Body count continues to rise in the Mexican drug wars
In recent weeks Mexican drug conflicts have continued to produce casualties on the south side of our border, bringing the total number of drug-related deaths to 28,228 since 2007. While many would argue that this is a matter for Mexico to figure out on their own, this war raging along our southern border has reached the point where the United States may have to step in to try and restore order. While Mexicans and Americans alike are waiting on some form of legislation addressing the matter perhaps the answers are closer than they think. The Merida Initiative was a law signed into action during the Bush administration, which specifically commits $1.5 billion in aid to Mexico and a few Central American countries over three years to help combat the growing number of drug cartels in the region. Amongst other things the law sought to modernize the military, as well as provide improved technology and equipment to aid these underfunded countries in their war against the drug cartels.
Since this was passed, however, it seems that the assistance America hoped to provide has fallen short. The money that was sent was not enough and the cries of the innocent remain unanswered. In March the Obama administration offered their full endorsement of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who pushed a war against the drug cartels as one of his platforms.
Since that time Calderon has deployed 45,000 troops and 5,000 federal police to try and restore some order to the chaotic atmosphere that has torn Mexico apart. With the growing number of deaths in the country, some even extending to political figures and law enforcement, it is becoming more apparent that traditional bureaucratic practice is no longer an answer. By standing around and waiting for diplomatic solutions, both countries are putting countless citizens at risk and allowing terrorism to take a hold of the country.
The violence taking place perilously close to our border is a war worth fighting and in need of immediate action. Not the type of war that involves injecting democracy and extracting oil, but a necessary battle to protect innocent lives and retain order to a country with the close proximity to actually affect American life.
However, the drug war places America in a compromising position, as the number one consumer of illicit drugs coming out of Mexico. According to the CIA, the US is the largest consumer of Mexican cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, as well as one of the world's most profitable drug markets.
We live in an era where drugs have become the tools of rock stars and celebrities transforming stigma into style. Our youth especially leads this endorsement, which only prompts the question of the direction our country is heading in the future.
Sex, violence and Rock ‘n' Roll- it's the American Dream. It's also poisoning our youth and putting lives at risk for brief moments of euphoria. If the United States truly wants to help settle the chaos in Mexico the first step would be by making more of an effort to settle the drug problem at home. This is not a problem to be addressed once it reaches us; it is already deeply rooted in our soil, and demands an immediate and proactive approach to quell its further spread.
While our government provides minimal aid, the problem is spreading overseas into Africa and the Middle East, where the cartels are able to secure raw materials, indicating that if something isn't done now this issue will surely transmogrify into a global issue.
Passivity is hardly the course of action that should be taken from a country with the resources to actually affect meaningful change.
If America wants to shed the negative reputation it has developed over these past few years of global policing and suspect wars, this would be the first step in the right direction. If it doesn't want to be known as the monstrous capitalist superpower, now is the chance to finally assist an ailing country that is begging for support. But most of all, if our country hopes to protect its own citizens from the ravages of this war, a stand must be taken now.
Unfortunately, until this pervasive predicament becomes blatantly problematic to the general population of America it will likely only have one consequence for most Americans, one less vacation destination. But hey, we still have Hawaii.