Is the city of death your hometown? Well, if you happen to reside in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, you are unfortunately at the epicenter of one of the worst killing scenes in the world. And it’s clear that neither the U.S. media nor our government has the slightest handle on the situation.
Imagine the folly of sending our secretary of state to Mexico City with $1.4 billion in hand to help the Mexican army battle the cartels. Isn’t it well known by now that you can’t separate the good guys from the bad in Mexico without, as they say in baseball, a program? In fact, in Murder City, Charles Bowden writes that for over 50 years Mexico has never created a police unit that did not join the traffickers. Bowden correctly labels Mexico a dysfunctional narco-state and describes how, from the office of the president to the municipal police to the army (a government-financed criminal organization), random violence is part of the very culture and fabric of Mexico. Does this sound like the right sinkhole in which to drop $1.4 billion of your tax money?
Mr. Bowden unfolds for readers the grizzly story of the Chihuahua State Police, who specialize in contract murders and kidnapping. Meanwhile, the federal police supply bodyguards for drug cartel leaders. Mr. Bowden also singles out the army for its activities in killing, robbing, raping, and general terrorizing. The Wall Street Journal reported that in Mexico since 2006, more than 34,000 people have died in drug-related violence. And now we learn that there were 3,100 deaths in Ciudad Juarez just last year. How comfortable can American citizens living right across the border in El Paso be?
For a broader look, I recommend H. A. Scott Trask’s book review of Mr. Bowden’s Murder City in the January 2011 issue of Chronicles. Is it time to repeal NAFTA, end the war on drugs, and slap a tariff on all goods imported from Mexico? Mr. Bowden believes the answer is yes, and a case sure can be made. Meanwhile, how are things going halfway around the world in Afghanistan? Is it just me, or wouldn’t our military be better focused along the Mexican border? Just a thought…