Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clinton Says US Bears Blame for Mexico's Drug War. How's that play in El Paso USA?

caption: Hillary Clinton shares remarks while visiting Mexico. Source--Google images.

"Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade...Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians...I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility." --Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to reporters on her two day trip to Mexico City as US Secretary of State

This morning's newspaper blared the headline: Clinton takes drug-war blame. How did El Paso respond? Keep these factors in mind; they make El Paso's reaction significant:

  • El Paso voted overwhelmingly for the then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton in her Democratic primary bid for the US presidency. Obama did not even bother to visit the city in that race.
  • El Paso is not known as a particularly progressive or leftist-leaning city.
  • El Paso has been a bewildered and distressed bystander to intensive levels of violence in her sister-city, Ciudad Juarez. El Paso is a secondary victim, economically and emotionally, to the Mexican drug war.

It is too soon to report El Paso's response definitively; early reports rest on inconclusive data. But early indicators do look positive for Clinton as El Pasoans consider her frank comments in Mexico.

The El Paso Times opinion poll question today, entitled "Blame for Mexico drug wars," asks the question: Is America's consumption of illegal narcotics partially to blame for the recent violence in Mexico?

As this report is written, the unscientific results from 1422 participants are:

376--Absolutely, which is why we should legalize drugs (26.4%)

639--Yes, but legalizing drugs isn't the answer (44.9%)

314--No, the U.S. shouldn't be blamed for Mexico's problems (22%)

093--No, and we've wasted tax dollars with our so-called war on drugs (6.54%)

Of 55 internet reader comments to today's Clinton banner headline news story, they sort out roughly into three categories:

Pro-Clinton = 16 [eg. "Finally, a high-level federal official has the courage to speak the truth. Now let's work on both sides of the border to fix what is a shared problem."]

Con-Clinton = 11 [eg. "Another Democrat blaming the U.S. for the world's problems. These people are so pathetic!"]

Neutral or off-topic = 28 [eg. "I guess I should feel guilty for smoking pot and contributing to the deaths of innocent Mexicans. I do but I will never stop buying Mexican Marijuana as long as I live..."]

This part-time El Pasoan feels congruent with Clinton's assessment. A quote from James Joiner's recent, timely essay is relevant in the context of the Secretary of State's comments:

"It seems to me that the drug war has spilled over the Border with Mexico. However it went north to south. It is our drug war that has spilled into Mexico. It is we who have made Mexico the narco State it is."

Other "person on the street" opinions in this brief vid from


afeatheradrift said...

It would seem to me we bear most of the blame. We want the drugs and we supply the weapons. That about says it all. I'm been very worried that this problem would but start the drum rolls from the right that we need to just set up snipers and fire away at any darker skin crossing the line. Here's hoping saner heads prevail.

Randal Graves said...

Look, every society since the dawn of civilization has used drugs. Accept it as one should accept that people eat charred dead animal parts and copulate now and then, treat it as a health issue and move on to other concerns.

Trust me, if you legalize even mere weed, there isn't going to be a mad rush of millions to the local CVS for a 4-pack of joints on sale for $19.99 plus tax. Sheesh.

Libby said...

Amazing that some people (in El Paso, no less) refuse to see the connection and won't even acknowledge the U.S. to have "partial" responsibility as the poll question states. I'm fairly impressed by Clinton's comments. I read somewhere that a lot of the weapons are coming from Central America - weapons we gave them to fight their wars during the eighties. Wish she would mention that. But yeah.

Brother Tim said...

It's not the average Joe manufacturing these weapons in his garage. U.S. arms manufacturers are raking in billions. Just one of the reasons against drug legalization.

eProf2 said...

When I heard her comments I said to Mrs. eProf, finally, someone in the US government gets it. Drugs wouldn't be coming here if there was a demand from them, a huge demand for them. Legalize it, tax it, and empty at least half the prison cells in this country.

Jamie said...

Have to go with eprof on this one. It wasn't that long ago in American history when all drugs including opiates could be bought over the counter. Supply and demand and I doubt legalization would produce that much more of a demand.

Mexico has a share of the problem in that a lot of corruption up to now in government has created a rich upper class and a larger group of impoverished people that turn to the northern border for a way to earn a living whether through labor intensive jobs or as part of the drug trade.

Where there is a vacancy of any kind it will be filled.

Dave Dubya said...

The success of the medicinal cannabis efforts are a sign that the public gets it. I have some hope yet, but it will require some courage and leadership from more politicians to speak the truth.

And I won't be holding my breath for that to happen.

Renegade Eye said...

I think what Clinton said was so obvious, she couldn't escape saying it without losing credibility. I'm sure Plan Mexico is on Clinton's mind. In addition the US is increasing the number of border guards. I wonder how many immigrants more than drug gangs will be arrested?

Brother Tim is correct about the weapons coming from the US.

Conditions in the US are now causing Mexicans, to want to go back to Mexico. No jobs here.