When the News Isn't Fit to Print ... Blog

While the Wars Rage On, the U.S. Plays Footsie with Narco Traffickers

In The Enemy Among Us, Wars and Rumors of Wars on 05/04/2010 at 08:30

Allied Troops in Afghani Poppy Field

In less than three years, between 17,000 and 19,500 lives have been lost in the raging drug war in Mexico, nearly three times the total U.S. military and civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan combined in the last seven years. The Mexican drug cartels have murdered some 2,800 people in the last three months alone.

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traipses around the world blaming U.S. consumption and the flow of guns from America into Mexico for much of the violence, our generals in the Middle East play footsie and patty-cake with Afghan farmers in hopes of coaxing them to give up poppy cultivation. Mexican and Afghan poppies are the second largest source of heroin in the U.S.

It is tempting to separate the two problems, but they are essentially the same; Narco trafficking is at the heart of both wars. While the U.S. engages in nation building in the Middle East it has done virtually nothing to help stabilize Mexico in the last century. Defending the our current relationship with both countries becomes harder by the day, however, if the U.S. were going to engage in nation building, Mexico would have probably been a better place to do it.

Poppy cultivation is an enormous source of income for both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, as it is to the Mexican cartels, yet we have spent an entire decade in Afghanistan without incinerating their fields. Essentially, the opium crops are being paid for with American blood. America’s nation building efforts in Afghanistan is a political solution and it will not work.

The War on Drugs has been a farce almost from the day Richard Nixon declared it 1969, and Afghanistan is rapidly becoming the same. If the war would resolve our problem with Al-Qaeda most Americans would say win it and get out, but we will not win it this way, any more than we have won the War on Drugs.

While it is true that millions of Muslims worldwide disagree with the jihadists’ methods, it is just as true that many, if not most, silently believe that the U.S. gets her just desserts every time an American dies in the fight. Whenever – and it is a rare occasion – a so-called moderate Muslim organization condemns the jihadist violence it is usually with a caveat that America is the target of that violence because of our ties to Israel.

We are at a point beyond which we can no longer delay our efforts in either of these wars. There is but one way to win any war and it has nothing to do with nation building. It is, as William Tecumseh Sherman said, to “make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war.” Once we have killed our enemy in Afghanistan we can let the politicians do what politicians love to do – give away our money to rebuild it.

The war in Mexico is no different. We are not currently engaged there but we will be if we don’t secure our borders with force immediately. Evil finds evil, and if we delay action on our borders, it is only a matter of time before the cartels and Al-Qaeda link up.

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