As you may be aware already, Special Agent Jaime Zapata, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent was killed in Mexico. It’s a tragedy, of course, and it was murder, which is reprehensible, and I would like very much for those who committed the murder to be brought to justice.
On the other hand, it’s important to remember that over 30,000 others have been killed in this drug war in Mexico, and important to avoid making wrong conclusions and bad policy based on the tragedy of a death.
In 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Kiki Camarena was kidnapped and killed by drug traffickers. That was also a tragedy. It was turned into an annual celebration of the drug war (and a fictional “Drug Free Youth” called Red Ribbon Week, promoted heavily by the DEA.
The tragedy of one man’s death, instead of making us reevaluate the policies that led to it, led to cheering on those same destructive policies.
We face the danger again with the death of Jaime Zapata. Already, some are quickly finding the wrong lessons, and beating the drums of ratcheting up the very drug war that fueled this violence…
Advocates for stronger border security on Wednesday called for stepping up the U.S. offensive to stop murderous drug cartels terrorizing Mexico after an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent was killed a day earlier.
“This tragic event is a game changer. The United States will not tolerate acts of violence against its citizens or law enforcement and I believe we must respond forcefully. This should be a long overdue wake-up call for the Obama administration that there is a war on our nation’s doorstep,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas.
some are predicting the brutal ambush of two ICE agents in Mexico, will change the way U.S. law enforcement operates in Mexico, possibly allowing agents to carry weapons across the border. And those familiar with the drug war say changes will be vital, because it looks like the cartels won’t be falling anytime soon. […]
Mayor Raul Salinas says he strongly supports attorney general Eric Holder’s suggestion to ask Mexicoâ€™s government to consider allowing U.S. agents serving in dangerous territory to carry weapons.
Surely, the death of an American official on Mexican soil raises the stakes in the ongoing U.S.â€“Mexican battle against Mexicoâ€™s cartels and criminal organizations. […]
Yet there is fresh concern that help for Mexico will fall victim to the budgetary ax as the Obama Administration moves to cut key security and anti-drug assistance in order to protect domestic pork. [That’s from the Heritage Foundation, which is just fine with securitization pork!]
Fortunately, there are occasional voices of sanity…
Letâ€™s hope that reassessment actually takes place. Many questions need to be answered regarding the level of violence in Mexico, and the U.S. involvement that many refuse to recognize. […]
Sadly, people focus on the violence and ignore the cause. Too many Americans refuse to recognize the link between U.S. demand and those in Mexico who are fighting over the supply.
What will it take to convince people that interdiction is a lost cause? Billions of dollars and thousands of lives have been lost, with little effect on the drug trade. Spending even a fraction of that amount on treatment, to lessen the demand, could be a much more effective investment.
Most importantly, what will it take for people to recognize that the drug war itself is a major contributor to all this carnage? We tried the same experiment with alcohol in the 1920s, and saw the same results. Remember Capone, Dillinger and the St. Valentineâ€™s Day Massacre? Todayâ€™s crime in the streets of Mexico merely echo of what happened in Chicago and other U.S. cities 90 years ago.
Within 15 years of banning alcohol, officials recognized that prohibition itself contributes to the violence by raising the price of the product and ceding control to those who, by definition, are willing to break the law. It didnâ€™t work with alcohol, it isnâ€™t working with other drugs.
What will it take for officials to see the futility of their policies, and replace them with something more sensible?
If we want to provide a legacy to remember Special Agent Jaime Zapata, then let’s do so with policy that will really change the dynamic in this war.