Is Mexico Becoming the New Iraq for American Agents?
September 4th, 2012
09:25 AM ET

Is Mexico Becoming the New Iraq for American Agents?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sylvia Longmire is a former senior border security analyst for the State of California. She is currently a consultant, correspondent for Homeland Security Today magazine, and author of Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug Wars.  The opinion expressed by the author is that of her own and does not represent that of CNN.

By Sylvia Longmire, Special to CNN

The news emerging from Mexico on August 24, 2012, sounded more like a spy thriller than the usual reports of shootings, body dumps, and decapitations. Initial reports were foggy, but it was sounding more and more like two Americans assigned to the US Embassy had been ambushed by criminals while on their way to a Mexican naval training base. As more details started trickling in, the scenario became more and more disturbing; the two wounded Embassy employees, according to published reports in Mexico, may have been CIA agents on a joint counterdrug mission, and their attackers were Mexican federal police officers. The CIA has not commented on the matter.

Making matters worse is the fact that the agents, along with a Mexican naval officer, were unarmed and traveling in a heavily armored SUV clearly bearing diplomatic license plates—something that was impossible for the attackers to miss. Mexican government officials claim it was “an accident” and a “case of mistaken identity,” as the 12 officers involved were supposedly in the area hunting down kidnappers. Yet, they were all wearing civilian clothes, according to a Mexican military official’s accounts to CNN, and traveling in different unmarked cars. They were also likely not carrying their standard-issue weapons; some Mexican media outlets indicated AK-47 shell casings were found at the scene of the shooting.

Several journalists from both Mexican and American news outlets have interviewed witnesses and residents in the small town where this occurred just north of Cuernavaca, and they all said the same thing: alleging that federal police in that area are working with the cartels. Some witnesses also said that the CIA agents traveled that road frequently, and people had become used to seeing armored vehicles with the diplomatic plates, making the case of mistaken identity harder to swallow.

It’s becoming harder and harder to argue that the agents weren’t specifically targeted by a criminal group in the area, perhaps not to kill them outright, but to send a very strong message. But why would Mexican drug traffickers violate an old unspoken rule about avoiding confrontations with US agents because of the negative consequences they tend to bring? History tells us this wouldn’t be the first time this has happened, or even the second.

In March 2010, Drug Administration Agent (DEA) Special Agent Joe DuBois told the Houston Chronicle the following disturbing account. During a November 1999 afternoon, he and FBI Special Agent Daniel Fuentes were driving through the northeast Mexican city of Matamoros in a white Ford Bronco bearing diplomatic license plates. In the back of the Bronco was an informant; a Mexican reporter who was showing the agents various cartel members’ homes in the area, as well as stash houses where illegal drugs were kept prior to being smuggled into the US. One of those homes belonged to the notorious Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, head of the Gulf cartel at the time.

Shortly after the three men drove by, they picked up a tail, were boxed in and forced to stop. Cárdenas himself emerged from one of the vehicles and approached the Bronco. He demanded that the agents surrender and turn over the informant, and the agents refused after Fuentes clearly identified himself as FBI. Cárdenas also clearly indicated he didn’t care who the agents were. After DuBois calmly explained at length what the consequences would be if he and Fuentes were killed—referring to the full might of US law enforcement—Cárdenas gave the order to his men to lower their weapons.

Fast-forward 12 years later to February 15, 2011. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila were on their way back to Mexico City after meeting with ICE staff in Monterrey, where they were picking up some “sensitive equipment” for transport, according to several published reports. They were driving in an armored Chevrolet Suburban with diplomatic license plates when two vehicles filled with members of Los Zetas boxed them in and forced off the road. Hoping that their status as US law enforcement agents would prevent a violent confrontation, Zapata and Avila cracked the window, showed their identification and repeated that they were Americans and diplomats. The attackers used expletives in their “we don’t care” response, per a Houston Chronicle account, shoved an automatic rifle through the window crack, and started to fire. Both agents were hit, Zapata fatally.

Three deadly incidents in Mexico involving US agents under diplomatic cover over the span of 13 years doesn’t seem like much. However, the last two in particular are real cause for concern. Agents Fuentes and DuBois were armed, if severely outgunned, back in 1999. These days, US personnel in Mexico aren’t authorized to carry firearms of any kind. Zapata, Avila, Jesse Garner, and Stan Bosswere all in fully armored SUVs with clearly identifiable diplomatic license plates. However, their attackers—regardless of cartel or law enforcement affiliation—clearly did not care that these men were US government representatives.

So what do US officials traveling in Mexico need to start doing to protect themselves, if armored cars are acting more as a target than a deterrent? Should they travel in convoys, like in Iraq and Afghanistan? At a meeting in March 2011, President Obama and his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderón stressed that US agents in Mexico cannot be armed. Despite US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano agreeing to discuss the issue “in a more classified setting” and US Attorney General Eric Holder saying Zapata’s murder may prompt him to ask Mexico to revise that policy that policy has not changed. Would things have played out differently in the August 24 attack if it had? Should US agents avoid driving on Mexican highways altogether? It’s still unclear 18 months later why Zapata and Avila were making a 20-hour round-trip drive through very dangerous cartel territory instead of flying, unless the “sensitive equipment” they were picking up couldn’t be transported by plane.

US agents working for the DEA and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have been working in Mexico alongside Mexican authorities for decades, so they understand the ebb and flow of the security situation in different parts of Mexico. But now Mexican law prohibits these agents from carrying weapons to defend themselves in dangerous situations. In July 2012, Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto implied in a Washington Post interview that he does not support the presence of armed US agents in Mexico.

This latest incident clearly highlights the real threats to American agents operating in Mexico, regardless of whether they’re there to train others, act as liaisons, or work at diplomatic facilities. Not only can they not rely on Mexican law enforcement for protection; now they have to protect themselves from corrupt police. While the evidence isn’t conclusive that US agents are being deliberately and systematically targeted by crime groups (yet), it is clear that their ability to conduct their various missions in Mexico is being directly impacted by cartel operations.

Just being American is no longer the shield against cartel violence that it used to be, and the unwillingness of Obama and Napolitano to press the Mexican government to allow US agents to defend themselves with more than just harsh language is unacceptable. The level of financial, logistical, and training support the US government is providing Mexico should be leveraged to fight for the ability of agents to arm themselves, and travel in American-manned armored motorcades if necessary. Unless more aggressive security procedures like these are followed, our diplomatic and law enforcement personnel operating south of the border will be viewed by cartels like they are by terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan—sitting ducks.

soundoff (113 Responses)
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    December 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  2. bill bee me

    They need to build a nice wide Mexico canal, all the way from Texas to Califonia, and if you think that is expensive, wait till the country collapses and billions are wasted trying to hold back the raging force of the cartels

    November 26, 2012 at 10:18 am | Reply
  3. Jose

    Most of the weapons the cartels have come from the U.S. Most of the Money to buy those weapons come from U.S. But when the U.S. is asked about that problem, they say "it is a problem in Mexico".
    If they population in the U.S. is fat, they blame the restaurants.
    The U.S. always blames everyone else. It is a sad truth.

    November 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  4. Guest

    Unlike Iraq, this is producing casualties within the U.S. border. We are on the homefront here.

    November 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  5. rosa

    El Estado de México debiera quedar dentro de su Terreno, una cosa es negociar con los países vecinos y otra tan distinta que subido quede por encima de las demás naciones; el día que se comporte como aquel Estado de imperialismo y prepotencia cuán caída la suya que no resucita.
    El Estado de México debe ser estás siempre aliado con los suyos, todos los Latinos, todos sus vecinos, todo origen suyo, porque representa a esa raza grandiosa de valor y fuerza, siempre de sencillez y presente aquellas Tierras que ofrecen de comer a todos y con la igualdad de fronteras, ese debe ser Méxio.
    Cuando actúa todo lo contrario y a quienes representan, entonces deja de ser Mexico ese Estado de Democracia y ya vieja por sus elevados años de libertad, que mejoren sus políticas y de puertas hacia adentro,las puertas de fuera solo ofrecen esas alternativas cuales a los conciudadanos mexicanos serán los esclavos.

    November 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  6. Bill S.

    Put them in those bomb resistant vehicles the US military uses. Paint them white. It is hot down there.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
  7. mariana

    Of course Mexico is the new Iraq!!! That is what the goberment of USA wants. Since nobody want to go on a war with them, they gotta create one. They gotta sell their weapons somewhere right? at the end the number one business in the world more than drugs is the weapons. Drug dealers in Mexico have the must sofisticated weapons, that not even the army of Mexico have. Thanks God they dont know how to use them!!! But I blame owr Mexican goberment, they are destroing our own country by making business with the yankees.....

    October 28, 2012 at 5:33 am | Reply
    • Americal69

      and the oil, don't forget the oil, lots and lots of Mexican oil.

      October 31, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Reply
  8. Jose

    Sylvia,
    You really think two armed agents would stop a full gang of drug dealers / mercenaries? even if they had military grade equipment (or beyond) I honestly doubt it - is all a numbers game. They would take out a couple, maybe a few... but by no means they would survive unless the gangs let them.

    Being armed would only give an extra reason to be attacked – for the gangs to get the weapons!

    Is a very complex situation – as long as people are willing to pay good money for the drugs (true, mainly US, but also Mexico) there will be people willing to provide it. Either decrease the demand (unlikely) or legalise (and regulate) drugs - personally not my cup of tea, but the lesser of the evils.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  9. lweba

    We have mainly two types of terrorists, The money based terrorists and religion based terrorists. The former is easier to defeat than the other group. The Religion based terrorists evolve due to beliefs based on mirths. The other group's belief is a pragmatic issue, it is wealth here on Earth they hope to achieve good life right here on Earth. The religion based terrorists aim also for good life but not here on Earth but the hereafter. The Mexican terrorists are the money based terrorists who if America and Mexico are really determined to eliminate they will succeed. The half measures which are being applied right now will take a long time to eliminate the them. In Iraq and Afghanistan that is a different case altogether. Education, eradication of poverty and development of their countries will after along time eliminate them. .

    October 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  10. Noé

    Such a pity that she doesn't mention anything (nor even in another blog) about the agents of migration, who kill mexicans in mexican territory for no reason, and how they actually treat the mexicans like sitting ducks. It's a bigger problem than unarmed agents but as the problem is of US to México, She probably doesn't think it is too big to write a note.

    October 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • Nancy

      Noe,
      Of course she won't mention true facts. She is in the business of planting fear, not in the business of telling the truth. Americans like to be paranoid, that is a fact.

      November 9, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
      • Noe

        agree.
        It's a disgrace that the most that i've found in this comments is racism about the Stereotype Mexican as hollywood sees it, as a country built over slavery sees it. I know enough about the real american culture to not belive that every american citizen is a junkie, or everyone of them promotes war against the oil countries because believing such a thing is so foolish as it's believing that Mexicans are just drug dealers, or people ready to handwork, when there's much more,

        November 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  11. rosa

    Muy cruda realidad el lenguaje de las drogas,tema que no solo inquieta a todo un mundo sino que difícil de radicar y dialogar con aquellos. Tan difícil para todas aquellas naciones que no encuentran ese remedio,pues no solo hay numerosas muertes si no que se crea una sociedad mas que delirante.
    Tema resumido y escrito y asunto de gran preocupación,pero las leyes siempre quedan ahí y justas.¿Por qué ese miedo de dar a todos aquellos que consumir quieran?. De todas formas para estas gentes en otro idioma no se puede hablar,pues ni entender ni comprender qué mundo es aquel y bajo los efectos del delirio psicológico.
    No se puede predicar en el desierto,obviamente ni escuchar,ni preparados quedan para dialogar porque el cerebro está mas allá de la inconsciencia e humana,puestos a esa inconsciencia,lo cuál que remedio no tiene, que inconscientes sigan y con esos caramelos que tanta falta les hacen,al menos que reducido quede ese alto numero de gentes que nada quieren saber de esos temas y drogas son.
    Queda presente y bien claro para todos aquellos países que las drogas es aquel mundo donde mas dinero se mueve,legal o ilegal,con convenios o sin ellos,y queda mas que claro que donde dinero hay...elevado indice de muertes.
    ¿Y que culpa tienen los que querer no quieren y pagan por ello?.
    Los ciudadanos saben cuán tema preocupante y hacia donde les llevan cuando están situados dentro de ese mundo caótico,tanto si toman como si reparten. Diría aquel..."Que el que reparte y reparte siempre se lleva la mejor parte..."
    pues ni por qué prohibir diría Yo y ni opinar debiera semejante asunto.
    Puestos a opinar, puestos a ver y leer cada día cómo y en que estado se encuentra el Ser Humano...Que aprovechados queden los consumistas mas los repartidores,de todas formas otra lengua ya dejaron de hablar,así que para que prohibir
    lo que evidente es y sin remedio.
    Quien ofrece queda contento,quien recibe mas, y quien lo toma...¡ Que descanse y en paz.!.
    Ningún animal encerrado entre rejas quiere estar, ningún animal quiere ser domesticado y a la fuerza, si animales somos y demostrado queda ante todo un mundo porque reina el Cáos, pues quien quiera que lo tome y quien no...que en paz al menos lleve una vida,si con el lenguaje animalesco no se puede tratar ni dialogar...PUES QUE TOMEN Y DEJEN EN PAZ A TODOS AQUELLOS CIUDADANOS QUE NO TIENEN POR QUE PAGAR LA CRUDA REALIDAD DE TODO LO QUE SE HA CREADO POR ESE MUNDO MATERIALISTA,DONDE DON DINERO ES QUIEN REINA.Pues que REINE LA LOCURA SI CREADA HA QUEDADO.
    Un poco tarde para deshacer esos cimientos.
    Saludos a todos y gracias por dejar que opine SIN NOMBRE.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:05 am | Reply
    • Cao Ni Ma.

      Don't buy made in China. They are stealing your jobs too!

      October 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  12. expact thank God

    the problem is the demand not the supply. You guys go ahead and keep trusting your main stream media. Your government has deceived you continuously and yet you all seem to keep swalling load after load after load. Makes me want to ask you on a date. And by the way mexican immigratiomn to u.s. is 0. Maybe if you finally realized your government use war to expand even more youir bubble economy you will stop letting them take away all your civil rights.

    October 2, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
  13. Lolita

    Tom, don't forget that the Southwest is Anasazi/Aztlan territory, look up history, and our rich cultural heritage is what the dirty white trash can't stand because you all have no heritage, I am sick of seeing white people in our lands here in Northern NM. You white people can go and take your disease with you.

    September 16, 2012 at 12:33 am | Reply
    • Tom

      Lolita – NO, it is NOT your land. It is part of the USA. ALSO, if you don't like whites, you racist POS, leave. I'll go wherever I damn we;ll feel like in the U.S.!

      September 16, 2012 at 3:28 am | Reply
    • Cao Ni Ma.

      Lolita is a Chinese. They try to divide every nation against each other. They think they are clever. They are stupid mentally childish Chinese.

      October 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  14. ned wilson

    Just to keep the record straight. As a U.S. agent, being armed in 1999, was a violation of Mexican law and, as a result of the incident described above, Dubois, and his family, were summarily kicked out of the country, relocating to San Antonio.

    September 14, 2012 at 1:40 am | Reply
  15. TEXAS BORDER...

    I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY WE ARE NOT TAKING ACTION ASAP DO SOMETHING ABOUT ALL THE DRUG TRAFFIKERS THAT GET IN OUR COUNTRY.. IM A 21 OLD FEMALE LIVING IN SOUTH TEXAS AND MY OPINION IS THAT THIS IS GETTING UGLIER BY THE DAY... I REMEMBER WHEN I WOULD SEE THE HELICOPTER ONCE A MONTH OR ONCE EVERY TWO MONTHS... I CAN TELL YOU THIS BY EXPIRIENCE ALOT OF SHERIFFS IN TEXAS NEXT TO THE BORDER ARE SCARED BECAUSE THEY GET PICKED UP BY CARTELS AND THEY GET THREATENED TO WORK FOR THE.. THIS PAST YEAR OUR EX-SHERIIFF FROM STARR COUNTY GOT PICKED UP BY THE FBI FOR BEING CORRUPT... WHY DONT WE HEAR ABOUT THAT IN THE NEWS????NOW ITS EVERY DAY!!! I LOVE THIS COUNTRY BUT WHY ARE WE WAITING FOR THE LAST MINUTE LETS PUT THE ARMY ON OUR BORDER AND PROTECT IT....

    September 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
    • ricky

      they cant do anything because the cartels have a massive monetary muscle\terrain\and group. If u want to stop them, there is others cells,or groups waiting to take over. This is like a virus, only keeps spreading and infecting folks.

      September 30, 2012 at 3:14 am | Reply
      • Tom

        Jughead (Odumbo) won't do anything to screw up his reelection bid. If he dropped the hammer on all the illegal border crossers, he'd lose his Hispanic base.

        September 30, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • roberto

      lets not forget that the war on drugs as well as the war on terror is seen by the elites as a business and life is worth nothing to them as long as they can make profits off them. so this is just bussienss and the dea ,atf , cia are put at risk on purpose to get involved in this kind of dangerpus situatinos and have an excuse to be in mexico
      One thing thode agents must keep in mind is that they are not heroes to their country, they are just objects used to get their goals, and once theyre killed and buried, they are forgotten, and their fammilies are going to suffer the consecuences.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • Cuervo Jones

      duh Starr County. The cops were crooked there when I smoked weed in the 70's

      November 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
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    September 11, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
  17. JJ Stokes

    Aggresive Procedures should be taken? You think? Good thing we got you as a border analyst.

    September 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      I can sure do better than Jughead and his following of retarded Dumocrats!

      September 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  18. TICO

    Hey why do you think Enrrique Pena Nieto rufuse to allow USA agents to be armed because He works for the cartels,You'll see went He'll take the office every thing will come down,the big problem on this past years was that Calderon doesn't work for some big cartels which Enrrique Is !!!!!!!!! And is sad to say but I am sure If USA want to figth cartels It has to start with the mexican autorities the corruption is extremely high and USA went send agents to Mexico They must be in a big group and armored DO NOT GIVE A CHANCE TO KILL MORE AGENTS because they will ALSO I WOUDNT ASK FOR PERMITION TO PORT ARMS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES! If is about respect they have none of that.

    September 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  19. Bangash

    In 1961 during last address to the nation US President Eisenhower had said "if the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) ever gains control of the U.S. government..we will never again see peace in our lifetime. If you manufacture weapons of war...you have to manufacture reasons to use them. They are slowly killing our government and country as well"

    September 8, 2012 at 6:43 am | Reply
    • Tom

      That happened 50+ years ago. Give it a break.BTW, DumbBuns, the Military Industrial Complex has kept folks like you in freedom since then.

      September 8, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
      • roberto

        but freedom by force rather than thalks,?
        I think that wars are not the only way to solve problems between humans beens, specially in a modern society.

        October 14, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  20. cacique

    Even with the problems the media show us on a continuous basis, many good things are also going on around the country like, believe it or not, tourism has increased a lot lately. Employments has picked up, and border towns like that of Juarez in the State of Chihuahua are seeing businesses rebound after months of terror and chaos. It is may belief that the tough stance president Calderon took on the nation's organized crime had some positive results, it is my hope that president elect Pena Nieto does follow through with the heavy job.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  21. IWANTTOKNOW

    The issues lie with the failed state of law enforcement in Mexico. The incentives for law enforcement to conduct illeagal activities are too high. where is the over sight? internal affairs? once these issues have been resoved, can one understand the reason for US officials not to be armed. until then, they should be allowed to carry fire arms. if no one can be relied on to provide for safe hospitality then maybe the US mission in mexico should be re evaluated. If they refuse to allow for US agents self defence then maybe they should also refuse US loot and logistics. . . .cant see that happening.

    September 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Reply
    • roberto

      hey, you dont need to be armed in mexico, the best way to be out of harns way is to saty out of mexico if you are not a mexican citizen.
      Secure your borders on your side and if you feel like its ok to shoot people when they are trying to enter you country illegally, do it, and problems solved.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
  22. ALFREDO CAMPOS

    TO ALL MY PEOPLE IN THIS GOOD U S A THE PROBLEM IS COLOMBIA AND U S A NO MEXICO IS AND THE CENTER OF TWO NATIONS PROBLEMS U S A THE BUYERS COLOMBIA SELLERS.THANKS TO ALL .GOD MY FIX ALL .

    September 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  23. Wheeeeee!!!!

    The US is in Mexico at the invitation of the Mexican Government. The details are done by joint consensus. If I was an agent I would have to give a hard look at being unarmed in a nation that has suffered over 45,000 killed in the last five years during their drug war. Risks need to be mitigated. It would be nice to have leaders that have had shared any danger before being elected, before they ask their fellow Americans to take such risks, whole supporting the Mexican Government.

    September 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  24. Myeshia

    When are we going to learn to mind our business? We spend too much time vilifying Mexicans. They still believe in the American dream! Welcome them then they will welcome us. Silly to alienate a country you share a border with.

    September 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • Mara

      "they still believe in the American Dream" – isn't that pretty much the whole problem? Shouldn't they be dreaming the MEXICAN Dream – comprised of MEXICAN ideals and MEXICAN values? Shouldn't they be working to achieve social mobility and equal opportunity in Mexico, for *Mexicans*, instead of abandoning their families and sneaking into the US? Shouldn't there be some pride of country, pride of *self*, that demands they do the hard work, make the difficult choices and sacrifices necessary to defining what they want their *own* society to be, their *own* dream to look like? Mexicans should believe in the Mexican Dream and work to acheive it, not try to mooch off the toils and trials of others?

      September 6, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
  25. bozo

    Just another Failed State.. We should just invade and clean out the rat nests.. A few FAE's dropped on the Cartel Head's houses would sort this out real quick..

    September 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Rah Rah Rah!

      You're too f*****g to realize that it's you who lives in a failed state.

      September 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Reply
      • Rah Rah Rah!

        ...meant to say "stupid". Talk about f*****g up.

        September 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Please Rah Rah Rah, do cut that Tea Party lingo out. It has no place here.

        September 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • patiat

      Yeah, because as Iraq and Afghanistan have proven conclusively, it's really, really easy for the US to just invade someplace and clean out anyone that it thinks doesn't support its interests. Iraq and Afghanistan have been such pushovers that we're bored and need more countries to roll over unproblematically.

      September 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  26. OregonTom

    With all of the complaints of US weapons in Mexico I am surprised to read 7..62×39 shell casings were found at the scene of the attack.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      Hey Dummy, the Fast and Furious program shipped AK-47s' top Mexico. What caliber do you think they are?

      September 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
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  28. Semantics101

    Organized crime is territorial, insinuating a conflict will lead to more confrontations. There will allways be drug trafficing and etc. It's a matter of having those who commit to those crimes live in fear of the consequences.

    September 5, 2012 at 5:58 am | Reply
  29. Joseph McCarthy

    This is clear cut evidence that Mexico is ripe for a Communist Revolution here and now! They need to do to the drug cartels exactly what Fidel Castro did to the Mafia back in 1959, expell these people! Moreover unfortunately, we're not winning the war on drugs partly because people can't see the bigger picture here. As long as there's a demand for drugs, that demand will be met! This is a Capitalist Society after all.

    September 5, 2012 at 3:58 am | Reply
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      If that was to happen Joseph, all the drug dealers and cartel members would all go to Canada and set up shop there! Besides, in that scenario, the right-wing idiots in Washington would most probably order an invasion of Mexico and occupy that country, too. Then we'll all be in for a long and bloody guerilla war down there! This is a no win situation!

      September 5, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
  30. BorderStateResident

    Why haven't we done anything about Mexico? Hm.. not enough Oil in Mexico? US Accepting cartel cash? Vekol Valley is a known drug mule area in my state... you would think Obama would... oh wait... yeah, he doesn't like Jan Brewer for acting on issues which impact our nations security. Sheeple.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:18 am | Reply
  31. Denise

    Americans living in Mexico? If they live in Mexico I don't consider them an American.
    You may ask "what about Mexicans in America"? Well, I consider them to be American as long as they are here legally...
    PS I do believe the FEDS have the right to be in Mexico to bring back our missing children and should be extremely armed. I hope every SOB that kidnaps any child should be shot on the spot. DIRTY ROTTEN PIGS!!!!!
    As far as the drugs go;
    OUR ECONOMY IS FAILING PARTLY DUE TO "TAX FREE" DRUG SALES AND OUR CHILDREN ARE BEING DESTROYED BY DRUGS.
    It's a great cause for war!

    September 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Reply
    • expact thank God

      you sir are an idiot, Mexicans were americans waaaaaaaaay before americans were americans. look at a map jerkwad.

      October 2, 2012 at 8:51 am | Reply
  32. dd

    Obama has opened the borders. The cartels are shipping Meth to the inner city gangs in Chicago. 10 shootings per day in Chicago! One innocent kid murdered each week in Chicago alone. The Obama Cartels are killing American Blacks and Mexicans in Mexico. When world leaders approve of violence, what can you do? When the US media approves of the violence Obama has permitted in Chicago, what do you do?

    September 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Reply
    • logital

      So if Obama opened the border then it follows that there were no Mexicans in the U.S. before Obama took office.
      Hey Partyer,What have you been putting in your tea?

      September 5, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
    • war of attrition

      dd

      those who shall live by the sword,shall also die by it. nuff said

      September 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  33. jamesrav

    dumb request, Mexico would be foolish to allow armed US officials. The first accidental shooting of a
    Mexican civilian by an American agent IN MEXICO would have terrible consequences. There are 1,000,000
    Americans living in Mexico, supposedly to rise to 5,000,000 by 2025. Do we really want to create
    animosity towards all those people just so a few officials will feel safer with their own weapons? Use
    Mexican bodyguards or armed forces.

    September 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • diver Down

      Would you send our agents in to Afganistan to clear out drug leaders in the poppy fields with out being armed? Would you send police offficers in to the inner cities unarmed to arrest drug or gang leaders. This is no different. They want our help but will not provide security and expect our agent to go unarmed ot to a "war zone". When the local police or military are being paid off and shoot the help the Mexican government requested, being armed is a necessity. This problem presents a "Clear and Present Danger" (I had to use the term) to the security and welfare of the United States. I spent 20 years in the protection of my country, carrying a weapon when necessary. If I was told that I was not allowed to carry a weapon to protect myself in a battle zone, I would tell them to go-to-hell.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:59 am | Reply
  34. Grover

    Mitt Romney's father was forced to flee Mexico 100 years ago because of the violent revolution.

    What chance is there that we invade Mexico if Romney is elected?

    September 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      Grover, you aren't wrapped too tight, are you?

      September 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
      • Denise

        Had to laugh!!
        Best medicine...

        September 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  35. IM

    US govt should stay out of Mexico then. US citizens don't want Mexican's comming to the US to escape genocide and cartel violence but yet they go down there in the heat of action that has been going on for over a decade and are surprised that the cartels don't care they are from the US. If its not safe for Mexican's its not safe for you. Stay out!

    September 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  36. victor m fontes

    American military or police agents have no business being in Mexico anymore than having been in Iraq or Afganistan;
    It is not or nation and the drug problem is just a symptom of an American created problem; GET OUT NOW !

    September 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Reply
    • Bill Duke

      Fail. You Mexicans created your own problem and now you won't take responsibility for it.

      September 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Reply
      • Fail_Bill_Duke

        You must be joking! Do you understand the concept of Cause and Effect? Can you truly tell me that ALL responsibility for a "failed" Mexican state lies with the Mexican people? Are ALL Americans innocent of any/all bloodshed in Mexico? Nothing happens in a vacuum. The almighty dollar corrupts absolutely (on both sides of the border). Nobody fights for pesos, but if you throw in "some" Benjamin Franklins it becomes a different story. Americans have been fighting the War on Drugs for decades now and with very little success. If you want to soley blame Mexicans for issues that happen south of the border, then Americans should soley take responsibility for their drug abuse and everything else that happens north of the border. Never mind who supplied you the meth and MJ. Unfortunately I do see the US is on it's way to becoming a failed state as well, with or without the glorious IPAD (no app for fixing failures btw).

        October 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  37. karkop

    No one seems to address the immense sums of money being made by parties on BOTH sides of the border. Until our govt addresses this issue, this conflict can go on inperpetuity. Do you really believe that a few cartels are outmaneuvering out LE agencies? Not without complicity from our side.

    No one seems to be taking this conflict seriously, at least not on our side of the border. The Colombians did the same for a long time, until they were stunned when Escobar proposed that his org would pay off the national debt. The way that they're doing away with adult cartel members. Like chord wood. Mexico seems destined to become a country of teenage drug crazed soldiers, running criminal orgs.

    in the meantime, the current cartel bosses seem intent on targeting our law enforcement people with promises of cash, property and luxuries that are far to much for even well paid men and women cops to refuse. They already own their cops. Ours can be had too.

    We do have lots of very effective Spec Ops and drone resources that could be put into play but our leadership lacks the will to do so. Maybe things will change significantly once our elections have passed.

    September 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  38. Bill Edmond

    How did CIA get approval to operate in Mexico? Is US planning to illegally invade Mexico as they did Iraq? I do not believe Mexico is part of US yet. The Mexican mafia and police have every right to shoot CIA agents if they have invaded Mexico. Let's put the American mafia and drug lords in jail or concentration camps.

    September 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • LL

      What a strange thing to say. The Mexican Mafia was not acting in self defense but in furtherance of their criminal activities. If anything we are acting to protect our citizens which is a higher law. Perhaps you should check to see whose side you are on.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Reply
      • Anthony J

        "If anything we are acting to protect our citizens which is a higher law"

        THAT is exactly why other nations HATE US, we believe we barge into any other country with impunity as long as we say it is ofr "national security" or to "protect our citizens"..

        NO protecting our citizens is not a higher law then respecting the sovereignty of other nations.. Unless of course you are a NEO-con who only cares about our own sovereignty

        September 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • CSM

      I like the "yet" part there. Mexico practically is the US, or vice versa out west. The US has the right to defend its citizens ANYWHERE – and it will. BTW, we're the ones being invaded, and not just by illegals, but by Mexican security forces who routinely cross into the US and shoot at out border patrol agents. We should acknowledge that war has been declared - by MEXICO!

      September 5, 2012 at 8:55 am | Reply
    • daniel smith

      Does this mean I can shoot all of the Mexicans that have flooded the us

      September 5, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply
      • daniel

        Take a nap dumb a55 you can't just shoot at anyone let alone federal agents if I walked out and shot an iligal as a us citizen I would be tried no differently besides hate crime tag to boot.

        September 5, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  39. mex2020

    not sure if mexico is becoming new iraq or pakistan, but one thing for sure is Mexico becoming richer than Canada and Brazil by 2020.

    September 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • Bemused

      Really? Citations please...

      September 5, 2012 at 8:18 am | Reply
      • daniel smith

        You just got a citation for being a whiny bitc4

        September 5, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  40. richmx2

    What nonsense! What happened on 24 August was more out of "Police Academy" than some spy thriller. It was a failure to communicate between the Federal Police and the Navy (or the CIA... since these "trainers" were either CIA employees or "contractors"). At any rate, since no one was killed, and the number of U.S. agents killed in Mexico in the last ten years has been less than five, I'd venture to say that U.S. drug agents are much safer in Mexico than they are on their home turf.

    September 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  41. Eric

    Interesting article Sylvia – thanks for writing it. I not sure i would have compared the situation in mexico to Iraq. Its actually more like Afghanistan – most mexican people what safety, security, accessibility and want a government they can trust – both mexico and Afghanistan have neither. Besides that, your article is spot on. DOJ is "spineless" under the current administration when it come to real enforcement (unlike circa 1980's and the kiki episode). The cartel has realized this and has become more brazen. The know the US won't bring to bear the full weight of its power to stop it (see ICE agent killing last year) the more they test the response the more they push the line forward. So the old threat of it will be like Kiki, has really become an idle threat. They're not afraid of the "3-letter" agencies any more. That incident is also 30 years old most cartel members weren't around to see that aftermath. The US needs to drastically change its tactics if it wants to see some results. How and what that would look it would like is a whole other topic.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  42. juan

    This shows just how incredibly naive the author is: "Just being American is no longer the shield against cartel violence that it used to be." HELLO, THIS IS A US-SPONSORED DRUG WAR.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • IM

      AGREED 100%. If the US would kick the habit then Mexico wouldn't have this problem. Supply and demand!

      September 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply
      • bigot

        " If the US would kick the habit then Mexico wouldn't have this problem. Supply and demand!"

        Supply and demand does not cause violence.....prohibition does.

        September 5, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • CSM

      Someone's got to fight it, since the Mexis won't take care of it themselves.

      September 5, 2012 at 8:57 am | Reply
  43. Karl

    Hey marko how about Mexiko out of US ?

    September 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • JOSE

      Karl,
      Are you sure all the money goes from US to Mexico? Get your number right

      September 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  44. diver Down

    Out of Mexico, withdraw all funding, seal the boarder and let Mexico figure out how they want to deal with it.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • IM

      LOL.. What funding? US is broke!

      September 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
      • diver Down

        We provide financial assistance to Mexico just like we do to a lot of countries around the world. Check out the amount of money that goes to other countries. You may be surprised at what we send out and who we send it to.

        September 5, 2012 at 8:34 am |
      • CSM

        Far from it, meathead. You obviously have no idea of our actual resources.

        September 5, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Robert

      US sends no foreign aid to Mexico. None. This idea some Americans have that we are supporting the rest of the world is rubbish. The Mexicans would be delighted if we would just go away and stop wrecking their country.

      October 25, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
  45. Tom

    It's about time that the U.S. sends covert units across the Border to terminate Cartel members. If we kill a bunch, maybe they'll get the message. But, I doubt it. We'll more than likely have to eradicate them like rabid rats!

    September 4, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
    • The know how

      They do send special forces over the boarder and quit often I might add. at least twice a week. It's generally to rescue kidnapped Americans but it is also used to kill cartel who come to close to the boarder. Assassinations happen but not that often. We are also looking at sending a expeditionary forces into chiuaua.

      September 4, 2012 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • Anthony J

      Or we will see a increase amount of special ops getting their homes invaded, their wives raped, their childrem mutilated..

      That's the problem with both the war on terrorism and the war on drugs. Many americans act as if we can outgun or out terrorize those we demonize, they will somehow drop their wepons and forfeit the fight..

      Hell, best case scenario is we will see a increase manufacturing of drugs here in the good Ole U.S. of A, which would arguablly be better IE. the money would be spent here, and not there.

      September 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Reply
      • Tom

        We haven't had a concerted effort to terminate the Cartel hierarchy. Leaving them dead in the streets would be a forceful statement to them. All they respect is power and fear. Kill them like the animals they are. And, BEFORE you lily livered coddlers jump on my case, can you suggest any other way to stop them? And don't come up with the tired old mantra that "it's our fault with all the dopers we have in the U.S. Our enemies try to create new addicts everywhere in the U.S.

        September 4, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
      • bigot

        "can you suggest any other way to stop them?"

        End prohibition.

        September 5, 2012 at 10:33 am |
      • Tom

        bigot – BS answer!!!!!!

        September 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  46. krm1007 ©™

    We now need to focus on India. The American invasion of Afghanistan brought to the forefront the irrelevance of India as a nation. With a population of over 1.2 billion people there was no value that this nation could bring to the table. Their soldiers (ragtag) 1.2 million continue hiding in the trenches scared from Talibans. A few teenage Talibans invaded the country and held it hostage for days on end showing how useless India is. It was embarrasing for the world to observe this humiliation of a nation that was being touted as a regional power.

    Also, we continue to read with interest the thesis presented on CNN that "less is more" in a political context as applied to India. Although Mies Van Der Rohe adopted this in an architectural context, its economic and political connotations are indeed powerful. Empowering subjugated minorities in India by splitting it into smaller states would trigger uber economic demand for western nations who have given so much financial and technology aid to India with no return to show for the investment. We concur with this approach and find the premise to be on solid footing. Central Asian States (CAS) are a case in point on this successful approach. We need to understand that India has an unmanageable large population mired in poverty and we are spinning our wheels trying to feed it. It is also too big of a geographical unit to govern. Again, we saw how a few teenage talibans were able to invade it with a few BB guns. And that says a lot... albeit in a sad but humorous way not only for a large unmanageable country like India but also for USA which is trying to prop it up against China. Besides, Americans cannot afford to look like losers in the midst of a terror war which has lasted for over ten years now.

    September 4, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • LarryHunter

      @krm1007 , Did you take your medication today?

      September 4, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  47. markodavid

    U.S. out of Mexico NOW!

    September 4, 2012 at 9:57 am | Reply
    • kevin

      i agree

      September 4, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • daniel smith

      Mexico out of us now please I will hold on to the thank you until every last illegal is back in the homland to fight for their own damn country but that will never happen besides its to much work and there is a perfectly good ready pre built country with open borders, healthcare, food stamps, schooling, roads, American children to obduct and lets not forget the illegal president that supports every bit and some.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
      • Romeo

        You all called "Americans", had forgoten that the only illegal immigrantes in the American Continent were you, the ones came in the MayFlower, or you already forgot that. We were already here when you "Whites" came to invade our land. You have erased from your history (very conviniently) that little part. When did you guys got ownership of the continent to call yourselves Americas? Mexico in an American country because is the the American Continent, or you didn't get in your Geography class?. We, the Mexican, come here to work, to do what you "americans" do not want to do. We pay taxes and we support this country of "yours?". Stopy with your F.....g lyes, we work, Smith.

        September 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • Tom

        Romeo – And you pathetic pieces of garbage need to own up to the fact that you've screwed up every country you've owned or lived in. We DON'T NEED your rich cultural heritage, because you haven't got any!!!!!!

        September 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • Americal69

        How many Cubans have ever gone back to fight for their land? ain't gonna happen

        October 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • rosa

      Felicitaciones a Tu comentario. Valiente y con coraje,porque acaban de borrarme uno muy extendido y similar al tuyo,es evidente que la verdad debe quedar oculta o te quitan del medio.Si llegara algún día a verte,te daría un par de besos por
      ese coraje tuyo.
      A la Española un cordial saludo.

      October 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply

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