ratiocination: mexican drug insurgency edition
My namesake, the great detective C. Auguste Dupin, who was himself an extraordinary gentlemen (I a member of the ordinary type) deployed a process termed “ratiocination”. It involved among other things Dupin’s remarkable ability to enter into the mind of the criminal he was investigating. To imagine the world from the perspective of the criminal.
On that note….a look into the rampant criminality and increasing chaos-violence in Mexico. This BBC story tells us of mass arrest of 21 police in Tijuana, accused of being in cahoots with criminal drug cartels.
The rise of the narco-insurgency in Mexico has yet to gain a great deal of press in the US but according to outgoing CIA Dir. Michael Hayden, it way be a bigger problem for Pres. Obama than the Iraqi insurgency.
Since local police throughout the country are on the payroll of the cartels, the government has had to initiate the use of federal police, aka militarized police. As in Brazil, they are attempting to deploy a modified form of counterinsurgency (COIN) along the lines laid out by Gen. Petraeus & others in the New Army COIN manual. The problem is that the militarized war model of policing can cause just as many problems, and be just as brutal (these police-military groups are often accused of political rights violations), as the drug lords themselves.
[Little remembered US prez election sidenote: John McCain argued that US police forces in US ghettos should themselves employ (deploy?) COIN model. It didn’t get much play in the midst of so much else, but that kinda freaked me out. When police become militarized, then tend not to worry about little things like warrants.]
In the latest twist to this macabre mexican tale, vigilante groups may now be appearing targeting the drug criminals. Criminal gangs have been fighting each other as well as government forces for years now. But these new potentially irregular non-state sponsored and businessmen-financed/backed militias/vigilante groups may it sound indeed more and more like Iraq.
These various gangs can often be seriously weakened but only with the creation of an indigenous militia force (a la The Anbar Awakening). However for the government to pay off such groups and admit to their legitimacy (and give up on their own military proxy police as the primary fighters) is a loss of authority and prestige to the state. It potentially de-centralizes power and breaks the state’s monopoly on the means of (legitimate) violence in the country. The state appears to lose face either way–whether the vigilantes or the narcos win out.
Almost 6,000 people were killed last year in the Mexican Drug War, which is more than the entire amount of US soldiers killed in the (2nd) Iraq War to date. It’s basically equivalent to all US military deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan.