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What's Wrong With Mexico?

Some countries seem to never have to leave home to fight a war.

Take Mexico.

President Felipe Calderon has just sent thousands more troops into the northern state of Sinaloa to fight the drug cartels, which evidently have taken over both the Mexican side of the border with the United States and large swaths of Mexico proper near the border.

In the past two weeks, six senior police officers across Mexico have been assassinated by the cartels. The latest was Edgar Millan, who had been acting director of the federal police for just 30 days before he was shot outside his home in Mexico City. Up north, closer to the border, the cartels have even taken to decapitating their police victims to add an extra measure of horror to their assassination campaign.

As recently as last week the president promised (again) to take back the streets from the cartels. He's a little late out of the starting gate. Since he came to office in 2006 more than 3,500 people have died in the cartel violence. Drug hit men have even been targeting popular recording artists, who they kidnap and murder as punishment for hit songs that don't paint the cartel hombres in a favorable light.

We shall see how the Presidente does in this fight. So far the government of Mexico hasn't seemed up it. Cartel recruiters are so confident of their control of border towns they openly advertise gunmen jobs to soldiers willing to go AWOL from the army.

The whole sorry scene of the border war over control of drug routes has the air of an open insurrection that the government of Mexico seems powerless to put down. It's one thing to blame American drug consumers for the huge power of the cartels, it's quite another for the government to simply fail to stamp out the murderous insurrection with brutal force. It's a challenge to the very manhood of the Mexican government and there isn't a blue pill to cure this impotency.

Americans have had plenty of reason to mistrust the Mexican government over its inability to control the outflow of its citizens to the United States, where they live in legal limbo because they cannot make a living in their own home country. Americans even understand why the Mexican government wants its citizens in the U.S. (because they send home billions of dollars), but they resent deeply the Mexican government's complicity and facilitation of this wave of illegal immigration.

But the idea that the government cowers before armed gangs of drug cartel-paid gunmen is shocking. Mexico has virtually ceded a vast chunk of its sovereign territory to criminal gangs, watched its own officers of law and order hunted down and killed and seems unable to defend itself. Even the Maliki government in Iraq has finally decided to fight back against the illegal gangs of gunmen that threaten its very existence.

So what's wrong with Mexico? Doesn't it appear that Mexico is losing its status as a functional government if it can't even protect its own national police chief and many other local police officials? What is the nation of Mexico if it can't exert control within its own borders?

Mexico is so flacid it's pitiful and pathetic. The one upside, if you could call it that, is Mexicans certainly do not have to worry about living under an ironfisted police state.

What a sorry excuse for a government. Should somebody call the U.N.?

That's My Word.

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