The war zone next door

Terrence Jeffrey:

The terrorists swept into Cananea in a convoy of 15 vehicles. They were on a brazen, murderous mission.

They kidnapped seven policemen and two civilians. Outside town, they shot and killed four of the policemen and dumped their bodies in a park.

Local police who had not been kidnapped deserted their posts to a man. "When the state police arrived, there was not a single municipal police officer," the local governor later told The Associated Press. "We had to take over the command. There wasn't anyone there. They had all left."

Government forces tracked the terrorists into the nearby mountains. A pitched battle ensued. Fifteen terrorists were reported killed. Others got away, melting into the local population or deeper into the hills.

So went another sad episode in a region of the world where anarchy reigns. Assessing the day's carnage, the mayor of the targeted village spoke with bitter candor. "Our municipality has become the victim of the violence that pervades this entire country," he said in a statement. "The events of this morning are beyond shocking."

Where is this placed called Cananea? Is it in Iraq? Afghanistan?

No. It is almost in Arizona. Specifically, it is about 20 miles south of the U.S. border in the Mexican state of Sonora. Pull it up on Google Earth, as I did this week, and you will see that the nearest town of any size is Nogales, Ariz. The nearest big city is Tucson.

Cananea is in the war zone next door. It is a place where Mexican criminal syndicates, bolstered by Mexican army deserters, fight one another for control of the best smuggling routes into the United States.

...

Mexico's drug insurgency is a real threat to that country and this one. We need to help Mexico fight these guys and destroy them. Their terror campaign has copied many of the aspects of the terrorist in Iraq such as the scene described above as well as video head choppings. The rule of law along the Mexican side of our border has become a sometimes thing. President Calderon has been much more aggressive in fighting these guys, but we need to find more ways to help him.

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