Friday, February 11, 2011

Insurgency and Mexico

There is a flap regarding the U.S. Undersecretary of the Army characterizing the situation in Mexico as a "form of insurgency," even raising the issue of using U.S. troops to fight it.  Key quote:


“This isn’t just about drugs and about illegal immigrants,” he said. “This is about, potentially, a takeover of a government by individuals who are corrupt.”


This isn't entirely new, since Hillary Clinton had made the insurgency comparison last year.

Setting aside the obvious problem of sending U.S. troops, I agree with the Mexican government that it is an inaccurate way of characterizing the conflict.  An insurgency is an illegal armed group seeking to overthrow a government.  That is not happening in Mexico because the drug trafficking organizations do not want to overthrow the government, but rather simply to absorb themselves into it.  Much of that effort has nothing to do with armed insurrection, and instead involves well placed bribery, recruitment of political candidates and other such strategies.  You can't fight those with troops, either U.S. or Mexican.

Further, when there are attacks, they are aimed at forcing the government to leave them alone and not to overthrow it.  The Center for International Policy's Just the Facts correctly made this point last year:

This is a concern, because some poor policy choices can result from viewing criminal gangs and narcotrafficking syndicates – whose only truly political goal is to keep government from disrupting their business – as “insurgents” or revolutionaries.

It's not just a matter of semantics.  If you call this an insurgency, then you click into place a variety of counterinsurgency measures that in the Mexican case will not work.

2 comments:

pc 8:46 AM  

agreed.

Vicente Duque 5:35 PM  

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A Pima County jury convicted Shawna Forde today of two counts of first-degree murder in the May 30, 2009 deaths of Arivaca residents Raul Junior Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia

Shawna Forde was founder and executive director of Minuteman American Defense ( MAD ) - There was never in History a better acronym for an organization.


Arizona Daily Star
Border killing garnered national attention
Forde convicted in killing of Arivaca man, daughter
By Kim Smith
February 14, 2011


http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_6ae561fe-386c-11e0-9555-001cc4c002e0.html

Some excerpts :

The jury also convicted Forde of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Flores' wife, Gina Gonzalez, as well as related aggravated assault and robbery counts.

Gonzlez started crying as soon as the first guilty verdict, the killing of her daughter, was read just before noon in a packed courtroom at Pima County Superior Court.

The jury deliberated for seven hours over two days. Jurors will now be asked if the death penalty ought to be considered.

On the first day of the trial, which has gained national attention, Gonzalez testified her husband woke her to say the police were at the door. The woman at the door identified herself and the man with her as law enforcement officers looking for fugitives, Gonzalez said.

When her husband questioned the veracity of their story, Gonzalez said the gunman opened fire, shooting her husband and Gonzalez. As Gonzalez played dead on the floor, the gunman fired two bullets into their youngest daughter's head, despite the little girl's pleas.
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