The war in Mexico


To show they're making headway against the hyper-violent drug cartels, soldiers in Tijuana trumpeted their latest big arrest: Stew Man - a cartel lieutenant who confessed to disposing of 300 bodies by dissolving them in vats of acid, CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports.

But there's even more evidence the cartels are operating with near impunity as they wage bloody battle for control of lucrative smuggling routes into the U.S. It's only 28 days into the new year and already there have been 400 drug-related slayings across Mexico.

Last year ended with a grisly flourish: 12 soldiers were found decapitated with this note: "For every one of us you kill, we'll kill 10."

"These criminal kingpins are not afraid of government authority," said Rand Corp. terror expert Brian Jenkins. "They're willing to take it on directly.”

The cartel carnage and brutality are escalating so rapidly - and the authorities are so besieged - that some U.S. analysts are warning that Mexico is in danger of collapse, leaving a lawless, failed state right across the southern U.S. border.

Mexico needs to develop an effective counterinsurgency policy tht will put more troops in the neighborhoods to protect the people so they will not fear telling them where the bad guys are. So far, I have seen nothing to indicate that Mexican authorities comprehend an effective counterinsurgency strategy, and make no mistake they are fighting a criminal insurgency that uses terror as a weapon.

There are things the US could do to help on this side of the border. Stories have been written about controlling the flow of arms to Mexico and we should do that. But we should also look at what the fight in Juarez and Tijuana is all about. It is basically a logistic war fighting over the drug dealers main supply routes. El Paso and San Diego could be major choke points instead of distribution centers if we focused on booty the criminal insurgents are killing each other for.

What this means is we are not doing a good enough job controling what is coming across the border in these locations. The dope must still be getting through the Border Patrol screening or these guys would not have anything to fight about on the other side of the border.


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