The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the Latin American drug routes could become bomb routes.
Dempsey is wary of a dangerous network of drug traffickers, weapons smugglers and organized criminal elements in South and Central America. They have developed transit avenues — by land, sea and air — that one day could be used to move far more dangerous things, like weapons of mass destruction, across the southern U.S. border, he said in an interview with reporters traveling with him.
Framing Latin America in terms of terrorism has an old and essentially unpleasant history. It is particularly unfortunate to lump disparate threats together and serve them up on one undifferentiated plate.
Rhetoric matters, and especially with regard to terrorism can too easily lead to hasty and likely unproductive policies. He was talking off the cuff, so hopefully this does not mean too much. But the threats to U.S. security as well as citizen security in Latin America are quite a lot more complicated than this.
And, incidentally, we don't fight this effectively by trying to regain "lost" jungle skills.
On Wednesday, Dempsey visited the Brazilian city of Manaus, near the confluence of the Amazon river and the Rio Negro. He toured a steamy outpost where Brazilian troops train in jungle warfare, a skill that U.S. soldiers have lost during a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.