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raven860's avatar

Why doesn't the U.S government get more involved with drug cartels in Mexcio?

Asked by raven860 (2120 points ) October 8th, 2012

Drug cartels obviously are very dangerous and a cancer to whichever societies they are spread in. And since Mexico is an immediate neighbor to the United States, it is potentially our problem given that we are a big market for them and they are right next to us.

Why don’t we go in ( as we do in Afghanistan or Iraq…where we go in to “save” people) and solve this problem? I am not supporting war but of course the Mexican drug problem is grave and requires immediate attention.

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37 Answers

woodcutter's avatar

We supplied the cartels with thousands of weapons a couple years ago. I don’t think any incursions into their territory will go well now.

CWOTUS's avatar

We surely are involved with them: American drug laws are their whole raison d’etre.

ragingloli's avatar

They are one of the drivers for refugees to escape north, meaning cheap labour.
They supply the colonial druggies and dealers with merchandise, fuelling the “war on drugs” and the prison industry.
It gives ample ammunition, no pun intended, for colonial politicians to use in their (re)election campaigns.
It hinders Mexican economic development, keeping the standard of living low and making it profitable for colonial and other western companies to offshore manufacturing to this low wage country.

Qingu's avatar

A non-conspiratorial reason: Mexicans don’t want us to help. They have their own government, their own army, their own special forces.

That said, I believe some of our special forces are helping, if only with logistics/planning. I would be surprised if they weren’t, in any case. But I don’t think this is what you mean. I mean, are you asking why the United States does not stage a full-scale military invasion and occupation of areas in Mexico controlled by cartels? Are you asking why the U.S. doesn’t blow up cartels with drone attacks?

raven860's avatar

@Qingu

Yeah pretty much…behead the cartels like they do it to others! ( but mostly rivals I suppose). I just think they terrorize the locals too much and recently CNN had the article regarding the American boat-er who was shot through the head for boating too coast to the Mexican cost by Cartel members. I just think they need to be annihilated. I also remember reading somewhere how many were setting up camps in the U.S ( for distribution purposes i think) outside of cities in nature parks.

There definitely seems to be a drug supply in almost all areas of the U.S where there is money. I went to high school in an area where houses had ridiculous prices and schools were considered one of the best in the U.S. There were no thugs or gangsters in my school and fights NEVER happened. Yet, we had drug (crack or cocaine) exchanges happening in the local park (by stupid kids) if people needed them.

tom_g's avatar

Wouldn’t stopping the “war on drugs” here in the U.S. be a good first step? It seems the problem is really on this side of the border. Supply will find a way to meet demand. And if we’re demanding that the suppliers be criminals, well…then we’re demanding that the suppliers be criminals.

raven860's avatar

@tom_g

How do you propose we do that?

Won’t dismantling or destroying the supply destroy their system? Also, well we did have kids who carried all these drugs like dumbasses to sell to others. They certainly did not make very much money at all and mostly did it for the “thrills” and cause they thought it made them “cool”.

So what I mean is that the “end supplier” are relatively easy to stop and control than the producer/supplier of drugs who hav gangs and guns.

Why can’t we just use a few a-10 thunderbolt, F-18s, drones, tanks and, cruise missile tomahawks to destroy their HQ as a first step. It sounds like a good plan to me as it would be effective and seemingly with much less casualty ( NO RPGs and Black Hawks going down or marines dying).

raven860's avatar

We can probably have marines or special forces create a perimeter around this area and nab or kll any fleeing members. Only thing left…are members escaping through tunnels but perhaps we can use heavier bombs that may leave HOLES in the ground as to destroy or reveal the tunnels. Maybe even kill some of those bastards in the process of revealing them.

Qingu's avatar

@raven860, there is something called the law of unintended consequences.

You want to use military force against the cartels… well, how is this working out in Afghanistan and Pakistan? We’re killing a lot of Taliban and Haqqani people, sure, but we’re also killing a lot of civilians. The people in both places hate us. Many of them hate us so much that they end up joining the Taliban and other networks, replacing the people we’ve killed.

I mean, you talk about “creating a perimeter around this area” ... what area are you talking about, exactly? What “HQ”? It’s not as if the cartels are sitting in walled-off castles. They have informants all over the place and will likely know about a military siege-style action (with tanks? ), and then they’ll just put on civilian clothes. Many of the Zetas higher ups actually come from military/spec ops backgrounds.

In short, I think you are hugely underestimating the difficulty—both tactical and strategic—of the kind of counterinsurgency military action that you are advocating.

wonderingwhy's avatar

You’re ignoring some of the basics of the situation.

1.) It’s not just Mexico.
2.) The money involved mixed with the poverty endemic to the regions they operate in creates an almost endless supply of people to fill positions and clearly provides adequate incentive to risk death or life imprisonment for those at all levels.
3.) Our own laws and their vocal moral supporters helped to create and continue to support this environment.
4.) Just look at our recent military history. If you were Mexico would you want or even rationally consider allowing the US to march 30,60,90 thousand troops in?
5.) The cost (financially, socially) of sustained military operations across significant portions of Central and South America.

We already support localized efforts financially, technically, and through intelligence and strategic operations. Personally, I believe we need to radically rethink our position and carefully reestablish our laws and priorities to deal with their motives rather than their actions.

CWOTUS's avatar

The only possible way that I can see to “win” the War on Some Drugs is to declare victory, sign a meaningless treaty with anyone who will pose as “the other side”, and walk away.

I thought we learned our lesson about Prohibition during… well, Prohibition? You’d have thought that we might not have forgotten that lesson so soon…

wundayatta's avatar

@raven860 It sounds like you want to declare war on Mexico. I believe we have fought wars with them in the past, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to start one now.

Mexico is a complicated place. The drug lords own most of the politicians, and the politicians know they can be killed at any time. And intervention by the US would make Mexico explode into civil unrest. It would be disastrous for us. I have no idea how it would play out, but that kind of instability—much worse than what we see now, can’t be good.

I would suggest you read this article about Mexican politics and the drug war to gain a greater understanding of what is going on down there and to help you imagine the impact of your proposal. After you read it, you might want to do some further research if you still think your idea would be a good one.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The only way to win the war on drugs in the US is to legalize it and tax it. We’ve tried just about everything else but the Moral Majority won’t do it regardless of benefits to human life.

El_Cadejo's avatar

We make far to much money on drugs being illegal. If we were to end the war on drugs today the problem would be gone by tomorrow.

woodcutter's avatar

Do we honestly believe that if the war on drugs goes away, the cartels won’t re invent themselves and adapt to still get a big piece of the pie. I don’t subscribe to the notion that- end the drug wars… cartels shrivel up and die. The corruption on both sides of the border will insure that the killing continues.

It is like the same big lie that the right embodies: end taxes on the rich, and we all will prosper

CWOTUS's avatar

Without prohibition the money factor goes way down, @woodcutter. There wouldn’t be the huge profit potential that now exists in every bag of coca leaves. It’d just be another Central and South American commodity like coffee, sugar, pineapples and bananas (and so forth). Just an agricultural crop like any other. I haven’t seen Juan Valdez involved in any running gun battles to promote his coffee brands over any others.

woodcutter's avatar

I know about the money factor. A huge entity like the cartel system will do whatever it takes to retain control starting with the politicians in their own country. They are smart business minded/wise and have no doubt considered the what if, should that day come. Who knows it could turn some of them into semi legit businesses.With guns

CWOTUS's avatar

But consider history, @woodcutter. When Prohibition ended, the mobs gave up most of their alcohol-based business, which for them wasn’t generally about “production” (since alcohol wasn’t illegal in most of the rest of the world, they could buy from legal producers elsewhere), but was just about smuggling.

Okay, so it’s only “drug cartels” who currently produce drugs for sale. But look at where they do it! In the kind of sheds where you wouldn’t store a lawn tractor. No, when the penalty goes away, then the major agricultural (and pharma) firms will quickly move in with sterile food-quality facilities, rigid quality control, marketing and advertising that the cartels have never ever had to consider. And the establishment firms will blow them out of the water economically.

But that will be fine with the cartels, after maybe sporadic attempts to retain control, grow legitimately, etc. They’ll do what the drug runners did after Prohibition ended: just move into other “sin” businesses: gambling, loan-sharking and prostitution. That, and “selling protection”.

bea2345's avatar

If you can’t beat them, join them. Legalize the damn drugs. At the same time, run campaigns that are designed to make people disgusted with the idea of using mood altering substances. The technique has had some success with tobacco. At some stage we may be able to impose a tax on the remaining users and recommend the death penalty for smuggling drugs (as a measure to discourage ripping off the internal revenue).

woodcutter's avatar

The US customers are only a part of their business. They could still flourish and their could still be a need for them to use cross border commerce with Canada for example. I’m sorry folks I have never subscribed to a simple easy answer to solutions. Mainly because the devil is always in the details and it’s those details often left out of a discussion for the sake of brevity.

woodcutter's avatar

A pro drug advocate, advocating for the death penalty…strange indeed.

woodcutter's avatar

I’m uneasy with the US govt. getting involved in recreational drug dealings.The profit motivation of it all makes me uneasy. It might be better to get yours from Paco grown in his mothers shed.

tom_g's avatar

@woodcutter: “I’m uneasy with the US govt. getting involved in recreational drug dealings.The profit motivation of it all makes me uneasy.”

Too late.

woodcutter's avatar

I don’t drink so let the bodies hit the floor.

I don’t think the alcohol industry has been all that beneficial to a lot of people, such as minorities, Mad Dog 20/20 anyone? All those drunks in rehab and plowing into your sister’s minivan and killing your nephews. If MJ becomes legal it will be a race to see who can produce the best kill weed and here we go again. It will be engineered so potent now that the shackles are off, that we will have a bad period of overdoses and ER’s stacked up with stupid people who couldn’t figure out moderation, same as alcohol. Sounds great.

CWOTUS's avatar

Legalizing drugs is certainly no cure to the world’s ills, @woodcutter, but taking the criminal element out would go a long way to make the problem – and it still would be a problem, no doubt – less violent on its face. As I alluded in an earlier response, no one is “protecting his coffee turf” with drive-by shootings, and no cops are busting down the wrong door in the middle of the night trying to raid any illegal coffee-grinding operations.

And if Paco’s Shed™ were a chain of drug emporiums to retail drugs the way Pizza Hut does pizza and salads, then they’d also be subject to regular Health Department screenings, too.

El_Cadejo's avatar

About 60% of the cartels profit comes from marijuana alone…

woodcutter's avatar

Pot is the only thing that has a chance of ever being legalized and that is a long shot. No one even a progressive will turn heroin, cocaine, or any of the hard drugs loose on the country. The addiction rate is about 100% with these and there would never be enough money to argue the benefits of doing that, with all the rehab costs. The cartels will do what any other business does when hit with competition. They evolve and still rake in billions with the rest of the dope they have control of as well as human trafficking ,slavery , prostitution, guns, you name it. The idea that cartels are going to go away is ludicrous. If you live in the southern tier states this will always be a concern. The reach is all the way to the northern tier states. They’re dug in like a bad tick.

woodcutter's avatar

@CWOTUS Paco’s Shed= going to subject to no stinkin regulations.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@woodcutter I suggest you look up Portugal and their stance on drugs. While its not legal they have decriminalized all drug use and have the lowest addiction rates in the world.

woodcutter's avatar

@uberbatman I understand what you’re driving at but this is the US after all. We become addicts pretty easily and the highly addictive nature of our insides really won’t be able to tell whether we got those drugs legally or on the sly. One of the less advantageous aspects of freedom and diversity I think.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@woodcutter So your saying we’re biologically different than Europeans? If so why do you believe we are more likely to become addicts? Personally I believe a lot of it has to do with the way we view substances and our lack of education.

raven860's avatar

Just cause it is hard or difficult does not mean it is possible. We can’t allow them to destroy our world in such a manner. Already Mexico has been trying to curb and stomp the cartels it would only help if the U.S participated in the efforts.

If nothing else, perhaps take inspiration from the 14 year old Pakistani girl who spoke up against Taliban and was shot…but is surviving (fighting).

woodcutter's avatar

@uberbatman I was driving at the fact the US is more diverse with more people doing what they want. We have the freedom to be stupid and with fewer rules/more freedoms we have it in spades.The Portuguese are maybe a tighter knit nationality, who knows. But I hope you don’t suggest that addiction rates go down because after drugs are decriminalized they lose there appeal? The fun is gone out of it because we all want to do bad things as a kick? It’s more interesting? Doing legal drugs is lame? I’m not seeing it. If we decriminalize the bad drugs I think we will see more people in rehab than are going in now. It will probably turn into an epidemic with the CDC and EPA yapping about it. And since they (the users) would have been doing completely legal things, they will then be eligible to fight for the limited resources like medicade that people with legitimate health issues need. It would then be all OK.

bea2345's avatar

A pro drug advocate, advocating for the death penalty…strange indeed :I suppose @woodcutter, advocating the death penalty was a bit extreme but considering the lengths that people will go to get their drug of taste – make the illegal trade expensive and dangerous for its operators. And governments, voluntary organisations, the churches, etc. should be supporting programmes to teach people how nasty it is to use certain drugs.

woodcutter's avatar

@bea2345 “make the illegal trade expensive and dangerous for its operators” It is already very dangerous to be in that business. Many innocents get in the crossfire of their turf wars but the main targets are always each other. You couldn’t pay me enough to hire you do do it:)

Teaching kids about the problems of drug use is about effective as teaching abstinence from sex or at least unprotected sex. I see plenty of it attempted but in the end if they don’t want to listen they won’t. They do try, but it is just like the young to want to experiment. It starts in the home.

bea2345's avatar

Sorry I took so long to get back to you, @woodcutter – my home computer is down and this is my work machine. Think how some things are generally considered disgusting, like faeces: who would want to drink water from a lavatory, especially one that had not been flushed. There was a description – I think it was on Fluther – of a mother softening food by chewing it before giving it to her baby. Some people thought the idea revolting. You get the picture. We are taught that certain things and behaviours are inherently bad (even if natural). Of course, it can be carried too far – look at the mess we have made of sex ed. But a policy directed at aversion therapies might just work. BTW, I would take my suggestion about the death penalty off the table: it was a bit over the top and was born of a momentary fit of irritation.

woodcutter's avatar

@bea2345 The death penalty seems to not be a deterant for murder but, if someone was to murder someone in my family or friend, I would like them to die.

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