Pubdate: Thu, 8 Jan 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Author: Diana Washington Valdez, El Paso Times
Bookmark: (McCaffrey, Barry)


EL PASO -- Former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey contends that 
millions of people may rush to cross the U.S. border if security 
conditions worsen and lead to a governmental collapse in Mexico.

"A failure by the Mexican political system to curtail lawlessness and 
violence could result (in) a surge of millions of refugees crossing 
the U.S. border to escape the domestic misery of violence, failed 
economic policy, po verty, hunger, joblessness, and the mindless 
cruelty and injustice of a criminal state," McCaffrey said in an 
after-action report based on the Dec. 5-7 International Forum of 
Intelligence & Security Specialists in Mexico, an advisory group to 
Mexican law enforcement leaders.

McCaffrey, who has compared Mexico's situation to Iraq's, said in his 
report "Visit Mexico: 5-7 December 2008":

. Nearly 7,000 people were murdered in Mexico's drug wars since 2006; 
3,985 of these occurred from Jan. 1 to Nov. 25, 2008.

. Corruption is pervasive, and even reached into the U.S. Embassy 
"with a DEA Mexican national employee recently arrested for being an 
agent of the Sinaloa cartel ... corrupted with a $450,000 bribe."

. The Mexican government under President Felipe Calderon has done 
much to crack down on the cartels.

. Mexico is fighting for survival against narcoterrorism.

The report portrays a scenario reminiscent of ex-Defense Secretary 
Caspar Weinberger's 1998 fictional book "The Next War," which 
describes U.S. military intervention after a Mexican regime collapse 
due to warring drug cartels.

Three years ago, Tom Clancy's video game "Ghost Recon Advanced 
Warfighter," created controversy because it depicted ghosts of U.S. 
soldiers taking out targets in Juarez, a game Chihuahua officials tried to ban.

Mario Gonzalez Roman, a former consultant for the U.S. State 
Department and United Nations, said that contrary to the picture 
McCaffrey paints, "the Mexican state is far from collapsing."

He operates a Web site in Mexico ( that 
provides free information on crime and loss prevention, and advises 
victims of crime.

"Attempts to disparage Mexico's image are being conducted by private 
security businesses that stand to profit from a failed state," 
Gonzalez said. "I also believe free trade has helped to facilitate 
kidnappings in this country."

McCaffrey's report also provides a glimpse into Mexico's general plan 
of attack against violent drug organizations: "The strategy 
articulated by Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora is to 
break up the four major drug cartels into 50 smaller entities and 
take away their firepower and huge financial resources."

Ex-DEA official Phil Jordan said this approach -- splitting big 
cartels into smaller ones -- "is not one the DEA would use. When I 
was an investigator, we believed it was more efficient to first go 
after the godfathers and their lieutenants instead of the smaller 
cells or groups."

McCaffrey, a retired general, visited Juarez in 1999 as White House 
drug czar. Then-Chihuahua Gov. Patricio Martinez criticized him for 
alleging Mexico was "awash in drugs."

In his report, McCaffrey recommends that President-elect Barack 
Obama's administration "immediately focus on the dangerous and 
worsening problems in Mexico, which fundamentally threaten U.S. 
national security."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake