Let’s invade Mexico (Blast from the past)
A blast from the past. Fred Reed wrote this in
My Notes: What we’ve seen this past week, is that the son of famous drug lord El Chapo, was arrested. His cartel did not take it lying down and even shot into the airplane that they were using to move him. His cartel is now demanding his release and threatening to put gas stations on fire and that they will threaten the civilian population.
Before we get to Fred’s article, the Mexicans and the Cartels live in a strange symbiotic relationship. If the cartels do not find customers for their product, they end up growing produce. Some avocado farmers found themselves in a strange situation when one of the cartels asked them for training and education specifically to grow avocados and export them. AMLO has held to the line that Mexico must negotiate with the cartels and it had been quiet with almost no violence since AMLO was elected.
So, why now a sudden outbreak of cartel violence?
“Friday morning opened with a report on the actions taken yesterday to capture the son of Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán in the community of Jesús María, located 45 kilometers from Culiacán, Sinaloa, which left 21 criminals detained and 19 dead; in addition, ten members of the armed forces lost their lives and 35 more were wounded.
General Luis Cresencio Sandoval, head of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), emphasized that so far no civilian casualties have been reported as a result of the confrontations and aggressions that took place before, during and after the apprehension.” Translated from La Journada
The North America leader’s summit is planned in a few days, for January 9–10. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will urge the US government to end the interventionist Monroe Doctrine it has followed for the past 200 years. He plans to call on Biden to change the US policy of “intervening in” countries throughout the Americas in a bid to dominate the Western Hemisphere.
“The Monroe Doctrine, formulated in the early 1800s by then US President James Monroe, “has been in place for 200 years,” AMLO he told reporters during his daily press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City.
The principle deems any intervention by external powers in the politics of the Americas as a potentially hostile act against the United States, and has been giving Washington reasons to exercise control over Latin America.
Respect the autonomy and self-determination of the peoples. It is a very important change,” said Lopez Obrador.
“President Andrés Manuel López Obrador affirmed that during the arrest operation of Ovidio Guzmán López, El Ratón, leader of the Sinaloa cartel, the forces of law and order acted in a responsible manner “to take care of the civilian population” so that there would be no innocent victims.
Questioned about the interpretations in different spaces in the sense that this apprehension was due to the imminent visit of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, to Mexico next week, the federal president ruled them out. “We do not share them because we act with autonomy”.
Well, this may be so, but very few people believe that there is no connection between this sudden outbreak of cartel violence, and AMLO’s open call for the Monroe Doctrine to be walked back or better yet, walked completely out of the house. We remember clearly that the US traded weapons to the cartels.
Now to Fred’s article, which he wrote after Trump called for military action against the cartels. Trump called for military action just a scant few hours ago. He is just preparing for the next war.
Fred’s article is a true depiction of cartels in Mexico:
Let’s Invade Mexico!
I suppose that by now everyone has heard of Trump’s offer to send the American military to “wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth,” which he asserts can be done “quickly and effectively.”
Trump phrased this as an offer to help, not a threat to invade, which is reassuring. AMLO, Mexico’s president, wisely declined the offer.
While the President seems to have made the offer in good faith, he has little idea of Mexico, the military, or the cartels. The American military could not come close to wiping them off the face of the earth, much less effectively and quickly. Such an incursion would be a political and military disaster. The President needs to do some reading.
If AMLO were to invite the Americans into Mexico, he would be lynched. Few Americans are aware of how much the United States is hated in Latin America, and for that matter in most of the world. They don’t know of the long series of military interventions, brutal dictators imposed and supported, and economic rapine. Somoza, Pinochet, the Mexican-American War, the detachment of Panama from Colombia, the bombardment of Veracruz, Patton’s incursion – the list could go on for pages. The Mexican public would look upon American troops not as saviors but as invaders. Which they would be.
The incursion would not defeat the cartels, for several reasons that trump would do well to ponder. To begin with, America starts its wars by overestimating its own powers, underestimating the enemy, and misunderstanding the kind of war on which it is embarking. This is exactly what Trump seems to be doing.
He probably thinks of Mexicans as just gardeners and rapists and we have all these beautiful advanced weapons and beautiful drones and things with blinking lights. A pack of rapists armed with garden trowels couldn’t possibly be difficult to defeat by the US. I mean, get serious: Dope dealers against the Marines? A cakewalk.
You know, like Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. That sort of cakewalk. Let’s think about what an expedition against the narcos would entail, and what it would face.
To begin with, Mexico is a huge country of 127 million souls with the narcos spread unevenly across it. You can’t police a nation that size with a small force, or even with a large force. A (preposterous) million soldiers would be well under one percent of the population. Success would be impossible even if that population helped you. Which it wouldn’t.
Other problems exist. Many, many of them.
Let’s consider terrain. Terrain is what militaries fight in. Start with the Sierra Madre, which I suspect Trump doesn’t know from Madre Teresa. This is the brutally inhospitable mountain range in the northwest of Mexico, from which a great many of the narcos come. (Sinaloa is next door.) Forestation is dense, slopes steep, communication only by narrow trails that the natives know as well as you know how to find your bathroom. Nobody else knows them. American infantry would be helpless here. The Narcos would be found only when they chose to be found, which would not be at opportune moments.
The Sierra Madre Occidental, home of many of the drug traffickers. I have walked in these mountains, or tried to. It is impossible for infantry, worse for armor, and airplanes can’t see through the trees.
The Tarahumara Indians live in the Sierra Madre. They frequent the trails, sometimes in groups, and carry things not identifiable from the air. In frustration American forces would do what they always do: start bombing, or launching Hellfires from drones, at what they think are, or think may be, or hope might be, narcos. Frequently they would kill innocents having nothing to do with drugs. This wouldn’t bother the military, certainly not remote drone operators in Colorado or somewhere. They get paid anyway. The Indians who just had their families turned into science projects couldn’t do anything about it.
Well, nothing but join the narcos, who might call this a “force multiplier.”
Some other northern Mexican terrain. The Duarte Bridge between Sinaloa and Durango. A company commander, looking at it, would have PTSD in advance, just to get a start on things.
Of the rest of Mexico, much consists of jungle, presenting the same problems as the Sierra Madre, and of cities and villages. Here we encounter the problem that has proved disastrous for US forces in war after war: there is no way to tell who is a narco and who isn’t.
In cities and towns, narcos are indistinguishable from the general population. How – precisely how, I want to know – would American troops, kitted out in body armor and goggles and looking like idiots, fight the narcos in villages with which they were unfamiliar? The narcos, well armed, would pick off GIs from windows, whereupon the Americans would respond by firing at random, calling in air strikes, and otherwise killing locals. These would now hate Americans. The narcos know this. They would use it.
Culiacan, Sinaloa, Chapo’s home city. It has a high concentration of narcos. Suppose that you are an infantry officer, sent to “fight the cartels.” You have, say, twenty troops with you, all with hi-tech equipment and things dangling. How do you propose to fight the cartels here? Which of the people in the photo, if any, are narcos? You could ask them. That would work.
Don’t expect help from the locals. Most would much rather see you killed than the narcos. And if they collaborated they and their families would be killed. This would discourage them. Bright ideas?
Now a point that Schwarzehairdye in the White House has likely not grasped. The narcos are Mexicans. So is the population. You know, brown, speak Spanish, that kind of thing. The invaders would not be Mexicans. This matters. Villagers usually do not hate the narcos. These provide jobs, buy their marijuana crops, often do Robin Hood things to help the locals. Pablo Escobar did this, Al Capone, Chapo Guzman. There is a whole genre of popular music, narcocorridos, celebrating the doings of the drug trade. (Corridos Prohibidos, by Los Tigres del Norte, for example). Amazon has the CD.
Which means that they would side with the narcos instead of the already-hated soldiers, putos gringos cabrones, que se chinguen sus putas madres.
Further, much of Mexico doesn’t much like its government.
And of course the narcos will have the option of fading into the population and waiting for the gringos to go home. This means that the invasion would become an occupation. The invading forces would thus need bases, which would become permanent. Bases where? All over the country, which is where the narcos are?
Getting the American military into one’s country is much easier than getting it out. The world knows this. Mexicans assuredly do. They know that America has wrecked country after country in the Mideast, always to do something good about democracy and human rights. They know that America is squeezing Venezuela to get control of its oil, squeezing Iran for the same reason, attacked Iraq for the same reason, has troops in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for the same reason, and has just confiscated Syria’s oil . Mexico has oil. So when Trump wants to send the military to “help” fight drugs, what do you suppose the Mexicans suspect?
Another point: Roughly a million American expats live happily in Mexico. These would be hostages, and they – we – are soft targets. The drones kill five narcos, and the narcos kill five expats. Or ten, or fifty. What does Washington do now?
Finally, consider what happens when you bomb a country, make life dangerous, kill its children, destroy the economy and impoverish its people? Answer: They go somewhere else. With Mexico being made unlivable, Mexicans would have two choices of somewhere else, Guatemala and….See whether you can fill in the blank. Maybe four or five million of them.
Nuff said. May God protect Mexico from Yanquis who would do it good, from advisers, and then adviser creep, and then occupation, and then from badly led militaries who have no idea where they are.