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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Coming to an Area Near You

There is an article out there in The Washington Post on recent violence in Mexico.  Mexico sounds a long ways away, but it was Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which is not much different, geography wise, from El Paso, Texas than Boston is from Cambridge—just across the river.  Think how the people in Cambridge would feel if there was lawlessness in Boston that not only included children killed by stray bullets, but IEDs—Improvised Explosive Devices.

The story, which focuses on the M-67 hand grenade, was written by reporters Nick Miroff and William Booth, and can be found here.

Ignore the paragraph that says:
Now selling for $100 to $500 apiece on the black market, grenades have exploded in practically every region of Mexico in recent years.
My information is that a new M-67 costs $50 off the production line.  A price of $500 seems like way too much of a markup.

And, down around the third paragraph there was an implication, once again, that "assault rifles" are flowing in from the United States.  If we are the source, that is good news, because it means the drug cartels are stupid.  Weapons are much easier and cheaper if brought up from Panama.  I have heard 20% from the US, tops.

The point in posting this is to say that the violance of the Mexican Drug Cartels, which is doing terrible things to the People of Mexico, is moving north and it does not look like our Federal Government, which apparently sees itself as being solely in charge, is doing much to prepare for this.  That said, the police in Los Angeles are beginning to train for this.  This quotation is not from the article, but from someone who commented on the newspaper blog in another forum.
Grenades will pose a significant challenge to police responders.  The US police service, especially in metropolitan areas is making great strides in enhancing capacity to address small arms in active shooter scenarios.  Grenades and IEDs are something that will significantly alter response.  Currently here in LA, evolving close quarters battle training is including IEDs and military ordnance. (But much more needs to be done to fully integrate IED awareness into our tactical sensory perception... Players in our exercises observe and orient themselves well to ballistic/human threats, but frequently miss the IEDs in play...
Put in other terms, here in the US local police forces within a couple of hours of the Mexican border are beginning to train to deal with Cartel level drug violence.

This is not a good thing.

But, it is worse.  Some
argue this is not simply or even primarily a border problem.  It would be easier if it was.  It is too far down the road for that.  All of the transnational organized crime groups have links, alliances, and frequently a presence here [in these United States].  On top of that, it is a Hemispheric problem (and slowly emerging global issue).
And that is not a good thing.

So, at the "strategic" level, we need to be strengthening the various governments to the south.  And, I would suggest, helping them to become strong democracies.  Which brings me to the first two steps of my plan for immigration reform—legalizing drugs and a "Marshall Plan" for Mexico.

Regards  —  Cliff

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