Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mexico's horrific war on drugs failing

Mexico's horrific war on drugs is failing hopelessly even as all the drug business indicators get healthier. The war was declared for political reasons by a politically desperate President Calderon (Yes, that old story).
...40 people died in firefights between police and army forces and the drug cartels. More than 6,500 fatalities will have occurred this year alone, topping last year's total, which was double that in 2007...

Of the 220,000 people arrested on drug charges since Mr Calderón took office, three-quarters have been released. Only 5 per cent of the remaining 60,000 or so have been tried and sentenced.
So reports Jorge G Castañeda, former foreign minister of Mexico (2000-3), a Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American Studies at New York University, in The New Scotsman.

Señor Castañeda says the war is...
...unwinnable because it fails to comply with the tenets of the Powell Doctrine, elaborated 18 years ago by Colin Powell, then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, in relation to the first Gulf War.

Mr Powell enumerated four conditions that must be satisfied to succeed in a military operation. One was deployment of overwhelming force, which the Mexican military lacks. Another was definable victory, which one never has in a war on drugs. The third condition was an exit strategy at the outset, which Mr Calderón lacks, because he can neither withdraw in defeat in his own country, nor withdraw and declare victory.

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