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Thread: Small War in Mexico: 2002-2015 (closed)

  1. #101
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    Default Legalization, Continued

    ODB,

    Would the societal costs and complexities of legalization surpass what we experience right now with all drugs illegal? How many Americans were arrested last year due to some kind of Marijuana charge, I bet the number is in the hundreds of thousands.

    We are able to contain alcoholism in the workplace, i would think that this is fairly analogous to most recreational/addictive drugs.

    I honestly do not think it would be too difficult to figure out where drugs could be grown or produced, we seem to excel at regulating things; and my guess is that Marijuana would be grown EVERYWHERE, kind of like it is now, and there would not bean enormous profit in growing POT.

  2. #102
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Default

    The legalization issue has been discussed at length here.

    SFC W
    Last edited by Uboat509; 01-01-2009 at 07:45 PM.

  3. #103
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    Default Context.

    An estimated 2.1 million people died in the last civil war in Mexico, out of an estimated population of about 15-17 million. (see McCaa, Robert.“Missing Millions: The Demographic Costs of the Mexican Revolution.” Mexican Studies Vol. 19, Iss. 2 (2003): 367-400.18 October)

    Over 10% of the total population died during the last war in Mexico, before there was a drug problem.

    1) Its about more than drugs. The drug money exacerbates some previously existing fissures, but many of the problems are not new. I think it will get worse faster than we think as the "insurgents" seek to influence the Mexican election cycle over the next 18 months. Nobody on this site is talking about the internal Mexican election cycle/politics/ethnic fissures. Heck nobody even mentioned the Zimmerman Telegram. How that for context? Why would somebody NOT exploit this situation? Drugs are the latest part of the story, but they are not the entire story.

    2) I'd argue that we're spending more time talking about our internal politics than talking about Mexico. Some of the fissures in Mexican society existed a long time before our "war on drugs" started. "The Power and the Glory" was written about the fascist (sorry "national socialist") repression after the last civil war in Mexico - before our "war on drugs" ever started.
    - I bring it up because it touches on some of the things we're not talking about: The racial tensions in the Mexico, the religious oppression after the Mexican Revolution, and the ethnic/economic divide. It is a snap shot of the "human terrain" after the last Mexican Civil War/Revolution.

    3) The new FX-05 Mexican Assault Rifle is called the ''Xiuhcoatl'' and that is not a Spanish word folks. It is Nahuatl - the most widely spoken Ameri-Indian language in Mexico.
    - We NEVER want to talk about this in the US: Mexico's Law of Linguistic Rights lists over 60 "official languages" over and above Spanish.
    - The vast majority of those languages are only spoken by very small groups (Ameri-Indian Tribes), but the point is that Mexico is more of a quilt work than a monolith. http://www.ethnologue.com/show_map.asp?name=MX&seq=10
    - We learned about other folks ethnicity the hard way in CENTCOM - we need to talk about the "human terrain". Drug money is a new factor in the same old problem.
    - I know the FX-05 is the G36. Roger that.

    4) The Mexican government policies of pre-revolutionary "Castellanization" and the post-revolutionary "MEXICANIDAD" movement both have sought to shape the national identity of Mexico with varying degrees of success.
    - In the end Mexico is about 65% metizo, 10-12% Ameri-Indian, and 20% European.
    - Who do you think has the money? What is the popular image, in Mexico, of who has the money and why?
    - How do you think this shapes the internal politics of Mexico?
    - I know this is a pretty crude way of putting it - but mix violence, ethnicity, and politics and things can get pretty crude. That is part of the "human terrain".

    5) Contested areas in the US. Armed Forces Journal is really talking about contested areas in our country right? If we're talking about it how far behind the power curve are we?
    http://www.afji.com/2008/12/3801379
    - “criminal gang activity is a national security threat today. ... It is presently challenging civil order in some contested areas in the U.S., and could continue metastasizing into a more serious threat in three areas; as an active challenge to civil order itself (as in Mexico today), as an enabler or support network for terrorist attacks in the U.S., and by establishing a permissive, lawless environment that passively supports anti-U.S. activity.”

    6) President Calderon says: Its a WAR! I'd believe him.
    http://projects.latimes.com/siege/#/its-a-war

    The LA Times does appear to get it, and is doing some good reporting. It is a war, it will get worse before it gets better.

    If you want the worst case then read the Zimmerman Telegram by Barbara Tuchman, and substitute new characters of your choice for the Germans.

    Again: Why would somebody NOT exploit this situation? Our break from history really is over.

    Thanks for reading this far. Have a good weekend - Dave
    Last edited by 1258dave; 01-02-2009 at 06:41 PM.

  4. #104
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    Default

    Ref the message above. I'll work on the editing. Thanks.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-02-2009 at 10:00 PM. Reason: PM re introducing himself sent and tks for initial post.

  5. #105
    Council Member jkm_101_fso's Avatar
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    Default U.S. Plans Mexican Border ‘Surge’

    Not sure what agencies/military will be involved in this; BP, DEA, probably NG

    U.S. Plans Border ‘Surge’ Against Any Drug Wars
    RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
    Published: January 7, 2009
    NYT

    The soaring level of violence in Mexico resulting from the drug wars there has led the United States to develop plans for a “surge” of civilian and perhaps even military law enforcement should the bloodshed spread across the border, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday.
    I really hate the word "surge".

    Officials of the Homeland Security Department said the plan called for aircraft, armored vehicles and special teams to converge on border trouble spots, with the size of the force depending on the scale of the problem. Military forces would be called upon if civilian agencies like the Border Patrol and local law enforcement were overwhelmed, but the officials said military involvement was considered unlikely.
    Armored vehicles seems like it would involve military; but it sounds like we'd be a last resort.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/us/08chertoff.html?hp
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

  6. #106
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    Default Joe 2008

    From the El Paso times, a mention of a JFCOM report warning of the possible collapse of two key states: Pakistan and Mexico.

    http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_114443...ce=most_viewed
    He cloaked himself in a veil of impenetrable terminology.

  7. #107
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Mexico

    The actual report is: http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storya...08/JOE2008.pdf . Note Mexico is only partly covered.

    There is a commentary on: http://www.douglasfarah.com/

    davidbfpo

  8. #108
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default Vigilantes: Citizen Command of Juarez

    Shadow of vigilantes appears in Mexico drug war, By Julian Cardona. Reuters, Jan 19, 2009.
    Shadowy vigilante groups are threatening Mexico's drug gangs near the U.S. border in retaliation for a wave of murders and kidnappings that killed 1,600 people in this city alone last year.

    One group in the border city of Ciudad Juarez pledged last week to "clean our city of these criminals" and said their mission was to "end the life of a criminal every 24 hours."

    Citizen Command of Juarez - update
    , by Samuel Logan. Security in Latin America, January 20, 2009.
    The army assumes that this group may turn into something similiar to "La Familia" a civil justice group in Michoacan that eventually fell into the services of one drug trafficking organization, used to wipe out members of a rival criminal group.

  9. #109
    Council Member Piranha's Avatar
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    Thumbs down surrealistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Sounds almost surrealistic, just call me naieve.
    Piranha, a smile with a bite

  10. #110
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    Default That war we're working hard at ignoring.

    url]http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-drug-kidnappings12-2009feb12,0,3927610.story[/url]

    The war in Mexico is being "fought" here in the US.

    Atlanta and Phoenix are the canaries in this coal mine. Expect the violence in Mexico, and in US cities with a significant connection to Mexico, to increase as the Mexican mid-term election cycle starts in the next 12 months.

    I am always shocked that the war on our boarder does not get much press except for in the LA Times.

    On my big soap box again:
    Yugoslavia had 3 official languages.
    Mexico has over 60.

    I know that there are over 180 total langages "spoken" in Mexico and that less than 5 of them are significant.

    But how significant? Since we tend to learn about other folks social and ethnic composition the hard way....is anybody out there thinking about this? Is there a ethnic/group self-identification side to the war in Mexico that we're not seeing? Does anybody have any ideas about this?

    The Westies (an NYC gang) required you be Irish, or from the Westside, the mafia was more open, but still ethnically/regionally based.

    I'd be surprised if there is not a simmilar dynamic in Mexico. You start "a family business" with people you know and trust....like La Familia.

    Different subject: when I was at the Army FA Advanced Course (dating myself) there was a Brazilian Officer who had seen combat primarily in San Palo, Rio, and in the jungle war zone along the boarder. His "war" was more like this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/f...ok-Brazil.html While the movie is baised, it is worth getting it. From here it looks like what is going on in Mexico now.

    I welcome any response. Thanks.

  11. #111
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    Default

    Leaders are always looking for "Metrics," a quick read through this thread should be a crystal clear metric that U.S. laws and policies for how we treat American drug users are completely failed.

    Supply-based counter drug efforts can only result in this type of activity, and with the global recession upon us, it will only get worse in terms of the destabilization of fragile states to our south.

    IMHO we have two options:
    1. Change our position on civil liberties and get medevil on those Americans who choose to use drugs (will require punishments that do not punish the taxpayer, just the drug user); or

    2. Change our position on civil liberties and legalize and control manufacture, transportation, distribution and sale of recreational drugs.

    If we refuse to make either hard decision, we will harvest failed states to our south, with significant diasporas in our borders. The destabilization caused by that is far worse than either of the options above, and option one is a COA that is not feasible in the US.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  12. #112
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post

    2. Change our position on civil liberties and legalize and control manufacture, transportation, distribution and sale of recreational drugs.
    This is also tied to the economic situation as we will look for better ways to payback our huge national debt there will be tremendous pressure to come up with tax revenues beside the straight income tax. As the financial pressure builds this will become a more viable option.

  13. #113
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    Default Border

    Quote Originally Posted by 1258dave View Post
    An estimated 2.1 million people died in the last civil war in Mexico, out of an estimated population of about 15-17 million. (see McCaa, Robert.“Missing Millions: The Demographic Costs of the Mexican Revolution.” Mexican Studies Vol. 19, Iss. 2 (2003): 367-400.18 October)

    Over 10% of the total population died during the last war in Mexico, before there was a drug problem.

    1) Its about more than drugs. The drug money exacerbates some previously existing fissures, but many of the problems are not new. I think it will get worse faster than we think as the "insurgents" seek to influence the Mexican election cycle over the next 18 months. Nobody on this site is talking about the internal Mexican election cycle/politics/ethnic fissures. Heck nobody even mentioned the Zimmerman Telegram. How that for context? Why would somebody NOT exploit this situation? Drugs are the latest part of the story, but they are not the entire story.

    2) I'd argue that we're spending more time talking about our internal politics than talking about Mexico. Some of the fissures in Mexican society existed a long time before our "war on drugs" started. "The Power and the Glory" was written about the fascist (sorry "national socialist") repression after the last civil war in Mexico - before our "war on drugs" ever started.
    - I bring it up because it touches on some of the things we're not talking about: The racial tensions in the Mexico, the religious oppression after the Mexican Revolution, and the ethnic/economic divide. It is a snap shot of the "human terrain" after the last Mexican Civil War/Revolution.

    3) The new FX-05 Mexican Assault Rifle is called the ''Xiuhcoatl'' and that is not a Spanish word folks. It is Nahuatl - the most widely spoken Ameri-Indian language in Mexico.
    - We NEVER want to talk about this in the US: Mexico's Law of Linguistic Rights lists over 60 "official languages" over and above Spanish.
    - The vast majority of those languages are only spoken by very small groups (Ameri-Indian Tribes), but the point is that Mexico is more of a quilt work than a monolith. http://www.ethnologue.com/show_map.asp?name=MX&seq=10
    - We learned about other folks ethnicity the hard way in CENTCOM - we need to talk about the "human terrain". Drug money is a new factor in the same old problem.
    - I know the FX-05 is the G36. Roger that.

    4) The Mexican government policies of pre-revolutionary "Castellanization" and the post-revolutionary "MEXICANIDAD" movement both have sought to shape the national identity of Mexico with varying degrees of success.
    - In the end Mexico is about 65% metizo, 10-12% Ameri-Indian, and 20% European.
    - Who do you think has the money? What is the popular image, in Mexico, of who has the money and why?
    - How do you think this shapes the internal politics of Mexico?
    - I know this is a pretty crude way of putting it - but mix violence, ethnicity, and politics and things can get pretty crude. That is part of the "human terrain".

    5) Contested areas in the US. Armed Forces Journal is really talking about contested areas in our country right? If we're talking about it how far behind the power curve are we?
    http://www.afji.com/2008/12/3801379
    - “criminal gang activity is a national security threat today. ... It is presently challenging civil order in some contested areas in the U.S., and could continue metastasizing into a more serious threat in three areas; as an active challenge to civil order itself (as in Mexico today), as an enabler or support network for terrorist attacks in the U.S., and by establishing a permissive, lawless environment that passively supports anti-U.S. activity.”

    6) President Calderon says: Its a WAR! I'd believe him.
    http://projects.latimes.com/siege/#/its-a-war

    The LA Times does appear to get it, and is doing some good reporting. It is a war, it will get worse before it gets better.

    If you want the worst case then read the Zimmerman Telegram by Barbara Tuchman, and substitute new characters of your choice for the Germans.

    Again: Why would somebody NOT exploit this situation? Our break from history really is over.

    Thanks for reading this far. Have a good weekend - Dave
    This is the best summary of the Mexican drug issue I have seen. All true. The best descriptive phrase I have read is "Existential Threat" to us.

  14. #114
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    Default Missed it earlier

    1258Dave, I agree, that was an excellent post. Context is critical, and your short history lesson valuable. We have this odd habit of attempting to narrow the scope of the problem to drugs, gangs, terrorists, etc. and simply disregard the overall context. We have war on drugs, where we focus entirely on drugs (go out of our way to avoid going after the insurgents). We wage war on terrorism, and we focus on getting the terrorist, again with addressing the situation holistically.

    There are several factors that contribute to this, and one of them is the miltary planning process and the mind set that it encourages where we try to narrow the problem down to simple, stupid (it isn't), and then we develop some b.s. center of gravity (that doesn't really exist). We execute, and we create metrics, and they don't paint the picture we want, we change them. Don't change the strategy, simply keep changing the metrics until you get the result you want. Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about, and the EBO process has simply made the problem worse.

    The Army is now experimenting with Operational Design, which doesn't wish away wicked problems, but attempts to develop an understanding of the complexity, then develop a counter logic to nip at the various problem sets.

    Irregular warfare is more complex than conventional war (and conventional war is not simple by any stretch of anyone's imagination), and our doctrine and education has not yet addressed these serious shortfalls.

  15. #115
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Not to downplay the legitimate concerns of

    either Mexico and its problem or of gangs in general but Bill's post prompts two thoughts:
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    The Army is now experimenting with Operational Design, which doesn't wish away wicked problems, but attempts to develop an understanding of the complexity, then develop a counter logic to nip at the various problem sets.
    The first, not totally tongue in cheek, is that the Army experimented with Organizational Design over 30 years ago. Before that, it had experimented with Organizational Change. After that, it experimented with Organizational Effectiveness -- all matters of record. Then came the debacle that was the net handling of Iraq early on and I joked that we had gone from OC to OD to OE and had reached OF -- Organizational Failure. I just hope we're not into deja-vuing here...
    Irregular warfare is more complex than conventional war (and conventional war is not simple by any stretch of anyone's imagination), and our doctrine and education has not yet addressed these serious shortfalls.
    This is true and results from, I believe, attempting to make too many competing players 'happy' with verbiage and techniques. I'd only comment that central direction and a singular agreed approach may not be the best solution to a complex problem.

  16. #116
    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default Ken, I may be wrong, but...

    You and Bill may be talking apples and oranges...

    Operational Design has little or nothing to do with organizational concepts and everything to do with a fuller more nuanced appreciation of a problem, the context within which the problem exists and comprehensive approaches to solving the problem without wishing away the sometimes contradictory and emergent nature of complex problems...

    Of course, I always thought I did this as a planner, but.... they now have an operational "model" to help a group of bright people examine a problem through multiple lenses (think Nicholas Cage in National Treasure)...

    Then again maybe you just mis-typed or I mis-understood, and the initiatives you mentioned earlier are exactly like Operational Design/Systemic Operational Design/Commander's Appreciation & Campaign Design

    Live well and row
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  17. #117
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Nope, you're right. I was deliberately using

    a play on words -- sort of -- to express my partly tongue in cheek dismay, much as you did, at yet another "NEW" concept. We seem to espouse a new one ever 20 years or so. Probably takes that long for people to forget the last great hopeful would-be paradigm buster. Fortunately, most of them do little damage.

    Though I am now concerned for the eyesight of all today's planners 'cause I'm pretty sure that looking through multiple lenses is bad for ones eyes...

  18. #118
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    Default Old or New?

    Ken,

    While the label operational design may be somewhat new, but I am not so sure that the concept is. I attempted to research historic irregular warfare events we were involved in prior to Vietnam with the specific purpose of attempting to identify the planning process/thought process that supported the development of the campaign plan. Unfortunately I'm not a good researcher, my numerous attempts at google and a few trips to the library failed to uncover what I was looking for.

    It "seems" the so called Powell Doctrine in response to our involvement in Vietnam with it focus on concrete military objectives and clearly established conditions for our exit prior to committing troops has shaped our planning process for the worse. These are needed at the tactical level, but attempting to define certainity at the strategic level actually reduces are ability to respond to uncertainity (as recently demonstrated in OIF, transition from phase III to phase IV).

    Having been involved a number of planning spins for crisis response, the conventional focus was on the "military end state" (read exit plan), then a logical (linear path) to get there, and the hand off to some imaginary interagency agency/department that would then take the lead. That thought process works well for some missions where we have limited objectives and the situation isn't overly complex (e.g. Grenada, Panama, NEOs, emergency humanitarian assistance, etc.), but it doesn't work so well for more complex irregular warfare scenarios like the occupation of the Philippines, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Vietnam conflict, Somalia, El Salvador, OIF, OEF-A, OEF-P, etc. where the strategic end state simply isn't knowable in a military sense.

    While not completely sold on it, I haven't seen any other process that will allow us to adequately address the complexity we're dealing with in this current conflict. The good news is operational design is not intended to replace MDMP, it is intended to give planners a better understanding of the situation (something like a strategic/operational level blue/red/green dynamic situation template that recognizes complexity and informs the planning process) to inform campaign development, and hopefully the recognition that we'll have to adjust the campaign based on changing conditions and political objectives. Military units will still be given specific missions, and they will still apply the time tested MDMP for their specific missions.

    I have a warm spot in a heart for OD because it challenges the foolishness of EBO by recognizing complexity, but I agree we are in danger of dejavu if contractors get ahold of this, then attempt to develop software that supports it (destroys it), and we once again fall back on trying to identify some stupid metrics that don't mean squat. Didn't we start losing wars when we focused on metrics instead of commander's intuition? Give DoD time, they'll take a concept worth considering, outsource to the contracting whores, and it will come back to the force with a STD that just keeps giving.

  19. #119
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good post. I totally agree with all that

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    It "seems" the so called Powell Doctrine in response to our involvement in Vietnam with it focus on concrete military objectives and clearly established conditions for our exit prior to committing troops has shaped our planning process for the worse.
    Having been involved in the work up for Desert Storm, I totally agree. DS was also a good example of this:
    ...where the strategic end state simply isn't knowable in a military sense.
    Then, as often is the case, because the politicians cannot determine a strategy and make it up as they go...
    I have a warm spot in a heart for OD because it challenges the foolishness of EBO by recognizing complexity, but I agree we are in danger of dejavu if contractors get ahold of this, then attempt to develop software that supports it (destroys it), and we once again fall back on trying to identify some stupid metrics that don't mean squat. Didn't we start losing wars when we focused on metrics instead of commander's intuition? Give DoD time, they'll take a concept worth considering, outsource to the contracting whores, and it will come back to the force with a STD that just keeps giving.
    I've read enough about it to agree with all that. Hopefully, we'll quit screwing things up in that manner. Someday. I really wish someone could do an accurate audit of contractor benefits and detriments to Armed forces over the years...

    My apologies, BTW, for taking your serious comment of a couple of days ago and letting my warped sense of humor loose. I really have trouble resisting any play on words...

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    Default Comment

    I'd like to note that my security concerns about the War in Mexico are just that - security concerns. If this was happening in Quebec I'd also be concerned.

    Further, my questions about the role of group self-identification and ethnicity in the Mexico are driven by my experiences in Iraq dealing with a society that fractured along ethnic and religious lines. I believe these are legitimate concerns and questions especially given our experiences in Somalia, Yugoslavia, and Kosovo. In each of these cases self-identification, linguistic heritage, religion, and ethnicity, played a major role in the conflict – as they still do in Afghanistan today.

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