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January 2009



Obama – Calderon

So on Monday, President-elect Obama will be visiting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. I don’t expect much of real value to come from this meeting.
But still, the lede in the AP story appearing in papers all over the country was depressingly, yet unsurprisingly, incoherent.

MEXICO CITY With violence spilling over the Mexican border into the U.S., President Felipe Calderon should have little trouble securing support for his battle against drugs when he meets U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Monday.

Even ignoring the nonsensical “battle against drugs,” there’s quite a disconnect in this sentence. Note that AP writer Alexandra Olson didn’t say “Given Obama’s pro-prohibition statements, Calderon should have little trouble securing Obama’s support for his drug war.” That would be depressing, but factual and reasonable.
No, she says “With violence spilling over the Mexican border into the U.S. as if it was the fact of the violence that should, obviously, mean that Obama would support the drug war. and that makes no sense at all.
The structure of the sentence is as follows:

Violence in Mexico was at level x
Calderon instituted plan M.
Violence increased dramatically as a direct result of plan M to level z, spilling into the U.S.
Violence of this level is undesirable.
Therefore, Obama will support plan M.

In the meantime, just in case the violence “spills” into the U.S., Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, known for supervising such tactical masterpieces as the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina, and the banning of shampoo on domestic flights, is prepared to provide a “surge” (whatever that means), which will include bringing in the military.
Yeah, that’ll end well.
You see, violence won’t simply “spill” over the border and manifest itself like British Redcoats marching to war where we can simply have our military take them down. No, the spillage will be the victims of violence. Those who commit the violence will find ways to enter undetected and commit violence from within (they’re not completely stupid). And that’s when having the military “surge” against the violence is going to mean putting a lot of innocent lives at risk for no gain.

Another great letter in the El Paso Times: U.S.-Mexico drug war: We’re clucking like chickens by Joe Muench. Very well done.
And, of course, the expected comments didn’t take long:
Comment #9: Legalizing drugs will just mean more business for the drug dealers. Period.
And some really, really bizarre:

Everybody knows you jews are faking those doctor
prescriptions and taking advantage of legalize mari j for medical use.That is the only reason you idiots are always pushing for legalization. […]
I guess you forgot what happened in Miami and Columbia during the 80Ŵs when we got tired of this s#$t. I am glad that these spineless elp politicians were not leading our country during WWII.

The good news is that the only pro-drug-war folks left on these threads are the ridiculous ones.

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Back to El Paso

LEAP’s Terry Nelson has an excellent guest column in the El Paso Times: Legalized drugs only way to halt cartels.
Naturally, that’s started the comment thread again — this time the stupids seem to be focusing on #3 (no point legalizing – the cartels will just go into other crime).
I got a great letter from Mark, an El Paso local who gave some helpful insight into the area, including the fact that El Paso has a major drug war enforcement industry there (including EPIC – The El Paso Intelligence Center). This could explain, in part, why so many of the commenters are hard core drug war supporters. As Mark says “Its paying the rent & plenty more for a lot of local families.”