More On Mexico`s Meltdown: Bush Team`s Parting Assessments Should Alarm Obama

As George W. Bush`s reign wound down, more alarming
judgments about the President`s favorite neighbor, Mexico, trickled

First there was a report here, then an
uncharacteristically honest remark there, about our
narco-neighbor to the south.

In fact, there was a torrent of truth at the end of the
Bush administration—to the point where bad news about

worsening chaos
was reported with an uptick in
urgency by the mainstream media, complete with punchy
headlines like

collapse? Drug wars worry some Americans

January 18, 2009

Even the Wall Street Journal warned of "a failed state next door".
Instability Is a Real Problem
, by Joel
January 16, 2009

Most of the Main Stream Media [MSM] has long treated
border porosity with Mexico as not a real problem but
rather as something that has been blown out of
by right-wing crazies like me. But facts
and assessments in the last two months have grabbed the
reporters` attention because they are too dire to

Even tone-deaf Washington must have
`s carnage during
the last year. In particular, the

more than 5300 dead in drug-related violence
the number of 2007.

Victims included ordinary cops, police chiefs, soldiers,
journalists and ordinary Mexicans, as well as members of
warring drug gangs whose made up the lion`s share of the

national police chief,

Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez
, was gunned down in front
of his home in May. Since 2000, 45 journalists have been
murdered in Mexico, with

ten deaths occurring in 2008
alone. Many reporters
consider Mexico the second-most dangerous
place in the world to work after Iraq.

Much of the leaking bad news has come from departing
Bush lieutenants who finally made realistic estimates of
`s prospects for
genuine meltdown. (Nothing of the kind from the
President himself however, who is reputed to have

long-standing business connections

unsavory Mexicans
. His extraordinary blind has
caused me to call him

The MexiChurian Candidate

Even a

like Ambassador Tony Garza spoke ill of
his ancestral homeland,

hinting at chaos

"Calderón must, and will, keep
the pressure on the

, but look, let`s not be naïve – there will
be more violence, more blood, and, yes, things will get
worse before they get better. That`s the nature of the


more pressure the cartels feel, the more they`ll lash
out like cornered animals. Our folks know exactly how
high the stakes are."

[Emphasis added][
drug violence expected to intensify in `09
Dallas Morning
January 4, 2009

Garza`s candid advice for

traveling to Mexico
: check State Department

before their departure.

A U.S.
intelligence official based along the

border has warned that

officials, American businessmen and journalists will
"become targets, if they`re not already.

When outgoing CIA chief Michael Hayden left
, he focused his
attention on two countries as trouble spots:

Hayden sees
Iran, Mexico as top issues
, By Greg Miller, January 16]. He warned that Mexico`s worsening narco-violence
could require more help from the United States if it is to be

Given declining border conditions, Homeland Security

Michael Chertoff
put a few more cards on the table

In his January 7th wrap-up published in the New York
Chertoff expressed a realistic view of Mexico, rather
than the hollow promises of

one often hears from the

State Department
. The news here is the planning for
a US military presence on the border
in the case of a security meltdown in Mexico that would directly affect America:

his telephone interview with the
NYT, Chertoff

"We completed a contingency plan
for border violence, so if we did get a significant
spillover, we have a surge—if I may use that
word—capability to bring in not only our own assets but
even to work with"
Plans Border `Surge` Against Any Drug Wars
By Randal C.
Archibold,  January
7, 2009]

Chertoff has expressed concern in recent months about
Mexican violence. But the DHS contingency plan has not
been publicly debated, nor has any announcement of it
been made. Department officials said Chertoff had
mentioned it only in passing.

It is nice to know that not all
Washington officials
are oblivious fools, although
they often do a fine imitation as a part of the
diplomacy expected in their jobs.

Pretending that

is an excellent next-door neighbor—responsible and
normal—must require

-level acting skills, mouthing platitudes
like "It`s always a great pleasure to visit your
lovely country, el Presidente Calderon!"

Professionals in government are paid the big bucks not
to roll their eyes at those words.

Among the most serious reports have appeared recently,
one was issued by the

National Drug Threat Assessment 2009
published by the Department of Justice in December 2008.


as a clear

  • Mexican DTOs [Drug Trafficking Organizations]
    represent the greatest organized crime threat to the
    United States

    The influence of Mexican DTOs over domestic drug
    trafficking is unrivaled. In fact, intelligence
    estimates indicate a vast majority of the cocaine
    available in U.S. drug markets is smuggled by
    Mexican DTOs across the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexican
    DTOs control drug distribution in most U.S. cities,
    and they are gaining strength in markets that they
    do not yet control.

Another alarming analysis came from a
once familiar
C Capitol Hill bigwig, General Barry

His most high-visibility position was
Drug Czar
under President Bill Clinton, 1998-2001,
where he preached that

drugs are bad

These days, he runs his own consulting company, BR
McCaffrey Associates LLC
, which published a report
full of critical dangers,

After Action Mexico Report
[December 29, 2008]

McCaffrey`s analysis warns of deteriorating drug crime
leading to a meltdown of the state, with the
worst imaginable outcome
for the
United States

“A failure by the Mexican
political system to curtail lawlessness and violence
could result of a surge of millions of refugees crossing
the US border to escape the domestic misery of


failed economic policy

, hunger, joblessness, and the mindless
cruelty and injustice of a criminal state.”

Another eye-opening report with a similar message of
Mexican chaos flowing north was a Defense Department
appraisal, the

2008 Joint Operating Environment

A widely-quoted remark from the paper: "two large and
important states bear consideration for a rapid and
sudden collapse:

and Mexico
 It went on:

“The Mexican possibility may
seem less likely, but the government, its politicians,
police, and judicial infrastructure are all under
sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and
drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over
the next several years will have a major impact on the
stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by
Mexico into
chaos would demand an American response based on the
serious implications for homeland security alone. “

Additional millions of Mexicans entering this country to
"escape" its

narco-culture of violence and corruption
would only
further burden the US with their
acceptance of criminal values. Remember that bribes are
normal for Mexicans, at least according to the
Washington Post:

For Many in Mexico, Bribes a Way of Life

[October 31, 2001].

Furthermore in

criminals are admired in popular culture
, with a
whole genre of music dedicated to drug smugglers (narco-corridos).
But singers who desire a long life would be wise to
avoid angering the wrong traffickers.

Of course, a big indicator of Washington`s
misgivings about

was the

Merida Initiative
which will disperse $1.4 billion
worth of equipment and technology south over a couple of

Members of Congress were likely made aware of the extent
of Mexico`s dangerous instability to
encourage their “yeh
vote in favor of billions in spending to combat drugs.
In fact, the details of the U.S.-Mexico arrangement took
so long to work out because

Congress was fearful of Mexican corruption
and its
potential for human rights abuses.

That money could have been more wisely spent at home,
e.g. to

better equip border sheriffs
with improved
firepower. But somehow the idea of simply

keeping the bad guys out of the country
appeal to Washington.

Now Americans have a new President who has offered few
clues regarding what actual policies and actions toward

that he might take.

Border protection was not debated during the lengthy
(but content-free) Presidential campaign because it was
too connected to the controversial issue of

the candidates preferred open borders.
Americans simply have no notion what Obama will do if

blows up.

However, published reports and remarks made about

in the last two months might enable Obama to formulate a
sensible response should the worst happen.

Departing DHS chief Chertoff and his colleagues in
national security have

drawn up contingency plans
to mobilize the

local police
to protect the border.

We cannot know what Obama will do if

descends into chaos. But we do know that he has been
warned and given a written plan 
to follow—if (and when) he needs to.

Brenda Walker (email
her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites,

She is happy to at least have a change of flavor in the
White House, from Mexichurian to Hawaiian-Chicago.
Aloha, Dude!