standard criminality of legitimate state institutions to the almost complete capture of the country by the drug cartels.
    Let me keep this short. Colonel, do you think that some JSOC warriors can solve the situation that has been developing along our southern border, really? I disagree. I think that forces malevolent to the US have been implementing a long-term, thoroughly destructive plan against the sovereign US. I support the building of a border wall. I also support the same thing Reagan did, making those here without proper paperwork, but with a lawful history of participation in our society – citizens, at the front of the line. Then, we do the real work.
    We secure our borders. We end the “war on drugs.” We end the ability of employers to hire those not properly admitted to the US. We declare war on those who would undermine US sovereignty, including the virulent fifth column at work here. We start to think strategically, instead of just reaching for our guns. Then, when we reach for those guns, we might claim victory before being utterly destroyed by those who are too obviously out-thinking us. Just sayin’.

  91. turcopolier says:

    “Now we’re revisiting the idea of sending in “operators,” to avenge the killings of a few gringos” Nothing to do with revenge. Nothing. If you kill those who profit hugely from the drug trade and continue killing them as we do with the leaders of IS, then the drug lords, who are not seeking salvation as are IS, but only money, will be deterred to some extent. As for the Latino mass invasion by inundation, you have already surrendered. How is your Spanish. Mine is quite good.

  92. coboarts says:

    Thank you, Colonel.

  93. Adrestia says:

    Including the bankers will probably increase the effect exponentially. They facilitate the real corruption as do many other white-collar criminals.
    Most people are for sale and are cheap too. Increasing the personal cost by risking their lives is better than getting away with non-violent crime. This would be an interesting approach.

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