by Robert Carbery
While Syria and other far off conflicts in Asia garner most of the world’s attention, there is a war underway at our very doorstep and no one is talking about it.
Mexico’s drug war claimed the lives of 23,000 people in 2016. This death toll was second only to Syria, where 50,000 died last year in its six-year long civil war. Compared to previous years, drug-related deaths in Mexico hit 17,000 in 2015 and 15,000 in 2014, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). This upward trend in casualties and the 35% year-over-year jump in casualties is cause for alarm, if anyone was sounding it.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were right behind at 17,000 and 16,000 lives lost respectively and received much more attention from the media around the world as these are both much more visible conflicts. An eye opening fact is that most of the deaths from Mexico’s drug war were from small arms fire as opposed to air strikes. What is going on in Mexico is seeping into the United States as gangs such as MS-13 and other violent criminals (many of whom are here illegally) are spreading into cities and states where you never thought they would be.
The Mexican government quibbled with IISS’ report and the authors’ methodology, saying that the military’s policing of criminals and gangs does not equate to the armed conflicts underway in other countries around the world. But a death is a death and Mexico has lost its country, where the cartels still run the show. The government claimed that there are other reasons for killings besides drug gang affiliation, pointing to the difficulty in discovering exactly why someone was killed.
Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie.
The amount of homicides rose in 22 of Mexico’s 32 states last year as the rivalries between the cartels increased via violence. The battle over territory has racked up a glaring body count as the Mexican government struggles to maintain law and order. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mexican drug cartels take in between $19 billion and $29 billion annually from drug sales. This big business will end up with a plethora of collateral damage which is seen in the 23,000 deaths associated with this drug-fueled war.
Jacob Parakilas, who is an assistant head of the U.S. and the Americas Programme at Chatham House, a London think tank, said that part of the reason no one is paying attention to Mexico internationally is that “it’s not a war in the political sense of the word. The participants largely don’t have a political objective. They’re not trying to create a breakaway state. It doesn’t come with the same visuals. There are no airstrikes. Also this has been going on since the beginning of the modern drug trade in the Americas. It’s not news in that sense.” So, essentially it’s not a sexy enough television show to grab an audience and we’re bored of it because it has been dragging on for decades now.
The combination of the North American public growing used to this never-ending war and the lack of big explosions or politically charged narratives has resulted in this conflict flying under the radar. Journalists are scared to cover Mexico. Many would-be tourists from the U.S. and other countries are skipping their vacations to America’s southern neighbor. And yet, the actual danger is only now being realized with this latest report.
This is why we need borders. This is why we need to build a wall. This is why law and order is so necessary in the United States of America.
President Trump has brought attention to the drug war and the existence of dangerous illegal aliens in the U.S. over his now two-year political career. He is working to build the wall but is running into the political reality of actually getting it done. Bids have already been submitted by contractors to build it and there is already some 700 miles of existing walls and barriers on our southern border with Mexico. We not only need to finish building the wall in light of the deadly Mexican drug war, but we must also crack down on illegal immigration that flows north through Mexico and stop sanctuary cities here in America so we can get the dangerous criminals out of our jails and off of our streets.
We have no other choice.
by Robert Carbery