There is a war in Mexico that will not abate unless we take specific action. Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) are ruthless and unafraid to utilize all the tools of terror and violence at their disposal. They enjoy extreme wealth, power, and an impressive arsenal unmatched by local police and military forces. Until we categorize DTOs as terrorists, we are unable to fight this problem with our own full range of resources. This paper argues that the first step to combating this threat is to properly identify the enemy and update our list of foreign terrorist organizations. Adding these DTOs to this list will open up the full range of tools and resources at the disposal of the Federal Government. The U.S. has succeeded in the past in responding to terrorism in the Americas, as seen in our work with Colombia in the 1980’s and 90’s against a variety of sub-state groups. These sub-state groups demonstrated identical motivation and tactics to those in Mexico today and were placed on America’s terrorist list in order to level the playing field. This identification alone was the impetus for a joint U.S. and Colombian response which led to successful management of the problem. This change is a must if we wish to see improvement across our border.
We must realize that apart from being a contemporary security concern within Mexico’s borders, Mexican DTO members have an octopus-like reach, maintaining a strong presence in many countries and also a stake in a diverse array of highly profitable illicit markets. Beyond the production and distribution of illegal drugs, Mexican drug trafficking organizations have branched into kidnapping, assassination for hire, auto theft, prostitution, extortion, money-laundering, and human smuggling. While most victims are from rival drug cartels, many are innocents, and more than a few have been U.S. citizens. Based on the strategy, brutal tactics, and common usage of military-grade weaponry utilized by the cartels, law enforcement strategists have begun to make comparisons to some of the world’s most prolific conflicts in recent years, including the raging insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With this established, we return to the principle argument that the Mexican DTOs behave and exist precisely like other well-established organizations that enjoy a spot on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. The U.S. State Department defines terrorism as “Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience” (p. 13).
With this definition in mind, some argue that Mexican DTOs are simply motivated by profits rather than political aspirations, even if their tactics do resemble those of terrorists. This viewpoint was represented in a Council on Foreign Relations report from last year. However, we must recognize that political motivation behind the actions of these groups does exist, as there is a degree of submissiveness within the state that allows their illicit activities to take place. There is ample evidence to suggest that DTOs are attempting to influence major government elections by kidnapping and threatening the lives of political candidates. The Mexican Attorney General in 2008 said: "We have evidence, complaints from candidates who were kidnapped or intimidated, or who received threats intended to influence the results of an election and the behavior of candidates." On top of efforts to influence state elections, the organizations have established a strong presence at the municipal level. The Attorney General commented that: "There are municipal police forces that have collapsed, that function more as an aid to organized crime than as protection for the public.”
Apologies for the long quote. This is very important. I believe this information is accurate. I want as many U. S. citizens to know this is going on as possible.
By redefining these groups as terrorists instead of criminal organizations would allow things like military intervention. As much as I hate the I'de a of using the military for law enforcement, I worry it is what this situation calls for. Our current government loves to redefine things to get their way instead of bringing new rules about.
Please pay attention.