Itâ€™s time for greater military co-operation in North Americaâ€™s long war on drugs, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his U.S. and Mexican counterparts said Tuesday.
The first trilateral meeting of defence ministers ended with a common front on the need for greater co-operation to assess common threats to the continent â€” foremost among which is the violent drug trade, they said.
A decade after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, drug cartels and the threat of natural disasters â€” and the demand for swift, co-ordinated military responses to both â€” appear to have elbowed terrorism off the front burner, judging by the assessments provided in a 45-minute news conference after the meeting.
“This is obviously one of the serious threats that is confronting North and Central and South America, is the drug cartels and the drug trafficking that is going on,” said Leon Panetta, the U.S. secretary of defence.
He was joined on the dais by MacKay, Gen. Guillermo Galvan Galvan, the secretary of national defence for Mexico, and Mexicoâ€™s navy secretary Adm. Francisco Saynez Mendoza.
“We are committed to doing everything possible so that ultimately we can not only weaken but end this threat to our people,” said Panetta.
I don’t care how the ONDCP sugar-coats it and claims to have ended the war on drugs, we’ve got the heads of defense for all of North America talking about how one of their biggest military priorities is this war.
The ONDCP and Kevin Sabet can go around talking about HOPE and treatment all they want, but we’re not going to let them ignore the the massive drug war that is killing people.
They would like the American people to believe that there is no war — that it’s just a kind and caring government whose head of drug control policy just goes around visiting treatment centers. But that’s clearly not the truth.
Update: Leon Panetta appears unclear whether it’s 50,000 dead in Mexico or 150,000.
Amid the who-said-what confusion, whatâ€™s interesting about this apparent lapse is:
1) It doesnâ€™t seem to make much difference to the Sec. of Defense Panetta whether the number is 50,000 or 150,000. The sloppiness about the difference of 100,000 human beings could contribute to the way in which Mexican lives seem pawns to U.S. security strategyâ€“a perception that is widespread here and of particular concern to many Mexicans, especially on the border;
2) The emphasis on the â€œbloody drug warâ€ is being used to intensify the threat perception and support the need to regional-ize the response, under U.S. direction.