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July 2009
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Oh yeah, that’ll work – throw money at the drug war

The United States, apparently unhappy with the meager level of violence in Mexico, is putting up bribe money in an attempt to escalate it.

The Department of State offered up to $50 million Monday for information leading to the arrests of 10 top Mexican drug suspects accused of key roles in a violent organization estimated to have sold more than $1 billion worth of drugs in the United States.
U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell said the reward money and new federal charges were among U.S. efforts to dismantle a powerful drug trafficking organization known as The Company, whose members came from an elite security force called Los Zetas.

Remember that the Zetas started out as a group of elite Mexican Army soldiers trained in the U.S. at the School of the Americas by U.S., French and Israeli specialists to be able to take down Mexican cartels. Instead, they became the most dangerous cartel of all.
So, unable to take down the cartel that we trained, we’re now offering rewards for their capture. $50 million may seem like a lot, but it’s worthless if you can’t spend it. If you’ve got the size of organization to protect you if you turn them in, then you’re already part of a competing cartel that would stand to gain much more than $50 million with the elimination of the Zetas.
If we succeed in taking down the Zetas, will that end the violence? Of course not — it will just create a leadership vacuum in the cartels resulting in mid-level gangsters fighting it out in the streets in order to grab the brass ring that is the leadership of the multi-billion dollar drug trade.
Of course, when the one possible solution to the drug war is not part of your vocabulary — if it can’t even be considered — then all one can do is flail around trying ever more useless “solutions.”

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

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