Mexican Drug War Ensnares U.S.

Two Americans, one pregnant, are killed in Juarez

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Shootings in Mexico have killed three U.S. consulate officials, including two Americans, one of whom was reportedly pregnant. The attacks took place in the border city of Juarez, which has been embroiled in violence between the military and massive drug cartels for three years. The attacks on Americans, the first since 2008, raise questions about how the drug wars escalated to such levels of violence.

  • U.S. Still Not Making Difficult Choices  Foreign Policy's Blake Hounshell sighs that Obama's approach mirrors Bush's in its biggest failing: Not dealing with America's "demand-side" contribution to the problem. "If you ask me, it all seems like doubling down on a failed strategy -- a typical example of trying to solve a social and political problem through military and technical means." Obama has "zero new ideas for addressing the demand side of the equation, and the administration's new drug budget looks a heckuva lot like Bush's drug budget, with its focus on interdicting supplies over treating drug addicts and reducing the secondary effects of drug use."
  • Next War On Drugs Front: Corruption  The Economist sounds the alarm: Are cash-rife cartels flooding money to American border officials? Is corruption the next front in the war on drugs? "As it becomes harder to smuggle through the desert, the legitimate ports of entry become a more attractive avenue. Corruption does not have to be widespread to matter. Individual officers have enormous discretion at the ports of entry. They make the call about whether a truck should be waved through the lane or diverted for secondary inspection, often in a matter of seconds and based on nothing more than a quick look and their practised intuition."
  • Could Spread to U.S.  The Moderate Voice's Jerry Remmers warns, "The death toll attributed to drug cartels is more than 45,000 lives and the battle has spread to the U.S. border cities with kidnappings and brutal assaults. It is only a matter of time when these towns and cities join the killing fields." Cartel-related violence sometimes bleeds across the U.S. border (Juarez is mere miles from El Paso, for example), but never at levels approaching those in Mexico.
  • Bad News For Immigration Reform  A raging debate in the comments section at Reason Magazine foreshadows the problems that Mexican drug violence will cause for Democratic initiatives to reform immigration. One commenter writes, "I means surely a dramatic increase in the number of Mexican-Americans in this nation will have some effect on our culture, politics, etc. Effects don't run just one way. And since I vastly prefer the US over Mexico in those areas I think that means a net loss if it occurs."
  • Poverty's Role In Drug Violence  The Christian Science Monitor's Sara Miller Llana finds a feedback loop in Juarez: More violence causes more unemployment and poverty. More poverty makes the drug war worse, causing more violence, and repeating the deadly cycle.
  • Can Cartels Ever Be Uprooted?  The Agonist's Nat Wilson Turner is hopeless. "I certainly don't have any idea what to do," he writes. "At this point the cartels are so entrenched, so established and so violent that they threaten to completely swamp Mexican civil society. Don't laugh, we're next."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.