McCaffrey on Mexico - 23 March 2009

26 March 2009

General (ret.) Barry McCaffrey continues to sound cautions and alarms on Mexico.  Clearly he loves the place and doesn't want to see it fall apart.  For their sake or for ours.  I would highly suggest that journalists reach out to McCaffrey through his website.  His latest comments were published on Nationaljournal.com.

Interesting to note that apparently tons of weapons are flowing into Mexico from the United States.  During the Iraq war, weapons were/are coming from Syria and Iran.  Many Americans wanted to attack those countries for aiding the weapons flows, or even just turning a blind eye.  Now with Afghanistan: weapons flood in from Pakistan.  What about our country in regard to Mexico?

I am a gun-owner.  I grew up with guns the way some people grew up with video games.  I'm a far better shot with a real gun than a video-game gun.  I have no plans to give up my hardware, but we must be honest here and help curb flows that are killing Mexicans and Americans.  The idea that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" should be saved for someone who will buy it.  That's like saying IEDs don't kill people, people kill people.  Nuclear weapons don't kill people...

Guns kill people.  I'm not giving up my guns and I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with other Americans who want to keep theirs.  But we must be honest about the problems to face them.  Of course a country like Afghanistan could tell the United Kingdom, "The fact that your people use heroin has turned our cornfields to poppy!"  (Opium is Afghan Oil, so Afghan farmers don't complain much about European addiction statistics.)  As in AfPak, these sorts of problems do not know or respect borders and the problems are complex.  Such issues must be confronted holistically.

This isn't AfPak, it's AmMex.  Drugs are flowing north, weapons are flowing south, and money is flying everywhere.  AmMex is not about al Qaeda and the Taliban, but equally ruthless criminal gangs -- with far more money than al Qaeda could ever dream of.  These gangs will be bringing guns and drugs to your city, and they will hope to make your kid a customer.  And if your kid causes problems, he'll be shot.  Or worse.

From General McCaffrey:

March 23, 2009
Gen. Barry McCaffrey, President, BR McCaffrey Associates, LLC


I have been closely engaged on the issues facing Mexico for the past 14 years---first as the US Joint Commander for the Latin-American region 1994-1996 and then as US Drug Policy Director from 1996 to 2001. I am currently a member of an international advisory panel supporting the Mexican Federal Police with the issues of drugs and crime.

Please click to read the entire comment.


Comments   

 
# Ferg 2009-03-26 04:21
Look Mike, here we go again. Those of us in the know are very aware that there is a "trail of ants" in weapons travelling south from the US. We understand that. We get it.

The problem with the generalƒ??s assessment is two fold- He refers, once again, to the weapons being smuggled into Mexico as "automatic weapons". They aren't. The military grade weapons that the Mexican military and law enforcement establishment is facing come from stolen stocks of their own weapons (their accountability system is extremely lacking), a proliferation of left over Soviet and US arms from Nicaragua/El Salvador, et al., and most being imported in with the fresh supply of cocaine from Columbia. Semantics? No, not really, and everyone who doesn't make that distinction instantly loses credibility. It seems keeping with the political language of this administration- anything that comes from the US is an assault weapon. I would really be interested in the primary source data showing this 20,000 weapons just last year. Heavy sigh.

The other problem is that, other than additional personnel checking folks going south (and apparently the US must shoulder this burden because the Mexican Customs is, what...a failure?) and more firearms tracing by the BATFE in Mexico (which is being done) what exactly is the US supposed to do? Do people really think that licensed gun dealers are going to sell weapons to questionable purchasers when they know that their sales will be traced back to them, especially under the level of politicized scrutiny now? With this new government and populist pressure, dealers will run the risk of discrimination practices based upon ethnic grounds (no sale to Hispanic-Americ ans just to be safe?). That isn't a very good solution either.

To eliminate the power of the cartels we need to train and empower the Mexican judiciary, their police, and military. But most importantly we need to figure out how to eliminate the market for the illegal drugs here in the US (god knows the War on Drugs has not been successful) and cut the source of the narco-trafficer s funding. To do that would involve a paradigm shift in our own policies, one which no one is willing to make. This isnƒ??t an issue of when the violence will spill over. It already has, for over 20 years.
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# EN 2009-03-26 04:27
Inanimate objects aren't responsible for their actions.

"Guns kill people. I'm not giving up my guns and I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with other Americans who want to keep theirs."

So what is it you want? Not sure what you're saying but in the end I'm sure it will affect my "hardware" choices, ammunition, accessories and a lot more. It's for the good of my country, right? It all sounds very ominous but you're being vague, to put it mildly. Though I do gather you think it's the fault of the American people and that the former Clinton drug czar has a nice bureaucratic solution? More failed wars on drugs, guns, and the creation of ever more quasi military police units of dubious value. I wonder at times if Bureaucrats truly understand how broke this country is?

I don't doubt that much (but likely not even the majority) of the "hardware" being used by the Cartels comes from US sources but the sourcing here is, once again, vague. In this case it would likely come from the corrupt Federales, Mexican Army, and a host of other Mexican quasi military law enforcement agencies via the US government. I'll post a link to an article and perhaps you can use your Iraq experience to figure out what the solution is? If it involves disarming Mexicans and Americans on or near the border (near would be within a thousand miles and allowing them to keep pellet guns is still disarming them), reread it. Holistic approach indeed. Maybe it starts with getting rid of the corrupt Mexican government?
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6328994.html
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# Bart Fleming 2009-03-26 04:27
What is the "but"? What does curbing flows have to do with yours and my ownership and being able to keep our hardware. Laura Ingrahm calls them "but monkey's" on her radio show. They signal a back track on the affirmative statement that preceded.

The sad truth is that this administration is not prepared to display the grit and reslove that is needed to defend this country. PC is replacing common sense. The signals being sent to those who would do harm to this country our fellow citizens, including the those in Mexico, are all wrong and will lead attacks on this country. We may need our hardware to keep our homes safe, especially those of us who live cerca de la frontera con Mexico.
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# Matt D 2009-03-26 04:32
Why can we not roll up the Coast Guard and Border Patrol into one LE/quasi-milita ry branch of service? Seems like it would solve man problems, both logistic and financial. Per terre, per mar, as per the Marine Corps around the world, except focused more on border and homeland security?

Our borders do not simply stop at the shoreline but extend well out into the earth's oceans. If the Border Patrol is having such issues with manpower and funding, why not combine the BPS and USCG into one professional arm of the Dept. of Homeland Security? It seems logical to me.
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# A&N 2009-03-26 04:38
Thanks for the General Caffrey link, which we read, and for your thoughts and comments, Mike. We understand where he's coming from but it's half the story...so much more involved than what he covered. Maybe you have to just be here on the ground, as you should know, to get all of the story. Many of the drugs going through Arizona end up in Canada and in Europe. Much of the money flowing back into Mexico does not cross the border in vehicles. And the war HAS already crossed the border. Ask those of us who live in Arizona to get that story. South American and Mexican gangs, murder and kidnapping, robbery, jobs taken that Americans need, our welfare system, schools, health care..all broke because of this invasion. Our Federal Government been a hinderance and not a help. Frankly, we don't expect things to improve from their latest actions. That border needs to be secured NOW...and the General is right about that....more, many more men needed there, well armed and trained and meaning business with a Government that supports them and doesn't lock them up when they shoot drug dealers in the ass. Phoenix is second in kidnappings next to Mexico City and only last night there were three robberies by illegals in my small town 300 miles north of the border. We've had one murder, and drop houses closed down here and we watch the human traffic go through here to the north. And a vet no less, in our town killed by a drunken illegal Mexican driver....this is common in the state and you can believe me, we all like you carry for our own protection. No, I can't write all that needs to be said about the lack of security, safety to the citizens of this State now days. The General is right about our great border patrol and some of our sherriffs and ICE as well. That includes Sherriff Arpaio from the Phoenix are whom we thank God for and whom the US Attorney Geneneral now is harrassing for discrimination. ..Sort of difficult to arrest Polish illegals here because there just aren't quite as many of them here as there are Mexican or South American. Tough if it gives the appearance of profiling. It isn't. So much for help from the new administration. They can help Mexico all they want but if they do not close that border down they will not stop the flow of drugs and criminals to this country and their contacts here will still be sending money and weapons back to Mexico. You know this old blame America and Americans first stuff is wearing real thin in the face of reality. Real thin. Our family has been in Arizona since before Arizona even became a state and we know Mexico, illegals and maybe even Mexican government just a little bit better than the General. Some things you aren't told by living in retirement communities in Mexico or by being smoozed by the politicians always ready to accept our money down there. Mexico is the same as it has been for 100 years. Don't expect any big changes there. Corruption is the name of the game and there have always been two classes...the rich and the poor. That's the same as it is in a lot of the world, Mike, and I didn't cause it. They can blame somebodies elses culture and not mine. You should know that. Right now we need to secure that Border..first priority. And like you say, do it now before it gets worse. It will and fast. It would help if the government would stop hendering us from enforcing the laws already on the books instead of fighting us about it. ICE has been great by the way. They chased 40 illegals out of the hills behind my house. I was grateful. We aren't fools in Arizona, not those of us who are from here..we get the picture, Mike. Thanks for taking an interest. We appreciate you as we always have.
Annie and Neatie...long time readers of yours
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# John Ryan 2009-03-26 04:43
I keep hearing about American guns going to Mexico. I would like to know where they are coming from, and if they are being bought here, why are they not being traced.

We have reversed the policies of Eisenhower and allowed anyone to come here illegally and now you want Americans to add more money to a $1.8 trillion deficit to defend Mexico?

Drugs might grow on trees, but money does not. Stop placing border agents in jail and perhaps additional ones might take the job. Borders, Language, Culture. Mexico offers us nothing of the sort. Build the wall and enforce it. Drug problem solved.
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# Casey 2009-03-26 04:59
How about, instead of telling folks about opium trades (which is an industry that IS banned, yet clearly is still thriving on the black market), allow me share a different anecdote with you, but THIS one is a true story. This is from an article published in the Houston Chronicle on 8MAR2009 about how drug cartels are infiltrating Houston with the associated bloodshed. After reading all the sad stories of cases of mistaken identity by these drug-dealing thugs targetting innocent victims, there's a brief mention of one courageous citizen who effectively used his Second Amendment right to fend off the would be murderers.

"In another instance, men armed with assault rifles attacked a Houston home. The resident used a handgun to kill one and wound another before the survivors left."
http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=2009_4709459

If only the other victims would have been as well-prepared.. . how differently their stories might have turned out. If you would like more examples and statistics on how private citizen gun-ownership has helped save lives, please consult the blog of a nationally reknown economist, John R Lott, and author of "Freedomnomics. " http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/

You see, our Constitutional writers didn't include this clause just so we could continue to have our entertainment at taking pock shots at clay birds or in video games. It was to ensure that freedom would continue to ring throughout our great American nation, for generations to come. But I fear many Americans seem to think the wisdom of our US Constitution is somehow outdated, when we couldn't be further from the truth -- never more, than now, have needed to uphold and defend our freedoms as guaranteed by the US Constitution. We must NEVER forfit our constitution rights, or we WILL LOSE our freedom.

Be reminded of the warning by one great American:

"Hold on, my friends,
to the Constitution and
to the Republic for which it stands.
Miracles do not cluster,
and what has happened once in 6000 years,
May not happen again.
Hold on to the Constitution,
for if the American Constitution should fail,
there will be anarchy throughout the world."

-- Daniel Webster, U.S. Statesman and Secretary of State (1782-1852)
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# Casey 2009-03-26 05:01
Disarming law-abiding citizens of America, will certainly NOT keep weapons out of the hands of drug warlords and thugs, or off the black market. Thugs will always find other means to gain access to the tools of their trade -- they've got plenty of money, as you said, it's just a matter of finding a dealer on the black market. You know, I'd love to see you produce empirical evidence supporting this theory that somehow taking away Americans access to weapons will ƒ??curb the flowƒ? to druglords and make us any safer. Because Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, certainly couldn't!

We've heard this before... from Obama's administration. Obama sent his Holder out to try to sell the American public on the idea that "putting a ban on the sale of assualt weapons will... have a positive impact in Mexico." Then we saw the liberal media (including yourself now) true to form, carry his water by publishing all kinds of alarming, gruesome reports on the drug wars on Mexican border. The fact is, this fighting has been going on for years, and only just now is the Obama administration using this scenario as what Obamaƒ??s Chief of Staff would call "an opportunity" to institute their radical liberal policies... take away American's gun rights. Let me explain to you why our Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment:

Amendment II: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." -- U.S. Constitution, 1791.

As the amendment explains, our nation's forefathers knew this clause was essential to ensuring citizens have a means to defend themselves against tyrannical rulers and invaders. This was so important to them, they made it the SECOND amendment of the Constitution, no less (following after Freedom of Speech, Free Press).
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# Casey 2009-03-26 05:04
Michael,

You previously denied working for Obama while defending your "tortureƒ? article, yet now you're asking your subscribers to march off to tell your military leaders we demand government take away our right to own a weapon and a means to self-defense. This is sheer stupidity! And whether you realize it or not, this is EXACTLY what Pres. Obama is hoping weƒ??ll believe. Frankly, I'm aghast at how you even arrived at such a conclusion to advocate this very un-American concept.

Disarming law-abiding citizens of America, will certainly NOT keep weapons out of the hands of drug warlords and thugs, or off the black market. Thugs will always find other means to gain access to the tools of their trade -- they've got plenty of money, as you said, it's just a matter of finding a dealer on the black market. You know, I'd love to see you produce empirical evidence supporting this theory that somehow taking away Americans access to weapons will ƒ??curb the flowƒ? to druglords and make us any safer. Because Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, certainly couldn't!
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# EN 2009-03-26 05:04
Living in a border state is an interesting thing. I don't need you to go there and tell me about it. I live here. It's the oddest thing to hear your insinuations about guns and other things Mexican. I'm telling you, and anyone else who's paying attention, that if they try and take my guns I'll just buy new ones... and I'll GET THEM FROM MEXICO! The more I think about the former Drug Czars assertions the crazier it seems. I know where to get anything illegal and it's not from the heavily gun legislated state of California. I would prefer you go to both sides of the border on your next trip than to Helman province which is a long ways away and doesn't have near the negative affect on my life that the US federal government working with Mexico does. As Annie pointed out the Mexican government hasn't changed much, they're just running a new scam and it's not going to be good for me, with or without my guns.
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# xoxoxoBruce 2009-03-26 05:10
Another reason to close the F******g border.
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# Blake Sobiloff 2009-03-26 05:41
I respect the man's service, but he's dead wrong on the source of the weapons flowing into Mexico. The BATF testified to Congress a couple of weeks ago that the number of guns being smuggled from the US is in the hundreds. (http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/2009/03/19/testimony-on-violence-in-mexico/) Mexico is swimming in tens of thousands of newly imported guns. Mexico also isn't getting fully automatic weapons from the US since those are basically illegal to sell without FBI background checks and prices that are orders of magnitude higher than the price on the black market.
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# Ed Nutter 2009-03-26 05:48
Michael,

With all due respect, the Mexican drug gangs don't seem to be favoring semi-auto pistols and rifles. Much of the captured weaponry is full on military stuff, weapons that aren't available in or to U.S. gun shops.
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# Andy 2009-03-26 06:03
Michael,

I have a lot of respect for you and your work. I know you need a break, but AmMex could also use a bit of accurate reporting. I'd love to find out from first-hand reporting exactly where these weapons are coming from and how they get to the cartels.

I'm very skeptical of those who claim it's mostly from legal gun purchases in the US, or that more regulation for law abiding citizens will stem the flow of weapons. I'd like to see evidence of this from a trustworthy journalist like yourself.
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# Howard E Morseburg 2009-03-26 06:21
Just this morning I was looking at a picture of a car in Mexico in which two people were assassinated, and counted more than 25 bullet holes in it. Then tonight, Greta on Fox News, talked about a Mexican policewoman who was assassinated, with more than 100 bullets fired into her body, because she arrested a drug dealer.
Yet, the penalty for murder in Mexico, if convicted, might be only ten to twenty years, but the prisoners can live with women in some prisons or literally, enjoy luxuries that poorer citizens cannot do more than dream of.
We have those who decry the death penalty, but tell me, what other punishment should be meted out to those who fire more than 100 bullets into a person, let alone a woman?
What other penalty should be meted out to those who kidnap, collect a ransom, then kill small children, or even older kidnap victims?
What does a man who dissolves 300 bodies in acid deserve? Could any of them have been alive when put into his barrels? What alternative punishment is there that would scare some of the drug soldiers from committing such crimes? Obviously there is no fear of the penalty to be paid or the punishments at this time?
Obviously there is something lacking in the system? Povertyalone is not the reason for such criminal activity. Poverty breeds great men as well as criminals. A study may reveal as many men active in the drug trade from middle-class, even upper class homes, as from the impoverished. Hunger may cause small crimes in order to eat, but not large crimes of such brutality.
One photo from Mexico show a pile of money stacked on the floor that is larger than a King-sized mattress, $205 million, which means it could not be laundered, it could not be spent, and was virtually useless except to buy more drugs and guns. With one tenth of it a man could retire somewhere and live out his life in luxury. So, it is more than that, and until the answer is found to proper punishment and/or deterrent, there will be another 6,000 deaths over the next couple of years. Some of our thinking or the Mexican thinking abour criminals must be revised.
Like torture, we do not have a real clue to the answer, nor for that matter, even the problem.
It's as if, for each problem we come up with an answer to/for, it only creates a new problem. Like weeds in the garden, the seeds are already there ready to sprout around the roses.
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# mcarroll 2009-03-26 06:39
if we are going to build a wall on the border, i think it we should run that wall all the way north from baja along the eastern border of kalifornia up until you hit oregon, then go west to the ocean, that way we can keep the darn socialists and mexifornians out of the REAL U.S. Kalifornia has been compromised by illegals and liberals to much that it is beyond fixing unless real americans can take it back - through force if necessary. Gov. Arnold...you're state should be "erased"...you know, "terminated". People of Kalifornia should "get to the choppa" because if they stay, they will always be under those who want to "tax and spend" them out of existence.
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# Casey 2009-03-26 07:14
Mexico itself has one of the most strictest gun laws in the world... and as we're all witnessing on our newstations, this hasn't kept the Mexican citizens any safer. Their constitutional gun rights have been drastically reduced over the decades, to where now Mexican citizens can only purchase a gun after submitting and receiving approval to their petition to the Mexican Defense Ministry, and if they win this petition and pass an extensive background check, only then can they purchase a rather low-caliber weapon directly from the Defense Ministry. Is THIS what Gen. McCaffrey and Michael Yon have in mind? Do they think this would keep us safer? Because it ain't working in Mexico! We can tell you that. The US Consulate in Mexico warns us that you can't even bring so much as a POCKETKNIFE into Mexico -- wow, with laws like that you'd think life in Mexico would be a societal utopia according to your liberal ideology. Yet, those of us who have visited Mexico know you can get pulled over by the Mexican cops and be forced to bribe your way out of custoday. And how many innocent Mexican citizens have been killed or kidnapped in the druglords' crossfire because they didn't have the means to defend themselves?? Again, I ask you and Atty. Gen. Holder to produce the empirical evidence supporting your notion that taking weapons out of the hands' of American citizens will make us any safer.

The black market is a GLOBAL market. Many of the weapons used by drug cartels aren't even sold in American gunstores, manufacture perhaps, but that's because they're using military grade weapons!

They're using grenade launchers, light anti-tanket rockets, M-16's, RPG's. I don't see these anywhere on the civilian shooting ranges. Yet, Obama's adminstration is promising more control on "assault weapons" -- but given the lack of any solid definition of what qualifies as an "assault weapon," pistols and shotguns have also been included in the catagory of "assault weapon," despite many people envision military-style weaponry when they hear "assault weapon." It should be pointed out, some of the weapons used by drug cartels are actually stolen from U.S. military bases, and most of the military grade weapons are finding their way into the hands of Mexican drug cartels from huge left over stockpiles from wars in Central America and Asia. Even Soviet-produced weaponry is finding it's way into Mexico.

... And the poor Mexican man can't even carry a pocketknife on himself? Astonishing.

http://tijuana.usconsulate.gov/tijuana/warning.html

http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcassaul.html
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# Joanie 2009-03-26 07:51
I live in San Diego and as a nurse, I've seen the direct cause and effect of the drugs/guns exchange that occurs so close to the border. But it doesn't stop in San Diego. It goes statewide, nationwide.

There was a program on the Discovery Channel the other night about the FBI's work to take down the Mexican Mafia. If anyone ever doubts the severity of what's going on here, they should devote a couple hours to watching that. And that's not even all that "chilling" compared to seeing it firsthand.

We can never let our guard down when it comes to what's going on in Mexico any more than we can let our guard down when it comes to raising our kids.
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# Ben 2009-03-26 10:36
Mike I seriously hope you read most of these comments on the gun flow and change heart. If you look at it all of the statistics they are talking about automatic rifles not semi auto. I can't buy one without a Federal license and about $20,000. So how in the world are these illegal military grade weapons flowing accross the border. Yeah I'm sure some guns are but most of these weapons are coming from their corrupt military. I've been through real (not the tourist sites) Mexico and been pulled over by federal and military saying either I was speeding (45mph in a 45mph) or their was a "tax" to go on the federal road. Their AWOL stats are through the roof. They can't even keep track of their own people let alone weapons. Really Mike I hope you re-examine this and realize the US isn't the problem here. My hunting rifle isn't going across the border and killing anyone. I also hate the phrase guns don't kill people, people kill people. I think its accurate just over used. Here's the one I like. If you have tons of gun laws the only people that are going to be armed are criminals. They don't follow the law. Thats what makes them criminal.
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# Michael 2009-03-26 11:02
This is nonsense. The Obama administration is using the situation with Mexico to try to drum up support for unpopular anti-gun legislation. America is the LAST place gangs would want to steal/buy guns. We already have laws against running guns and against ownership by felons. Making it impossible for Joe the Plumber to get guns won't help anything.
Why would a Mexican drug gang bother crossing the border for an expensive, semi-auto American AR-15 when they can get a cheap, full-auto Chinese AK-47 at home? Where in America can you buy the RPGs and grenades that were seized in February? (http://www.ww4report.com/node/6845)

Besides, is it really a good idea to restrict guns for U.S. citizens? Those on the border need to defend themselves against the threat of Mexican gangs and drug dealers.
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# Brian T 2009-03-26 11:36
Michael, first of all thank you for your great writing and insight.

While no doubt there are some straw purchases made in the US and brought over to Mexico, the type and volume of weapons and ammunition the General and others note are not available in your local gun shop. It is just about impossible to find a case of 5.56 or 7.62X39 to buy right now. If there is a business selling case lots of AK's, SKS's and various M-16 clones then they need to be looked into. The full auto stuff, grenade launchers and other military weapons are obviously smuggled into the country some how and then shipped over. That is a customs/organiz ed crime issue and npt to be mingled with discussion on domestic fire arms.

Keep up the great work!!

Semper Fi
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# John 2009-03-26 12:09
The arms flow from Syria to Iraq is a state sponsored activity, with Iran involved. It's not an apples to apples comparison to alleged arms flow from the US to Mexico.
If the US is the primary source of military grade weapons and explosives then we have an alarming corruption problem in our armed forces, and that I doubt. More likely imports from South/Central America.
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# Trevor 2009-03-26 12:30
Let's decriminalize drug use and focus on treatment options - that would go a long way towards changing the underlying reason for the problems in Mexico. Violent drug cartels wouldn't exist if the United States would take a different approach to its ill advised War on Drugs. No government has the tools to change human nature. The U.S. government set the conditions that created the problem. Are we willing to talk about that?
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# kmf 2009-03-26 12:33
Michael,

Please be careful...

Do you know which defense contractor McCaffrey is beating the war drum for?

I clicked on the link and said, 'geezus, not this guy!'

He has been called One Manƒ??s Military-Indust rial-Media Complex by the NYTimes...

Don't you find it a little odd how the media has turned its' coverage, watered down I admit, from two wars, one which is winding down, to the Mexican drug problem/cartel violence, then boom - a plea by McCaffrey who just happens to love Mexico?

Drugs and violence have been going on in Mexico for decades - beware Michael that you're being used by this shill.

A shill is an associate of a person selling goods or services or a political group, who pretends no association to the seller/group and assumes the air of an enthusiastic customer. The intention of the shill is, using crowd psychology, to encourage others unaware of the set-up to purchase said goods or services or support the political group's ideological claims.
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# John 2009-03-26 12:50
For all of you folks that contend Mexican drug lords are getting their full auto rifles, grenades, and rocket launchers from America I have only one thing to say-

Before you try to restrict the rights of law abiding Americans because of the corruption and failure of a third world shithole government- PROVE the illegal weapons are coming from the States. Let's see some serial numbers.

Do you and Gen McCaffrey honestly believe US civilians are actually selling class three weapons worth thousands of dollars that are already heavily restricted for pennies on the dollar? Do you think the US civilian that has invested considerable time and money in a class three weapon has had one stolen and we have heard about it directly from them?


It's nothing but ignorance to suggest that restricting the rights of law abiding citizens will somehow affect the drug trade. Come on, some of you need to do some research on this and get your head out of your fourth point of contact.
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# Retardo 2009-03-26 12:56
Mexico is not being flooded with legal automatic weapons from civilian sources in the US, because legal automatic weapons in the US are ludicrously expensive due to the tight controls we have on them. Mexico is not being flooded with legal hand grenades from civilian sources the US, for the same reason.

The drug cartels in Mexico are extremely profitable, enough so to challenge the Mexican government. They import military hardware from elsewhere in Latin America, and they obtain it illegally from the Mexican military. They can easily afford guns at ten times the prices they're paying now. Even if they were getting all their guns from legal sources in the US (which they aren't), and even if we could magically wave a wand and make all civilian-owned guns in the US vanish (which we can't), the Mexican drug cartels have enough money to get whatever guns they want, regardless of the law here or elsewhere. They got rich moving contraband over national borders. It's their core competency. You really think they can't figure out how to move some guns too?

Eliminating the fundamental rights of Americans would, at best, put some upward pressure on prices of less desirable guns in Mexico.

Finally: Note that Mexico already has draconian gun control, yet Mexico is the country with a violent crime problem bad enough to destabilize the government, not us. Mexico's gun control has not disarmed the cartels. It has disarmed those of their victims who obey the law. It has not disarmed the criminals. So now you want to disarm law-abiding Americans, too? How will that help? You might as well ban snow tires in Romania.

If we're Mexico's source of guns, and we have much less problem with violent crime, how then do you figure that guns cause violent crime? Jesus, everybody's been over this for ages. Canada's got lots of guns, and less crime than we have. France (no, seriously!)? Switzerland? Lots of guns, not much violence. Guns aren't the problem. A century ago, the UK had no gun laws and we had no gun laws. They had a small fraction of the violent crime we had -- just like now. It's culture, not hardware.
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# BTFD 2009-03-26 13:10
Pass me some kool aid Michael.
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# SFC Winsor 2009-03-26 13:13
I lost complete faith in you Yon.
Automatic weapons are ILLEGAL in the US!!!!
Texas needs a GREAT WALL not tighter gun controls.
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# ed bergin 2009-03-26 13:24
Check the serial numbers....how many of these guns were given to the Mexican police and military by the US government, for fighting drug lords?

I'll bet most came from the US government.
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# Butch 2009-03-26 13:44
I really have enjoyed your articles and book over the last few years. It disappoints me greatly that you now appear to be accepting the rhetoric of our current Government leaders and their fascist, socialist, comments regarding how our society should be controlled. You, with your worldly exposure, should understand better then most of us that the first step of leaders like this is to disarm the people.

The gun trade you speak of in the Middle East obviously exists. It seems pretty apparent that it is sponsored by elements within the governments you discussed. How you can equate this type of gun trade to what is happening in Mexico defies logic to me. No, I donƒ??t think our Government is supporting illegal trade, but I also do not believe the hundreds, maybe thousands, of guns flowing into Mexico are coming from the local gun store in Arizona or elsewhere.

Maybe itƒ??s time for you to come home more and see the mess being created here by a Government that wonƒ??t enforce existing immigration, firearm and drug laws. Ask yourself, why we arenƒ??t putting the National Guard on the border. Wake up Michael!
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# Jeff 2009-03-26 13:45
Heh, I'll give you a 9.9 for huevos. Methinks you may have spent too much time abroad to pay sufficient attention to what's going on here.

At the beginning of an economic downturn that could well rival the Great Depression, we've just managed to elect a left-wing messiah-like figure to the presidency, who's overnight expansion the national government is unprecedented.

As evidenced by the responses here, Americans who support the 2nd Amendment are in no mood to budge on gun control. At all.

I love Mexico too. My Dad lives in Oaxaca, where I just spent three weeks. And I'm here to tell you that the country IS NOT on the brink of collapse. Crime IS NOT rampant -- I felt safer on the streets of Oaxaca City than I feel on the streets here. Americans ARE NOT hated, and in fact, we are liked and even admired. And drug cartels ARE NOT seen as a threat to the national government.

The drug violence is a border issue that, in fact, effects the vast majority of Mexicans in the interior not at all. The economic downturn has brought a rise in kidnappings. And in response, a proposal to bring back the death penalty for that crime is being seriously debated. To which I say:

Bravo Mexico.
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# John 2009-03-26 13:46
Michael,
Please check out this article-

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mexico-arms-race15-2009mar15,0,229992.story?page=2
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# Gordon Jones 2009-03-26 13:47
Michael,

Thank you for your work; I will continue to support you.

Please read the other comments posted here- they say it better than I.

"...help curb flows that are killing Mexicans and Americans..."

Are the guns flowing south from the US to Mexico obtained in the US by legal means? If not, are there laws in place to prevent the illegal means of procurement? If so, will more laws make the present laws work better?

Is the US the only source of weapons for the cartels? How about the select-fire class III weapons, RPG's and grenades Attorney General Holder referred to in his photo-op a while ago?

Guns kill people the way spoons make people fat. If a spoon isn't available, there's always a fork.
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# Byron 2009-03-26 13:47
There are two stories circulating regarding the source of these automatic weapons. One is that Venezeula is now manufacturing AK-47's and supplying them to the the drug cartel's in Mexico.
The second is that the Cartel's are offering payment of $100 per day to military members who join them and bring their weapons.
Both of these stories are much more plausable than US civilians providing automatic weapons to the cartels.
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# Cecil Trotter 2009-03-26 13:48
First I hear that Hillary Clinton has said that the US is to blame for Mexico's problems and now I come here and find Michael Yon blaming it on American gun owners.

Michael your comments and those of General MCaffery are riddled with errors and false assumptions. All of which have been covered by previous comments, I suggests you read them carefully.

Sadly this site reads more like CNN every day.
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# mikecnorthwest 2009-03-26 13:49
"Interesting to note that apparently tons of weapons are flowing into Mexico from the United States."

Apparently, you might be wrong about this. Just because you read something, or hear the President say something, doesn't make it true. I'd suggest you fact check this and determine for yourself whether this is happening or not.
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# mikecnorthwest 2009-03-26 13:51
"Interesting to note that apparently tons of weapons are flowing into Mexico from the United States."

Apparently, you might be wrong about this. Just because you read something, or hear the President say something, doesn't make it true. I'd suggest you fact check this and determine for yourself whether this is happening or not.
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# FatWhiteMan 2009-03-26 13:56
I want to help stem the flow. Please let me know which gun shows, FFLs and Wal-Marts sell all of the grenades, antitank weapons and full auto stuff and I will do my part to make sure they don't end up in Mexico.

Seriously, I can't believe you would fall in step with this hogwash.
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# Janice Stroud 2009-03-26 14:05
I have to agree with the majority here, methinks you are off base in siding with the General's conclusions.
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# Damon S. McClure 2009-03-26 14:11
* Build a fence so high that they get a nose bleed when they try to climb over it.
* Start sending every-one that is not here legal to wherever they came from.
*Fine every employer so much $$$$money$$$$ that it is not worth it.
Seems so simple!!!!
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# Jagape 2009-03-26 14:18
It is fascinating how ignorant the people of the United States are. They feel that the US is immune to the black market and the running of guns. There are more guns in the US than anywhere else in the world. With all the gangs in this country how can anyone feel that they are not capable of running guns south. If we have an estimated 12 million illegals here, what if 1,000 of them were here just to run guns!! 10 each per week would be 40,000 a month.
On some of the blogs in the US people talk about the Socialist Regime of America taking their guns. They don't care, because most of their guns are unregistered!!!

Wake up America...there is a lot more illegal money making going on in the US than most of you will ever know.
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# runcible 2009-03-26 14:21
You are one of the last people I would have expected to buy into this nonsense.

Sad.
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# Dan Ward 2009-03-26 14:23
Mike -- Read the Mexico article and McCaffrey's (and Jenskins piece). I gre up in New Mexico, went to college in Las Cruces, NM (40 miles from El PAso), lived in El Paso, and stayed with a rich family in Mexico City in 1979 (the inlaws of a friend of mine who worked at the DEA El Paso Intell Center (EPIC) and married a Mexican while he was assigned as the DEA liaison to the Mexican Attorney General in the early 70s. Also worked with Joe Arpaio when he was in the DEA). Frequently during my visit, the family lamented the sad state of corruption and having to pay the "mordida" to get even the simplest most basic things done (like getting a telephone or a vehicle registered).

Fast forward 11 years to 1990. As a Major, I volunteered from HQ, Second Army (now First Army) in Georgia to do 6 months TDY to help stand up Joint Task Force (JTF) 6 at Fort Bliss. I was then sent to Sacramento to be the DOD Liaison Officer to the State of CA for military support to law enforcement. I was assigned a desk in the CAL National Guard "Drug Cell". First, the CALGUARD was very jealous of DOD entering the "game" and insisted all military support go through them - even support to Federal Agencies that the CALGUARD was jealously coverting. In early 1990, Duncan Hunter proposed the enhanced 15 mile fence from the Pacific Ocean 15 miles inland. Part of his proposal was to have military (Active, USAR, Guard) to build it and also improve the Border Patrol's road net work along the border. The CALGUARD seemed to keep dragging their feet. When I confronted the CALGUARD Colonel (full timer) that ran Ops in Sacramento, he replied, " There are 4-5 million Hispanic voters in Southern California and we don't want the CALGUARD -- under control of the Governor (then a Republican Dukemejian -- to be perceived as cooperating with "La Migra" (the INS). Luckily for me, Saddam invaded Kuwait and I was recalled by my command.

What toleration of this chaos at the Border is all about is fear -- political fear of a coalition of the cowed mealy mouthed and panderers fomented by tribal promoting politicans and interest groups. What else explains the failure to exercise common sense? If anyone's still confused, Google "Border Patrol Agents Compean and Ramos". For years it has been perfectly clear the Border Patrol/Customs and now ICE needed to be drastically beefed up; and it started. Then "they" got Ramos and Compean. Now "they" are going after Arpaio. The days of "managing" the Border are gone -- time for real Leadership which ensures the common sense and right things are done on both sides of the Border. Good fences with good gates make good neighbors.
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# Sam 2009-03-26 14:24
Many of the automatic weapons the cartels posess comes drom two places: via its southern border and from the corruptness the flows through its some of its police force and military. The flow of weapons from the US is miniscule.
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# James 2009-03-26 14:32
First off, automatic weapons in the US are perfectly legal if produced before a certain period of time (it's like May of 1986). The average automatic weapon in the US costs about $6,000.00, so I doubt the cartels are getting them here. There's a lot of paperwork involved and you have to work with the ATF pretty closely.

The article someone linked to in the LA Times is loaded with bad information. It's impossibly hard to get grenades or grenade shells here, but not actually grenade launchers. I don't think it's cost effective option here to obtain those either and they aren't modern kit. They're usually marketed as flare guns.. You CAN find the occasional AT weapon, but those are usually ultra rare collectors items from the 60s or before. Like anything in the US, with the right paperwork and enough money they can be legal... just not legal for everyone necessarily. The article says that assault rifles are legal here and that's wrong, they're not commonly legal and they're strictly controlled. I think the LA Times means "assault weapons" which is a made up term designed to scare people and doesn't actually denote a class of weapons but characteristics of a weapon that are scary! A .303 Enfield is technically an assault weapon.. Well it has a bayonet lug and a detachable magazine, doesn't it?

There are a lot of instances where shipping containers of Romanian and Chinese AKs are found and our port cities are notoriously porous so I could see them slipping large amounts of firepower through to Mexico, everything up to RPGs and grenades. I'd ask how closing our ports to this sort of threat is going. Sure, there are straw purchases, but we can't stop those now and any suggested laws will be just as easily circumvented. If we can't enforce the laws we have now how will be enforce more stringent laws? I'd also point out that Mexico has comparatively strict gun control laws... but uh.. well.. we see how well that's working.. (At least as well as those in Chicago and DC!)

Last, I'd say the war on drugs is a failure. We pay billions of dollars quietly to buy drugs and that fuels to combat capabilities of these jerks and then we pay billions of dollars officially to stop them, except we aren't. We're just raising the demand and prices for the drugs we're after and that makes the cartels MORE powerful. I agree with you Yon, something needs to be done, but I don't trust the government to execute in any meaningful way and I'm willing to risk lives here and in Mexico to avoid crap legislation that won't do anything anyway, because in the end I believe bad government will risk far more lives than the current situation.
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# Kevin P. 2009-03-26 14:34
General (ret.) Barry McCaffrey demands that we believe:
1) That a corrupt country like Mexico, in which everything including human life is for sale, would successfully keep guns away from the drug cartels, except for the evil selfish American gun owners next door. Drug cartels would never be able to get sophisticated weaponry from the Mexican military or law enforcement.

2) Mexico severely restricts gun ownership to its law abiding citizens. The skyrocketing murder and crime rate has nothing to do with this strict gun control. Meanwhile, law abiding American citizens in the border states - some of them of Mexican descent - can buy and own weapons for self-defense. Their low crime rate has nothing to do with their easy access to the weapons that are nominally illegal in Mexico.

3) Drug cartels are experienced in the illegal smuggling of drugs, human beings and other contraband across multiple international borders, but cannot get weapons from anywhere except from the United States.

Informational link: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mexico-arms-race15-2009mar15,0,7843719,print.story

Quote:
Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semiautomatic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

3) Mexico cannot prevent the illegal export of tens of millions of living, breathing human beings across the border, but Americans must prevent the illegal export of a few tens of thousands of inert firearms across the same border.

4) The border cannot be made impermeable to thousands of tons of illegal drugs - which by definition are consumed by their end users - but must be made impermeable to a few firearms, which are inert and last forever.

5) Therefore more and more restrictions and bans must be imposed upon law-abiding American citizens in the vain hope that this will somehow improve the law and order in their corrupt neighbor to the south.

What does Gen. McCaffrey think we're smoking?
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# Carlos 2009-03-26 14:43
I was about to express some of the same points below, before I read them. But now that I've read them, I'll just say "ditto". I have also heard that many of the weapons are coming from Guatamala and other places besides the U.S.A.

Don't believe everthing you hear form the mainstream media Michael. Check out what the N.R.A. has to say about this subject. The Mexican govt. will not even release the serial #'s to the U.S. govt. for us to track down the origins. Hmmm.....
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# Dan Ward 2009-03-26 14:46
Mike -- Read the Mexico article and McCaffrey's (and Jenskins piece). I gre up in New Mexico, went to college in Las Cruces, NM (40 miles from El PAso), lived in El Paso, and stayed with a rich family in Mexico City in 1979 (the inlaws of a friend of mine who worked at the DEA El Paso Intell Center (EPIC) and married a Mexican while he was assigned as the DEA liaison to the Mexican Attorney General in the early 70s. Also worked with Joe Arpaio when he was in the DEA). Frequently during my visit, the family lamented the sad state of corruption and having to pay the "mordida" to get even the simplest most basic things done (like getting a telephone or a vehicle registered).

Fast forward 11 years to 1990. As a Major, I volunteered from HQ, Second Army (now First Army) in Georgia to do 6 months TDY to help stand up Joint Task Force (JTF) 6 at Fort Bliss. I was then sent to Sacramento to be the DOD Liaison Officer to the State of CA for military support to law enforcement. I was assigned a desk in the CAL National Guard "Drug Cell". First, the CALGUARD was very jealous of DOD entering the "game" and insisted all military support go through them - even support to Federal Agencies that the CALGUARD was jealously coverting. In early 1990, Duncan Hunter proposed the enhanced 15 mile fence from the Pacific Ocean 15 miles inland. Part of his proposal was to have military (Active, USAR, Guard) to build it and also improve the Border Patrol's road net work along the border. The CALGUARD seemed to keep dragging their feet. When I confronted the CALGUARD Colonel (full timer) that ran Ops in Sacramento, he replied, " There are 4-5 million Hispanic voters in Southern California and we don't want the CALGUARD -- under control of the Governor (then a Republican Dukemejian -- to be perceived as cooperating with "La Migra" (the INS). Luckily for me, Saddam invaded Kuwait and I was recalled by my command.

What toleration of this chaos at the Border is all about is fear -- political fear of a coalition of the cowed mealy mouthed and panderers fomented by tribal promoting politicans and interest groups. What else explains the failure to exercise common sense? If anyone's still confused, Google "Border Patrol Agents Compean and Ramos". For years it has been perfectly clear the Border Patrol/Customs and now ICE needed to be drastically beefed up; and it started. Then "they" got Ramos and Compean. Now "they" are going after Arpaio. The days of "managing" the Border are gone -- time for real Leadership which ensures the common sense and right things are done on both sides of the Border. Good fences with good gates make good neighbors.
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# Herrmann Glockler 2009-03-26 14:53
We have lost the war on drugs, the other side has won. There is too much profit in the trade as it now exists for the good guys to win.
The Solution??
We must take away the profit motive in the drug trade.
To do that, we must legalize the drug trade, then spend the money saved on education of the effects of dependency on drugs.
Show on TV during the time when kids are watching warnings against drug use.
Show on TV the torture of as person going through "Cold Turkey" withdrawal from Heroin, Meth, Cacaine and other drugs.
And for those falling into dependency??
Let them suffer. It will clean up the gene pool of the nation
There can be no false protection of the kids from the risks of experimenting with addictive drugs.
Have the parents get involved for the sake of the future of their kids.
While the sale of drugs is legal, everyone committing a crime in financing their habits gets through Cold Turkey
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# Richard Ganey 2009-03-26 14:57
Dear Readers:

I've known Michael for more than 20 years. During that time, I have been a police officer, a SWAT team leader/instruct or, and a martial arts instructor. I can say with great confidence that Michael knows the difference between weapons intimately. He is also aware of the laws surrounding the purchase and ownership of automatic weapons; as we have had many conversations about them. He realizes that M67 fragmentation grenades are not sold in most neighborhoods.

I've known Michael for a long time and know exactly where he is coming from, but there seems to be some sad misreadings of his dispatch. For instance, a quick re-read will show that he never mentions automatic weapons. Actually, if you knew Michael, you would know that he prefers semi-auto as it Saves on ammo and greatly increases accuracy and impacts on the target. He's a very good shot.

The idea that he drinks Koolaid from the U.S. Government (Republican or Democrat) is actually laughable. Remember why he went to Iraq? He didn't trust the government. He actively campaigned for McCain on my home phone on maybe dozens of radio shows, and was constantly saying Obama did not understand the wars.

I say these things with his permission. I do ask you, as a friend of Michael, to at least read his dispatch carefully before commenting.

Respectfully,

Richard Ganey
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# Mark 2009-03-26 14:59
First of all I don't believe 90% are coming from the US market, some but no where near 90%. We need to close the border! END OF STORY! Since when can another country dictate our rights guaranteed to us in the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION? Mexico can go f it self on this issue itƒ??s their problem caused by their corrupt government, (Ours is not too far behind though), I'm probably being red flagged by the FBI now!

All I can say is this, ban them all you want and try and come and get them from us there will be lots of dead Americans and most won't all be Joe Public. Good luck Mr. Holder and the rest of you DC fools I dare you to do this yourself!
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# Bret Winston 2009-03-26 15:05
" I have no plans to give up my hardware, but we must be honest here and help curb flows that are killing Mexicans and Americans."

Translation: "My thuty-thuty is ok, but your AR/AK must go."

The louder the wailing, the fewer the facts. Serial numbers?
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# innocent bystander 2009-03-26 15:06
You're going to have to show US pictures of the guns with the selector side facing the camera for US to believe that there is ANY possibility that guns are going to Mexico from the U.S.

I bet that the selectors typically have a full auto setting - THUS - NOT coming from the U.S. domestic marketplace.

I respect your service, but fear you are conditioned to believe everything you hear from the political leadership and the mainstream media.
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# Robert Gibbs 2009-03-26 15:08
Thanks for embracing our talking points on the flood of weapons hurtling south and killing people, often without even anyone pulling the trigger. We need all journalists, and you are a 110% A+ journalist in our book, to spread the word about these objects of mayhem just waiting to leap out and mow down orphans. Plus if we have armed citizens, it limits the amount of bailouts and retroactive tax laws we have planned.

You are one of the team, buddy! Let me know if you need that 9 to 5, I can get you in at WaPo.

regards,
Bob
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# Paul 2009-03-26 15:18
"These gangs will be bringing guns and drugs to your city, and they will hope to make your kid a customer. And if your kid causes problems, he'll be shot. Or worse."

A comment like this is typical of a ignorant soccer mom.
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# Burke 2009-03-26 15:28
Afganistan gets arms in mass. Iraq gets arms in mass. African countries get arms in mass. European countries get arms in mass. Central and South American countries get arms in mass. Other Mid-Eastern countries get arms in mass.

But wait! Mexico gets arms in mass so they must be comming from the United States. Let's restrict take guns away from law abiding citizens of the United States to help the problem in Mexico and the US drug users who ultimately are causing the problem (No demand - no supply......... ...)
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# LTC Frost 2009-03-26 15:29
My experience is mostly CentAm and South America, very little in Mexico, so I'm working off paper for the rest of this.

The biggest single drug/guns market (outside governments) in LatAm is the FARC. They make immense profits from cocaine and bring in huge amounts of weaponry from the illegal market. Do they share with the Mex gangs? I have no specific intelligence or information on that, but it is highly likely.

Why? Guess where the biggest supply chain delivery channel for FARC cocaine runs? It sure isn't through piratedcabin cruisers running back into Florida (yes, that happens too ). It's thru Mexico. And so it makes perfect sense that FARC not only helps their supply chain buddies, but politically is also happy to see Mexico destabilized.

If I were on this problem I would start - not with a US connection, which I'll bet beans to bullets is tiny and not significant for the Mexican problem - but with la FARC and their immense gun market.

The one part of the drug/gun problem that is not Mexico's is our drug laws. Sorry, I really believe in liberty - including the liberty to wreck your own body. Pull all government medical support for addicts. Make the stuff legal - all of it, no matter what it is - regulate and tax it.

Why? Because prohibition has always failed, and will always fail. It's not merely a US citizen characterisitic to immediately start using something if the FedGov bans it, its human nature. YOu cannot change human nature with laws.

Murder is not human nature. Few people ever harm another. But pleasure is, and drugs bring some people pleasure.

The street price of coki is around $2400 an ounce, or was when I last looked. Know what it costs to produce an ounce? Abuot $2. Make it legal and FARC collapses overnight. So do the Mex drug gangs. Overnight.

and making the stuff legal would probably save Colombia as well, a country that ought to be rich and instead is mired in a terrible war I've seen up close and personal.

That would not help the culture of corruption throughough LatAm, but it would remove the economic engine fuelling a lot of it. And at least in mexico, PRI has had its cold dead fingers pried off the levers of power, and PAN is actually trying to change things. We have a visitor for two weeks this january, a young activist from PAN, who told me a lot about what's going on down there. I don't believe all of his stories, but I think a lot of change is happening.

Taking down our drug laws makes a lot more sense than taking away my guns. Or limiting them in any way they aren't alreadty limited, which s way too much.
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# FatWhiteMan 2009-03-26 15:32
Richard Ganey,

You better read the document from McCaffrey that Michael is worshiping.

"Mexican law enforcement authorities and soldiers face heavily armed drug gangs with high-
powered military automatic weapons. Perhaps 90% of these weapons are smuggled across the
US border. They are frequently purchased from licensed US gun dealers in Texas, Arizona, and
California. AK-47 assault rifles are literally bought a hundred at a time and illegally brought into
Mexico. Mexican authorities routinely seize BOXES of unopened automatic military weapons.
The confiscation rates by Mexican law enforcement of hand grenades, RPGƒ??s, and AK-47ƒ??s are at
the level of wartime battlefield seizures. "

Rather Micheal knows his way around a gun like you claim doesn't matter. He is furthering the rambling nonsense coming from folks like Clinton and Paul Helmke that are using Mexico as a means to push their freedom-hating agenda on the average U.S. citizen.

Further, if this old general really believes that you can buy RPG's at a WalMart in California, then he has crossed over the line of senility. Time for that kook to just fade away.
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# Matt 2009-03-26 15:43
So drug cartels with cash flows that can be near $200M a week, possessing sophisticated counter-intel and counter-interdi ction capabilities, that have heavily corrupted the police and military units in Mexico and that already participate in an international smuggling system are going to cross the border and buy semi-auto pistols and rifles from Billy Bob's gun shop in El Paso because they have no other options? Really? Who would believe such nonsense? It is preposterous.

I don't recall the Columbian cartels needing to travel to Miami to buy the weapons and explosives they used to terrorize that country with back in the 80's and 90's. They were able to obtain state of the art weaponry without exposing themselves to the notice of US law enforcement by engaging in straw purchases in the US and putting their distribution networks inside the American border at risk by having them traffic firearms back through the same smuggling channels.

If they are able to obtain military grade explosives from places like South Korea then why would they waste time and expense to smuggle weapons across the US border? It would be inefficient and a waste of effort. These cartels are clearly getting their explosives, grenades and other heavy weapons from other sources, they are not coming from the US except via the Mexican military giving them to the cartels after the US provided them to the Mexican government. The border with Guatemala has always been a trafficking superhighway for decades.

I'm not surprised that Gen. McCaffrey continues to push these kinds of failed strategies after having been in laughable the "Drug Czar" position for five years. The Merida Initiative is a clear failure and farce, the Mexican government isn't serious about wanting the assistance of the US. The ATF will talk about US weapons flooding south to garner more funding without any data to back up their assertions that the US is a main source of weapons flowing to the cartels. They have no idea where the weaponry the cartels are using outside the US are coming from no matter what they claim in Congressional testimony.
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# Danimal 2009-03-26 15:51
General McCaffery, whom I respect very much, is 100% wrong in his assesment. Legalizing marijuana is the only option is this battle. Look at how many people in this country smoke marijuana. We are seeing the exact same thing that happened when Alcohol was in Prohibition... massive rise in gangs, and bootlegging. Decriminalizing weed only enhances the problem.

Legalize it, tax it, regulate it. Setting up treatment centers is a stupid idea. It's 100 times easier for high school kids to get weed than it is to get alcohol. If Obama wants to do one thing right, legalize weed.
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# Chris 2009-03-26 16:03
I've been reading your articles for years. I respect your work. But... in reading the comments on this article... maybe you are falling for the propoganda. If you follow Obama's agenda (under the guidance of George Soros) you might see this entire "Mexico" thing to be a ruse to reinstate the ban on so-called "assault" weapons.

You should be investigating the Obama-Soros connection and ask yourself "why" if the drug-war murder rate has gone from 2000 to 4000 in Mexico that it is a crisis all of a sudden since Obama took office. No other journalists (except the NRA) dare confront it. Maybe it's time to take a step back, rethink your post with a fresh "journalist eye", and take another stab at it.
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# Unix-Jedi 2009-03-26 16:09
" there seems to be some sad misreadings of his dispatch. "

Webmaster:
I believe that's the exact opposite of the situation here.

"apparently tons of weapons are flowing into Mexico from the United States. During the Iraq war, weapons were/are coming from Syria and Iran. Many Americans wanted to attack those countries for aiding the weapons flows, or even just turning a blind eye. Now with Afghanistan: weapons flood in from Pakistan. What about our country in regard to Mexico?"

Tons of weapons?

Now, you claim that Yon understands the distinction. And well he might - but he does not make that distinction *in this dispatch*. Instead, he is conflating what is sold and available in the US to full automatic weaponry, fragmentation grenades, rocket-launched grenades. This is *exactly* the tact that has been in use by Obama and his administration.

"Tons" of weaponry? Funny thing, when I see the gun battles reported, and the weapons seized, they're stolen/bought from the Mexican Military, or smuggled over the border, including, it is rumored, to be huge shipments from China, Pakistan, and India. Mr. Yon doesn't make that *distinction*. He conflates the right to keep and bear arms with the "harm" these weapons (that aren't) flowing "over the border" do.

"at least read his dispatch carefully before commenting."

No, Mr. Webmaster, if Mr. Yon wishes to clarify, he's welcome to do so. But we are not misreading what he said, we are not misrepresenting it, and "denials" that are in stark contrast to the reality - including what he said - demonstrate that there is a major cognitive failure here, but not with the reader. You might want to actually read what he said before making claims, however.
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# Jason 2009-03-26 16:11
Thanks Michael for helping us to exercise our "devils advocate" approach and not just believe you and any other correspondents who claim conservative values. I hope this was a good learning experience for you. I love your work and respect your position, but sometimes I think you might be too close to some of your sources and you forgo a fact check or some other channel of check and balance.
Post #43 and #44 were well done.
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# Unix-Jedi 2009-03-26 16:16
" there seems to be some sad misreadings of his dispatch. "

Webmaster:
I that's the exact opposite of the situation here.

"apparently tons of weapons are flowing into Mexico from the United States. During the Iraq war, weapons were/are coming from Syria and Iran. Many Americans wanted to attack those countries for aiding the weapons flows, or even just turning a blind eye. Now with Afghanistan: weapons flood in from Pakistan. What about our country in regard to Mexico?"

*Tons* of weapons?
Now, you claim that Yon understands the distinction. And well he might - but he does not make that distinction *in this dispatch*. Instead, he is conflating what is sold and available in the US to full automatic weaponry, fragmentation grenades, rocket-launched grenades. This is *exactly* the tact that has been in use by Obama and his administration. If Mr. Yon understands the differences, he didn't explain them. Nor did he in any way make distinctions between the current restrictions in the US and what's going on in Mexico.

"Tons" of weaponry? Funny thing, when I see the gun battles reported, and the weapons seized, they're stolen/bought from the Mexican Military, or smuggled over the border, including, it is rumored, to be huge shipments from China, Pakistan, and India. Mr. Yon doesn't make that *distinction*. He conflates the right to keep and bear arms with the "harm" these weapons (that aren't) flowing "over the border" do.

"at least read his dispatch carefully before commenting."
We *did* Mr. Webmaster, if Mr. Yon wishes to clarify, he's welcome to do so. But we are not misreading what he said, we are not misrepresenting it, and "denials" that are in stark contrast to the reality - including what he said - demonstrate that there is a major cognitive failure here, but not with the reader. You might want to actually read what he said before making claims, however. You mentioned the grenades. He didn't. Yet that's the "tons* of weaponry being pointed to to change *United States* law affecting law-abiding citizens.
That's what Yon said. We read it. We understood what he wrote. If he *meant* something *else*, then he failed.

Having been a Yon reader for quite some time, I find it almost impossible to believe that he would fail so much as a writer, to be as far off with his meaning as you insist he was. Even if you are right, and what he meant wasn't what he said, the error lies with his prose, not our comprehension of it.
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# Spade 2009-03-26 16:24
"Mexican authorities routinely seize BOXES of unopened automatic military weapons.
The confiscation rates by Mexican law enforcement of hand grenades, RPGƒ??s, and AK-47ƒ??s are at
the level of wartime battlefield seizures. "

I've always wanted an RPG. Could the General please let us know which gunstore in the southwest we can purchase one at?

Mexico simply doesn't want to admit that a lot of the guns are out there because the Mexican military couldn't secure a mess hall, let alone an arms locker. Or their own borders. They wish to blame us, because then it isn't 'their problem'. And then they don't have to fix it, because they can't. Admitting the gun issue is their failure would be losing face, and they won't do that. Why should they look bad when we can look bad for them?
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# John Butchko 2009-03-26 16:45
First off... it is not the national policy of the US to furnish weapons to the drug cartels.
Second...Mexico restricts the ownership of weapons; whereas, the US does not. If the average Mexican was armed then, just maybe, he could protect himself.
Third...the US police forces are not as corrupt as the Mexican police forces; ergo, the drug trafficing.
Fourth... if Mexico would stop the drug trafficing maybe the guns would not flow south. Yes, we have a problem with our citizens using drugs so maybe we should stop the use of drugs here by doing what Singapore does... executes drug dealers and making addicts cold turkey it in jail.
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# Bilbo Baggins 2009-03-26 16:51
Hey Yon,

You're a moron.
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# Ken Schoentag 2009-03-26 16:51
In your short piece as well as the General's you both state that military type weapons are slipping through from the US to Mexico. The latest information on this subject that has been released and recently published in the daily newspapers states that the vast majority of military grade weapons are not comng in from the US rather they are smuggled in from Central and South America. I am sure some weapons are smuggled in from the US but false information like this can and will harm Americans that hold the second amendment as a right not to be tampered with. We as a nation should do everything with in our power to control our borders and assist Mexico but sadly as long as we have a huge appetite for drugs it will continue. Illegal weapons sales are big business and it will take great effort to stop the supply from reaching the cartels.
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# CTone 2009-03-26 17:01
Gen. McCaffrey in 1996 -
Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the White House drug policy director, traveled to Mexico in March 1996 smoothing the way for an agreement between the two governments which has resulted in Mexican soldiers beginning to train at Ft. Bragg and other American bases, and in the gift of 73 "surplus" helicopters, four C-26 surveillance planes, night vision goggles, radios and other military equipment. In addition, the White House has requested $9 million in military aid for Mexico for fiscal year 1998 (up from $3 million in fiscal year 1996) for the purchase of new weapons from U.S. arms manufacturers. - http://www.fas.org/asmp/profiles/mexico.htm

Gen McCaffrey 2009 -
The outgunned Mexican law enforcement authorities face armed criminal attacks from platoon-sized units employing night vision goggles, electronic intercept collection, encrypted communications, fairly sophisticated information operations, sea-going submersibles, helicopters and modern transport aviation, automatic weapons, RPGƒ??s, Anti-Tank 66 mm rockets, mines and booby traps, heavy machine guns, 50 cal sniper rifles, massive use of military hand grenades, and the most modern models of 40mm grenade machine guns. - http://www.mccaffreyassociates.com/pdfs/Mexico_AAR_-_December_2008.pdf

The United States has pumped money and weapons into Mexico for decades, and now the cartels are using the very same weapons against the Mexican government. That is not our fault. The Obama administration said yesterday that the US response today is to pump money and weapons into Mexico. Now just what do you think is going on here?

Michael, as you can see from the below comments, the Mexican cartels are not getting these weapons from Phoenix gunshows; they already have many of them in country. The AK-47s and RPGs are abundant throughout Latin America, and there's plenty on intelligence indicating that even Hamas and Hezbollah are supplying arms to them.

The problem I am seeing is that the media is just no longer in the business of sending investigative journalists into dangerous places to get to the bottom of it; you have proven that with this blog. Many in the media don't care much about finding the truth because they don't care about gun rights, so this subject has no weight with them.

I would ask that you write a rebuttal, or at least acknowledge that the arguements posted in this forum are compelling. The truth deserves to get out, even if the Mexican government gets a black eye out of it.
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# CJ Anderson 2009-03-26 18:00
Who is dismayed at the recent tone to your posts. Michael, what has happened to you? This is utter tripe, and I really can't add any more than that to what's been said already.
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# Matthew Gillette 2009-03-26 18:01
Mr. Yon,

I just wanted to finally say thank you for all that you have done, are doing, and will do. For countless years now I have followed your dispatches about Afghanistan and Iraq. One of my favorite days was when I was looking over your pictures and saw the photo "Golden Bird," which made reference to my Uncle, Major General John Batiste, who has since retired from the US Army. That one picture helped get my mother, father, and brother into reading your work. I am glad that even while covering two wars you somehow find the time others would use resting to talk about what is going on along the United States' souther border. I go to you first before I even look at what BBC, Fox, CNN, or the NY Times have to say about any other topics you cover.
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# CTone 2009-03-26 18:31
Michael,

I just got your email saying that we gun owners are bombarding you with comments on this dispatch and that we are confused as the words are not yours. Above in your post you say:

"Interesting to note that apparently tons of weapons are flowing into Mexico from the United States."

and

"Drugs are flowing north, weapons are flowing south, and money is flying everywhere"

Are those not your words? What we are trying to say is that the media is providing the public misinformation or outright lies regarding where the weapons are coming from, and that there are political ramifications in all of this; even you admit that.

My earlier comment (64) was pointing out that Gen. McCaffrey, the man of which you speak of, seems to be a little confused as well, and is contributing to the misinformation campaign. Note that Gen McCaffrey says this on his website in which you linked:

"Mexican law enforcement authorities and soldiers face heavily armed drug gangs with high-powered military automatic weapons. Perhaps 90% of these weapons are smuggled across the US border. They are frequently purchased from licensed US gun dealers in Texas, Arizona, and California. AK-47 assault rifles are literally bought a hundred at a time and illegally brought into Mexico. Mexican authorities routinely seize BOXES of unopened automatic military weapons. The confiscation rates by Mexican law enforcement of hand grenades, RPGƒ??s, and AK-47ƒ??s are at the level of wartime battlefield seizures. It is hard to understand the seeming indifference and incompetence of US authorities at state and Federal level to such callous disregard for a national security threat to a neighboring democratic state. We would consider it an act of warfare from a sanctuary state if we were the victim." - http://www.mccaffreyassociates.com/pdfs/Mexico_AAR_-_December_2008.pdf

What I am saying is that this is either a very ignorant quote, or that Gen McCaffrey is blatantly lying. See the problem here? You may not have said that automatic weapons and RPGs are heading South, but you seem to agree with Gen. McCaffrey and thus posted a link to his website.

Does that sound like I'm confused? Do you still agree with Gen McCaffrey that "apparently tons of weapons are flowing into Mexico from the United States?"
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# Jesse 2009-03-26 19:11
Don Winslow told the story of the rise of the Mexican cartels in "The Power of the Dog" and nothing said here contradicts anything he wrote about in his novel.

The weapons are coming from all over. The drugs are flowing north and like another poster said the money is flying all over the place. Too much money for ordinary politicians, beaurocrats and poorly trained and motivated police to resist no matter where they're located. And the brutality is becoming more blatant every day. So what to do?

I don't believe that trying to restrict the flow of weapons south from the US is going to have much effect even if the various local, state and federal government agencies are successful because they (cartels) will find another source. Short of legalizing drugs (not going to happen in this lifetime) or a full scale military presence on the border (a la the soviet union and it's satelites) nothing will be done. Drugs will continue to flow as will the money and what will happen is as I think Michael and the General envision: we will be making clandestine military strikes inside Mexico against cartel targets with or without Mexican Government assistance for the foreseeable future.

It's a bleak future.
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# Bo Seppenfield 2009-03-26 19:12
Count me as one of the "gun-fanatics" who doesn't understand what you're trying to say. Attorney General Holder wants to use the Mexicans drug violence problem as an excuse to ban "assault weapons" and in the context of the Mexican's problems, you equate the US to Pakistan supplying arms to the taliban.....It seems that you're implying that we need another AWB but it's hard to tell, hence all the folks who "misquote a document that is just inches away on the same computer screen". Please clarify. Are you advocating an "assault weapon" ban or not? And if not, just what ARE you advocating.
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# Warren 2009-03-26 19:14
it's about people and what they will do for money or out of desperation. The saying "guns don't kill people, people kill people" is obviously overused but it's overused for a reason. It's an absolute no-brainer!! Guns are no more dangerous than a hammer or a ball point pen. Only in the hands of a killer do they become a weapon of murder. Who would have thought the World Trade Center would come down because of a handful of lunatics with box-cutters? Certainly not me. In the hands of my eight year old son and daughter firearms are tools of recreation and a great way to spend some family time together...yes. ..even my AR-15. The gun discussion is a ridiculous side-show that distracts from the real problem. People. Criminals that are willing to do what it takes to accomplish their criminal ends. If you want to stop it you have to make it too costly for the criminals in question. Why we don't put signs up on the border that say, "You will be shot if you cross here" is beyond me. The obvious reason is because we don't really want to secure the border. Like McCaffrey said, we rely too heavily on Mexico's illegal invasion of the U.S. and providing us their so-called "gift of labor". We don't really want to stop it, just like we don't really want to stop the drug trade.

I've done three combat tours to the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. In the midst of the strife and turmoil you find good people and you find bad people...people that are part of the solution and people that are clearly part of the problem. The ones that are trying to rebuild their cities, take care of their families, and create a stable society are worthy of being helped. Those that continue tearing it down get shot. It has finally worked out relatively well. I don't see any difference with what is happening on our border. If someone is coming over the border illegally with drugs or weapons they get shot. If they don't have drugs or weapons they get told to turn around and walk back or we round them up and send them back. This isn't rocket science. We have to make it too expensive to keep trying. The idea that somehow threatening the 2nd Amendment rights of American citizens will make things better is is ludicrous at best. Nefarious and distracting at worst. I guess the next step is some genious will have the bright idea that we shouldn't be allowed to call them criminals any more. Our 1st Amendment rights will be restricted.

I was in Marine Corps Command and Staff College last year with a Mexican officer. He was my next door neighbor. Great guy with a great family. He hated how corrupt his government was and he hated how corrupt his military was in many places. After seeing how U.S. military personnel operate up close and personal he really wasn't looking forward to going back. He described the chaos of their political system to me. Ludicrous! Rampant corruption, favoritism, etc, etc. No wonder we have all the illegals coming over the border. It's rats leaving a sinking ship. I'm all about helping Mexico because I know there are some good people there but let's not pussy-foot around with it. Let's not play at it. Let's get serious and stop the bad guys at he border with a bullet to the head if they don't stop. If Mexico wants us to come in their country to help then let's clean house. But please, let's not just posture, ring our hands, and somehow blame ourselves for what individuals are doing to their own country and to the border of ours.

Individual responsibility needs to be acknowledged and individual consequences need to be applied.

Most of your stuff is good. Keep up your in-depth reporting.

Semper Fi
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# Bill Befort 2009-03-26 19:27
Pulitzer dittoes (to coin a phrase) for all you do, but it seems to me your critics on the weapons-to-Mexi co issue are sticking pretty close to a valid point: if the types and quantities of arms are as described, it's highly improbable that the legal U.S. gun trade is a critical supply node.
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# bdhale 2009-03-26 19:47
The point has been made, abundantly, that the vast majority of weapons in the hands of the drug cartels come from Central and South America. The weapons are not our doing, but the demand for drugs is. An America that has no ability to defend itself, i.e. gun bans and restrictions based on falsified pretenses, further endangers us. Yet, an America that makes excuses for its rampant drug abuse problem is even more in danger, from within. We need to do two things. The first, is to ensure that the rights to own firearms is not taken away from law abiding citizens. We can do that by pressuring our representatives , who are supposed to 'represent' us. Secondly, we need to deal with 'our' drug problem. It has to be a national level approach, down to the grass roots. We glorify it in the media, we allow it in our public schools by our passive approach to any form of discipline, and many even demand it as a right of self-fulfillmen t. God help us, we certainly need it!
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# Max Bassett 2009-03-26 19:49
Mr Yon you displayed a high level of ignorance on an issue by spouting cliches and misleading propaganda supplied by people searching for a issues to use to ban firearms and then you attack people when they point with proof the ignorance you have shown. You should have just admitted you had been mislead and were mistaken instead of disengenuously dancing around what you said and attacking those that knew better. Shame on you.

If you are as gulible to buy the US guns and Mexico propaganda lie can the reports you provide be trusted on other issues.
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# brityank 2009-03-26 19:57
With respect, Michael, it appears that both you and Gen. McCaffrey are parroting the propaganda of the VPC and other anti-gun (anti-freedom) groups with those statistics. As others have said, Military Assault Weapons are heavily restricted in the US, and tracked from creation to disposal. I believe it likely that some weapons and munitions are crossing from the US to Mexico, but as smuggled goods, not purchased from gun stores around the country.

Please revisit your perceptions.
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# Chuck Peterson 2009-03-26 20:15
Michael,

I received your email today and read you state "Automatic weapons almost certainly are flowing to Mexico, which would explain how they got there. "

I've heard this frequently on the evening news, how firearms, and even automatic weapons, are being bought in the US and are being used by the cartels in Mexico. I won't disagree or deny that lack of instant checks at gunshows by non-dealers/pri vate party sales and straw purchases at dealers aren't being used to supply guns, but the fact I keep hearing that automatic weapons are being bought here and sent to Mexico is a complete lie, and to be honest it's a blatent spin on the part of the media to attract more attention to this and demonize the gun industry in the US.

While you CAN purchase automatic firearms in the United States, it is heavily regulated by the BATF. In addition, any automatic firearm purchased by a civilian must have been in that condition, i.e. able to fire fully automatic, before May 19th, 1986. That being said, it's understandable that with such a limited quantity, the price of these firearms are very high, and outside of the price range of most individuals. So, for someone in the US to obtain one, they have to file with the BATF, go through some level of checks, and pay a $200 tax stamp. Not the type of thing these cartels are going to bother with. Also not the type of thing you go to your local gun show or dealer and buy without any hassle.

Now, look at the fact that South of Mexico there have been unstable governments/rev olutions for decades, and of course a bunch of real assault weapons there, and the fact that it would probably be pretty easy to smuggle them in. Or consider the fact that Mexico's government and police have been involved in corruption and the drug trade for years and undoubtedly given access to automatic weapons to these cartels. Just like we all wish the news would have gotten the facts straight on the improving conditions in Iraq, do we really expect the news to report this correctly?

Thanks
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# Rick 2009-03-26 20:18
Can any of you people read??? It's fundamental!
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# Sarmajor 2009-03-26 20:19
Sorry all - this post originally went on the wrong page. I hate secure servers...

Bo et al:
The facts are that a lot of the guns being recovered in Mexico are coming directly from the US. Some are coming from other countries that got them from the US. They are American made guns. Our own law enforcement efforts along the border now include stopping southbound traffic to check for guns before they get across the border to Mexico.

The comparison to Pakistan is valid in that anyone who has been there will vouch for the fact that the better guns and other implements of destruction are coming across the border from Pakistan. The big difference here is that our Secretary of State is admitting our culpability in the Mexican mess and that Pakistan waffles on their level of responsibility in the Afghanistan mess.

Don't shoot the messenger here and (not you Bo) some of you need to remember that GEN Barry McCaffrey's article was not written by Michael Yon. If there is something there that you don't like, go to the General not Mike.

Sarmajor
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# Retardo 2009-03-26 20:21
McCaffrey refers to "the huge US flow of automatic weapons and laundered drug money back south. (26,000 weapons seized last year.)"

There is a very limited supply of automatic weapons which civilians may legally own in the US, because we are forbidden by federal law to own automatic weapons made after 1986. The legal guns are ludicrously expensive due to fixed supply and ever-growing demand. McCaffrey may not know that, and you may not know that, but if you are discussing the topic, you SHOULD know it. You should pay attention to detail. Can't be bothered? OK, that's fine, but don't call yourself a journalist.

People think you're on an anti-Second Amendment trip here because you are posting a link to an article which appears to conflate US civilian-legal semi-automatic "assault weapons" with fully-automatic military assault rifles, and that kind of misleading rhetoric has been a mainstay of the more extreme gun-control advocates in the US for decades; see this rather old piece from the pro-gun-control Violence Policy Center: http://www.vpc.org/studies/awaconc.htm

OK? If you start quacking, people will call you a duck. Your protestations of having spent your life around guns are SOP for a certain kind of gun-control advocate.

I like and admire the fact that you keep open comments here, and I hope you'll continue to do so. But you have to read them and pay attention, sometimes. Your career is based in large part on listening instead of talking, and calling out people who get defensive when they're wrong (and maybe even start calling critics "fanatics"). Well, people are talking to you here, and they are telling you that you got something wrong, and they're right. They are your readers, virtually all of whom like and respect you. They should be more polite in many cases, but that's life on the internet.
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# Max Bassett 2009-03-26 20:23
And another thing the silly attack on "gun-fanatics" smells of the elitism used in the MSM to attack Yon dispatches of the past. Apparently you are starting to believe you are infallible and above criticism and fact checking.
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# Eric Hosfelt 2009-03-26 20:26
Come on wake up! When Mexico can provide serial numbers from seized weapons then i will be supportve of the Justice Department going after rogue dealers or sellers. That hasn't happened because there is no substance to back the claims of Mexican Officials or Gun Grabbing Democrats.

Attempting to strip American Citizens of their God given rights, as guarenteed by the Bill of Rights, is just plain wrong!!!!

Wake up and do something besides chant the anti gun mantra!!!
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# gus 2009-03-26 20:28
without a person, guns are inert...! i am serious as a heart attack when i say that the day is fast approching when law abiding citizens of the US will be forced by the government/mili tary/police to surrender their firearms - no more constitution, no more freedom? am i being paronoid??? really, someone please tell me that this could never, ever happen!!!

why do folks choose to medicate themselves anyway - legally or illegally???
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# Last Patriot Standing 2009-03-26 20:35
Dear McCaffrey,
GET THE FACTS RIGHT.

BATF has already stated that Mexican Government will NOT release the serial numbers of any weapons confiscared to US Authorities, hence restricting the ability to trace the origin of the firearms in question.

I will take it you are educated at least a little. enough to read the law and understand that NO NEW AUTOMATIC weapons have not been manufactured for domestic civilian sales since the 80s. You can not go into a US gun shop and buy a NEW AUTOMATIC WEAPON. That means the automatic weapons are not coming from the US civilian market.

REAL FACTS. US Manufacturers make full auto guns and sell them to the MEXICAN government. THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT is corrupt and then its forces sell their own weapons to the cartel for food, money, safe passage, etc. and then the weapons are used agains them.

As an educated man then accept the fact that we should cut off ALL TRADE with MEXICO and build the GREAT MEXICAN wall to stop the bullets from corrupt mexican gun purchases flying into the US.

Pathetic. I hope the communist regime in Washington comes and takes your guns first. you deserve it.
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# Josh Mead 2009-03-26 20:39
Mr. Yon,
I am deeply saddened, in the past I have always trusted what you write and your opinions. Now I find that either you are too lazy to research and write the truth or you are blatantly lying.

If you write a public apology it will restore some of my trust. If you don't know that you will lose the support and appreciation of all truth and freedom loving Americans.

As for Gen. McCaffrey, it's clear he has an agenda and will stop at no lie to attain it, your associating yourself with him is unwise at best.

Regretfully,
Josh Mead
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# GreenWolf70 2009-03-26 20:40
He lost all credibility with me back when he was leading the Dems on point in saying the war in Iraq could not be won. Since then he has been putting the Dem slanted spin on Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Mexico. As far as I'm concerned he is just another no-integrity Democrat looking for work in this administration. I have a hard time believing that he actually believes any of the drivel that he is putting out through his sham position at West Point. He is just a one time hero who traded in his integrity for political ambition.

My question now is why is he spreading the lie that automatic weapons are coming from the USA? What's in it for him and why is he supporting Holder's attempt to get another assault weapons ban in place? I know you think highly of him, Yon, but I've worked around, or for him, or have had friends working for him continuously for the last 30 years and while he talks a good game, he really is in it only for himself.

Just my two cents worth.
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# Lisa 2009-03-26 20:42
So you don't think it's more likely that automatic weapons from Central America are flowing north rather than semi-autos from the USA?

Has it ever occured to you that Mexican authorities may have been bribed for their US donated arms?
Do you watch Lou Dobbs on CNN at all? Are you aware Mexico has yet provided any serial numbers from captured weapons? Are you aware that the single case against a gun store for aiding straw traffic buyers smuggling into Mexico was dismissed? Have you read the Los Angeles Times or Chicago Tribune?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-drug-weaponry-mar13,0,4003873.story?track=rss
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# gus 2009-03-26 20:43
i am not a gun fanatic. i am just a regular joe who believes that there is a very good reason why we have a constitution.

i, like many of the folks who commented hear, did bristle a bit by your preface to mccaffrey's comments. they kind of reminded me of my doc telling me that "it want hurt very much". it always hurts!
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# submandave 2009-03-26 20:44
is still heard.

"We owe the Mexican people better protection of their security forces by effectively interdicting the huge US flow of automatic weapons and laundered drug money back south. (26,000 weapons seized last year.) " - General (ret.) Barry McCaffrey

One cannot argue that you claimed automatic weapons are being transported from US to Mexico, but that is precisely made by the article to which you link and, presumably by the tone of your post, seem to agree with. I agree that if automatic weapons are being seized in Mexico then, unless they are manufactured there, they have been imported from somewhere. I would be interested, however, to see the source material used by the General to conclude that their source (or trans-shipment point) is in the US. Even if I concede that at least 26,000 automatic weapons were transported from the US to Mexico last year, I still fail to see how such an obviously illegal activity that violates several existing statues would lead one to conclude that additional legal restraints on firearm ownership and/or purchase woul din any way affect this.

There are many, however, who with more heart then brains and more emotion than reason would precisely come tho this conclusion. I can't say that you are one, and I honestly don't believe you are. On the other hand, though, you really don't say anything about what course of action may be useful in the face of this problem. Your work has, in the past, been used by those with whom you disagree, and it has been my observation that your not clearly stating your position or being coy, perhaps out of a journalistic sense of unbiased reporting, is an enabling factor in this misrepresentati on.

It is an inescapable fact that the vast majority of people banging the drum about illegal weapons flowing to Mexico and drug cartel violence spilling across the border are unappologetical ly doing so to generate support for additional gun control legislation. Your failure to address the popular proposed solution (gun control) when discussing the problem of drugs and violence leaves the reader wondering.
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# C.G 2009-03-26 21:12
Show me the money! I am not so ignorant to believe that guns do not make their way to Mexico, but the number of guns getting there cannot add up to all the hype that we are hearing about it. Where's the proof here. If there is proof, instead of attacking/punis hing all citizens, find those who are responsible for exporting the guns and stop them.

My beliefs may be far off from some of your readers, but I do feel that most of the time I would rather here stories from you than whats on TV and on main stream meida outlets.

BUT. Whats with this alarmist attitude on drug wars? I'd like to see the exact numbers on the quantity and type of drugs being smuggled into the country. I would be surprised if marijuana isnt leading the charts - Which is completely ridiculous. How much money are we spending on a war... against marijuana! MARIJUANA! Seriously? First off, people would not have to deal with shady drug dealers on dark streets if you could buy it at the gas station on the way home, like beer or cigarettes.

Secondly, people that do use it end up paying horrible consequences for outdated laws based on fear mongering.

-Future workers / taxpayers can not get finanicial aid for college if they have a marijuana conviction
-We have people in jail/prison living on tax dollars because they had less than an ounce of marijuana on them
-People lose their JOBS because they smoke a joint over the weekend

What would be better for the economy? A pointless drug war against a drug, no worse or better than alcohol, that CAN NOT be won. Or legalizing a drug that will not only put a HUGE dent in this "Mexican Drug War" but also allow grown adults to buy and/or grow marijuana in a controlled and safe environment. Here's another thought, why is something illegal that the last 3 Presidents of the United States have all admitted to using at one point in their life.

I do enjoy your work. But I ain't buying what you are selling me here.
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# DrStrangegun 2009-03-26 21:20
1 - Guns are truly automatic, corporate produced, sold directly to gangs
Answer: already illegal

2 - true automatics, corporate produced, stolen and diverted
answer - already illegal

3- true autos, "garage" produced, shipped south under contract
answer - already illegal

4- semiautomatics in scenario 1
answer - without state department export documentation, already illegal

5- semiautomatics stolen from citizens
answer - already illegal

6- semiautomatics purchased at FFL by a shill and sold hand-to-hand to cartel
answer - already illegal twice, once at purchase and once at export

7- semiautomatics purchased face to face by shill and exported
answer - already illegal to export, possibly ilelgal via fraud to misrepresent as prohibited person

If we are the source of this, it's by massive criminal diversion of weaponry smuggled *into* this country from another already. Firearms produced in the US are tracked form the day they cool from production. Another set of laws isn't going to do a damned thing.

Can you seriously tell me that you read McCaffrey's article and then sat back and thought about it yourself, knowing that full auto weaponry, suppressors, and explosive devices all fall under the 1934 NFA and require a $200 tax and a background check by the ATF that takes a couple months, and are therafter personally responsible to be able to produce said weapon at any time the ATF so chooses, and make the conclusion that the military grade weaponry that the Mexican cartels are using is coming from the United States?

If you can, you've lost a reader, because you've lost something else.
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# Wiley Brooks 2009-03-26 22:16
For Gen. McCaffrey. In the last paragraph he states: "That starts with parents, pediatricians, coaches, teachers, and all those who care about young people." In the future, I encourage him to use "churches" as one of the specifics. Thanks
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# william tashkent 2009-03-26 22:34
please mark me "unsubscribed" - I can no longer tolerate your drivel.
I wish I could get my 'direct contribution' paypal dollars back.

goodbye and good luck with your life, Tiger.
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# 2nd Amenedment Realist 2009-03-26 23:17
Okay, we're all paranoid and for good reason. We know our own administration would like nothing better than to have a new "assault weapons ban" or any other kind of weapons ban they can think of. However, us all denying guns come from the US to Mexico just hurts our (by that I mean all of us dedicated to the 2nd Amendment) credibility. Calling out Michael Yon is way off base. We can't demonize anyone who evens mentions that some people might be using guns for evil purposes. Yon is not the enemey!

I know for a fact that large amounts of guns cross the border going south everyday and so do the rest of the people on this site. However, we all see reports of cartels using mortars, machine guns, full auto AK's and M16s, RPG and you name it. Basically anything money can buy, they have. I'm a little hard pressed to believe those all came over from Texas. Surely they have sources in the middle east and Central and S. America which provide weapons as well. IF they can get Heroin form Afghanistan, why not weapons as well. I guarantee you they're cheaper there than in the US. The point everyone if tying to make is that there are beaucoup laws already and enacting a confiscatory one isn't going to solve the problem.
However, if Mexico is really serious about stopping the smuggling, why don't they build a wall? I'm sure the US would be willing to pitch in!

Bottom line, until Mexico is serious about policing what comes in and goes out, we can't solve their problem.
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# TexasGranny47 2009-03-26 23:39
Dear Mr. Yon:
I believe that these drug gangs may be getting some handguns from the black market & friends in the US, I believe that the heavy fire power is coming from Central America. I also feel that Gen. McCaffery like all liberals in this country may not be telling the complete truth and my taking is word on this issue would be like telling you I would believe Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy or John Murtha and I can assure you that I do not believe what these people say. Thank you for the article.
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# AP1776 2009-03-27 00:09
"Interesting to note that apparently tons of weapons are flowing into Mexico from the United States."

Read your statment at AR15.com. Since you provide no proof for this statement and have jumped on the bandwagon with the Mexican government I really have to question anything you state in the future.

When I see proof then I will belive it. I can not take your word, the governments or the Mexican governments word for it.

You are really getting hammered over at AR15.com. Don't be another Zumbo.
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# Dennis Henry 2009-03-27 00:21
"This isn't AfPak, it's AmMex. Drugs are flowing north, weapons are flowing south, and money is flying everywhere. AmMex is not about al Qaeda and the Taliban, but equally ruthless criminal gangs -- with far more money than al Qaeda could ever dream of."

There is a long and storied history to overcome in dealing with Mexican-USA relations. With the shrinking of the need for rural labor, and the ever increasing migration of youth to large urban areas, the pressure for jobs and education has been steadily growing greater for the past thirty years. That the unskilled migrant laborer, once a guest worker in the US, has been able to make a better living illegally here than many educated persons can make in Mexico, is a telling part of the problem. But the answer to stopping illegal migration lies not in fences and a total lock down of the border, despite the appeal of such an out come it is unreasonable, and not likely to work in the long and certainly in the short term.

Supporting the government of Mexico, means a lot of things, one thing it should continue to mean is the ability of Migrant families to move back and forth across the border relatively unmolested by drug gangs and traffickers in human bondage and sex trades. But our current visa policies and inability to police the visa holders results in one of the most shameful and frustrating pieces of US policy since the potato famine.

How many tried and true citizens of the US can trace their ancestry only so far, before being forced to deal with the realization that their grand fathers and grandmothers came to this country illegally. But while the federal government was unable to control the influx of undocumented immigrants through Nova Scotia or Florida in the past, we have the technology today. We only lack the political will.

We know how to operate a "War on Drugs" ala the Colombian experience, we know how to teach Mexico to win such a war. What frustrates me about the fine group of experts with whom the General aligns himself is the unverified charge unreasonable numbers of automatic weapons, and other chemical precursors are flowing south along with cash and other goods. Standing by such an unreasonable claim, with out supporting evidence or at the very least a credible source for making the claim is sloppy, reckless and damaging to the case the General I suppose wishes to make about the border and our reliance on Mexico as a partner in trade and an ally in the world. The fate of Mexico, indeed the fate of the SW is too important to not challenge such claims. The provision of evidence or the acknowledgment of the lack of support for the claims will go along way in restoring your good name General and demonstrating a level of honest academic pursuit not often in evidence in this age of sham science and financial fraud.

Pardon me if I chose to be a denizen of Missouri, General, show me.

Michael, I thank you for providing the kind of forum that allows such vigorous and necessary debate to proceed. I also thank you for providing such clear narrative and unvarnished images of the battle spaces both at home and abroad. I do not always agree with your conclusions, but I know that in your reports I am getting an honest and factual assessment of what ever you describe.
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# Unix-Jedi 2009-03-27 01:08
Your webmaster posts a message decrying the "misreading", but failing to in any way clarify things, instead muddying the waters, asserting you know the difference between full and semi-auto, giving us the irrelevant detail that you prefer semi-auto, and insisting that your words are being misread.
That note is now removed. Why? The fact that he referenced *grenades*, which are not and have not ever been sold in American gunshops was very interesting.

You sent out an email decrying the "apparent gun-fanatics misquot[ing] a document that is just inches away on the same computer screen." But you merely *asserted* that we fanatics are wrong, and misquoting you.

Despite the fact that many here directly quoted you. Let's also point out that the "Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence" also *asserts* that they're not out to ban guns. So those *assertations* backed by nothing other than claims that people misunderstand you are something we've seen many times.

You came to prominence, and gained respectability in my eyes, you gained authority to make assessments, based upon your reporting of facts. Facts I couldn't personally see. You presented a side that the major media was ignoring in their lockstep.

And when you say something obviously at odds with facts as I know them, you lose that authority. When you parrot the exact same talking points that the major media is exhorting, with the same level of facts and discourse (none), you're not being misquoted, or misread.

Did you, or did you *not* say: " we must be honest here and help curb flows that are killing Mexicans and Americans."

If you said it, what *did you mean by that*? I'm very honest here, I'm all for "curbing flows". I'll go buy, and keep out of the hands of the Mexican Cartels, any $200 M-16s, or $300 crates of grenades. Just tell me where they are. RPGs? I can get some buyers. Tell us where they are. In America. *Where you said they're coming from.*

Did you, or did you not say: "The idea that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" should be saved for someone who will buy it. " ?

What did you mean, if we're wrong and you're *not* advocating passing more laws against law-abiding Americans? What did you mean if *those words you wrote* aren't pressing the canard that the illegal gangs, who make a living smuggling hundreds of tons of illegal substances around the *world* are going to America, buying legal weaponry and ammunition in *gunstores*, and then shipping it south?
How can what you said be in any way, shape or form, *misrepresented * when you say that the idea that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" must be discarded, leaving us with the "guns kill people" meme? (What about grenades and RPGs? How do they fit into that?)

Have you met Jim Zumbo? Perhaps you should drop him a line. I think he had cause to regret his "terrorist rifle" slur from early 2007. He said that off the cuff, and immidiately insisted that we had "misread" him, and what he said. He went on the attack, and refused to apologise. (Initially.)
You might want to ask him how well that worked for him.

In the meantime, the damage to your reputation is completely of your own making, using your own words, and there is no one else to attach blame to. If you meant to say something else, then you'll need to correct it - but your initial reaction to follow Zumbo by attacking people *quoting you directly* and then insisting that we're somehow nutcases who can't read is likely to fail exactly as his attempt did. In the meantime, how about re-posting the "Note from Webmaster", since that's now part of the record and the discussion?
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# Randy 2009-03-27 02:27
Michael,

As a law enforcement officer of 26 years who has spent over half of that time specifically investigating gang and drug crimes I must say you and Gen. McCaffrey missed the point on the guns issue. Yes, Americans are responsible for the drugs as far as being a consumer nation who is not willing to take the steps necessary to reduce drug usage in our country. The only responsibility we have to the automatic weapons however is that they were made in America.
As a gun owner Iƒ??m sure you know that the ownership of fully automatic weapons is heavily regulated in America with the requirement that all owners/dealers of automatic weapons purchase an expensive license, pass an extensive background check and be subject to surprise inspections by ATF agents. Also any weapons found in Mexico that are suspected of coming from American dealers can be traced to the dealer who sold them. That dealer can then be investigated. That being said, almost all of the guns being used by the drug cartels did not come from private dealers in the United States. They came from the United States government.
Many years ago, we began to supply the Mexican government with weapons and equipment to combat the drug cartels. Our government provided specialized training for some segments of the Mexican Army, including combat training by U.S. Special Forces (Iƒ??m unsure if the training cadre were active duty or retired), to specifically target the cartels. Unfortunately, after completing this training, a large majority of these specially trained soldiers were bribed by the cartels. They defected to the cartels taking much of their U. S. government supplied equipment, including the fully automatic weapons, with them. Needless to say this was an embarrassment to the Mexican government and they do not like to talk about it much.(Google ƒ??zetasƒ? for more information)
Many other U.S. government supplied automatic weapons also came into the hands of the cartels when the Mexican soldiers or law enforcement officers were killed, threatened with harm to them and/or their family, bribed or had them stolen.
As you see biggest supplier is the U.S. government via the Mexican government. Seriously, when cartel members can walk up to a poorly paid Mexican soldier or police officer and obtain it through bribe or violence, do you really think they are going to try to come into the United States and take the risk of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars and possible arrest to obtain weapons? Unfortunately, our soldiers will face the same threat when they are placed on the border with their U.S. issue fully automatic weapons.
Please donƒ??t get caught up in all the hype and conduct an investigation on your own as you did in Iraq and Afghanistan so you can get to the truth of the matter.
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# Jim 2009-03-27 02:29
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if the Mexicans say the guns are from hte U.S., they probably are. It also does not take a genius to figure out that the Mexicans are not going to provide identification information for hte guns becasue that would enable U.S. officials to figure out which Mexican agencies the U.S. authorized them to be sold to, hence, which Mexican agencies are importing guns for the drug cartels.

I doubt that tons of automatic arms, grenades and rocket launchers are being smuggled across the border. These weapons are being legally produced and shipped to Mexico; to Mexican agencies. Once in Mexico all it takes to move them from government hands to pricate hands is money.

In reading GeneralMcCaffre y's background in his March 23 posting, what impresses me is how successful he has been as Joint Commander, Drug Policy Director and, of course, how effective his advise is to the Mexican Federal Police.

It is obvious that the solution to the well armed Mexican drug cartels is to disarm U.S. citizens. That will stop us from providing weapons that many of us have never owned, not, in many cases, even touched, to the drug lords. It has been said that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have them. What is left unsaid is that the outlaws will most assuredly use their guns against hte disarmed citizenry.

Incidentally, why is there no mention of Mexican citizens rights to bear arms? The last time I was in Mexico there was no right to bear arms for Mexican citizens. Maybe that's one reason hte drug cartels have such an easy time intimidating folks south of the border, and with the advice of hte Good General and people duped into his advice, as Yon appears to have been, this show may soon come to a theater near you.

It is easy to see why armed American citizens are feared. In war one of the most dreaded weapons is the sniper. Soldiers with auto weapons expend thousands of rounds, per kill. Snipers average close to one shot, one kill. American sportsmen are a nation of snipers.
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# Koblog 2009-03-27 03:56
Time Mag http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1839576,00.html:

"The sickening footage was posted on YouTube after 12 headless bodies were dumped onto two ranches in Mexico's southeastern Yucatan peninsula last week.....Decapi tations have become as commonplace in the increasingly vicious narco turf battles as stabbings are in London. During August alone, gangsters hacked off 30 craniums across the country ƒ?? adding to the total of almost 200 beheadings in 2008 so far. Heads have been stuck on crosses, shoved into iceboxes and left in car trunks along with snakes."

I suppose General McCaffrey also holds the US responsible for the terrible influx of knives that removed the heads from the more than 200 decapitated Mexicans last year.

Remember, people don't decapitate people. Knives do.

McCaffrey is not to be trusted.

This whole article and Michael Yon's call to support McCaffrey is very disappointing.
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# CK 2009-03-27 05:06
http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZjY0ZTJhYTdiYjg4Y2E2Yjk5M2E5ZDdhZjE3MzlhYTc=

While Jim Geraghty does not have the same level of expertise on Mexico that General McCaffrey has, note his points - and the link he has to the article from the LA Times.

There would be a lot more support for what you want to do, Mr. Yon, if a lot of people did not have to believe that the people in the current administration would use this opportunity to curtail gun rights in the US.
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# Thomas H. Agee former field artillery officer 2009-03-27 05:24
I come to your site for first hand insight into what is happening in the (now banned) GWOT. Imagine my surprise when you have been found out repeating false "guns/weapons coming from the U.S." canards being spewed out by the lamestream media, fed by the anti-gun crowds. I never figured you for a tool of Hillary or those with an agenda.
Mexico has a plethora of problems. Corruption is the largest. The "He who owns the Gold makes the rules & can afford protection" being the second. Money being the common key. All their other problems stemming from these two.
Do you think that if they had a second amendment & were not limited to .22's that the populace would be so impotent against the gangsters in their midst ?
I'm a lifelong resident of the San Antonio,TX area & used to visit Laredo/Nuevo Laredo. Not anymore.
If you want to join the "Blame America First" types I'm thinking Mr. Instapundit may have second thoughts about blogrolling you.
Gen. McCaffrey may have served his country honorably, & we all wish Mexico well, but pointing at the U.S. for blame when we all know the blame lies in Mexico's lack of freedoms & not being a nation of laws but for those that can BUY it (not afford it), is the real reason.
To be sure, a lot of firearms do find there way into Mexico. The vast majority of the "automatic" firearms come from former Mexican soldiers, & other Central or South American countries, as well as the grenades, rocket launchers & other practically impossible to get in the U.S. illegal weapons.
As a former "Ammo Officer" I had to account for every firearm in my arms room every time it was opened. As the Battalion Ammo Officer I had to account for every artillery shell that was fired by turning in it's "Nose Ring", and for small arms turn in a percentage of fired vs. unfired/returne d ammo by weight of the brass cartridges. Don't tell me automatic weapons are disappearing from the U.S. And it takes a class III license to buy fully automatic weapons in the U.S. And BATF can ask for an accounting at ANY TIME. So enough with the B.S. about "illegal"
automatic weapons "flowing" into Mexico from the U.S. Even the L.A. Slimes had a story debunking that canard. Do yourself a favor. Research what you print before repeating anything that attempts to blame the U.S. for the world's ills. IT AINT PLAYING.
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# Ryan N. 2009-03-27 05:28
McCaffrey states, "Mexican law enforcement authorities and soldiers face heavily armed drug gangs with high-powered military automatic weapons. Perhaps 90% of these weapons are smuggled across the US border. They are frequently purchased from licensed US gun dealers in Texas, Arizona, and California. AK-47 assault rifles are literally bought a hundred at a time and illegally brought into Mexico. Mexican authorities routinely seize BOXES of unopened automatic military weapons. that Mexican drug cartels are getting AK-47s, RPGs, and grenades from America." This is pure bullsh*t. These items cannot be purchased here without reams of paperwork, government background checks, fingerprinting, photographs, etc. And if you could even find an NFA dealer with AK-47s for sale they would run you several thousand USD per copy. Where the hell are gun stores in America selling RPGs and grenades? The answer is nowhere. While some SEMI-AUTO AKs are certainly coming from America, McCaffrey implies that the cartels are buying full-auto military AK-47s, RPGs, and grenades from American firearms dealers which is a pure fallacy. The automatic weapons, grenades, RPGs, and anti-tank rockets referred to in McCaffrey's report are most likely being funneled into Mexico through its own porous southern border from countries in South America where these can easily be purchased on the black market. There is a big difference between American semi-auto AK's and true full-auto military AK-47s from Russia, China, etc. Also, by definition an "assault rifle" is a weapon chambered for an intermediate caliber cartridge with full-auto capability! McCaffrey is another Clinton-era flunky who is being used as a "useful idiot" by anti-gun politicians within the Obama administration such as Rahm Emanuel, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and Obama himself. What is truly shameful is that liberal politicians in America are using this terrible scourge of violence in Mexico as a reason to deprive law-abiding Americans of their constitutional rights.
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# Joe Keffer 2009-03-27 12:17
Michael,
I am disappointed in your pointed and terse dismissal of those who commented on the Mexico gun issue as "gun fanatics".
I have long felt that you were an extremely thoughtful and fair-minded individual. I still believe that,however, if you scrutinize the carefully worded and orchestrated statements by "administration " people regarding this issue, you can't help but believe that there is an agenda.
Freedom is worth being passionate about. I didn't read all of the comments but the few that I did read were not fanatical. Let's keep it together and not fight those that are on the same side.
I know that you will be objective when you have all the information.
Thanks for the good work that you do. God Speed.
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# G.Garcia 2009-03-27 15:16
Mr Yon,
I haven't read all the comments, but I'm sure most of what I say has been already said one way or another. I have read many of your articles in the past, and always felt they were solid pieces of journalism. I must, however, take issue with this particular article.

The first item I have a problem with is your believe that inanimate objects are apparently causing the problems. Yes, the IEDs may be killing our troops, but they did not build themselves. It took the willful actions of some sick-minded people to build, transport, set, and detonate those IEDs.

If I may point out, the US has the biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. Excluding the one time when we made the concious decision to use them, has any of our nuclear weapons ever spontaneously attack anyone? No, and that's because we're not the type of people who would use them on a whim.

Second, are we being asked to believe that cartels who specialize in smuggling drugs cannot get any type of weapon they wanted into Mexico?

Third, as has been mentioned by multiple commenters, where in the US are they buying these FULL-AUTO AKs and RPGs? I've been to many gun shows, and have yet to see a single full-auto AK (from what I understand, they're pretty rare), never mind an RPG or a live grenade. While there are legal full-auto (Class III) guns available for purchase in the US, they are relatively few (I believe the number is around 200K, but I'm not too sure) and the prices are pretty high (around 15K for a Class III M16 vs $1000 for a semi-auto AR-15). There's also the tons of paperwork, permits, and background checks involved in purchasing one.

Mr Yon, I believe anyone looking to answer the question of where the Mexican cartels are getting their hardware, should look at, perhaps, the Mexican police and armed forces. However, I will give them this: If they're interested in stopping this imaginary influx of AKs and RPGs from the US, how about a joint US/Mexico effort in securing the border, BOTH WAYS. We can stop any "machine guns" and "rocket launchers" going into Mexico, and any drug smugglers and illegal immigrants coming into the US.

Mr Yon, I have been a great admirer of the work you've done on the war on terror, but I must say I was deeply disappointed with this article. I hope to cause no offense by this, but I do suggest you inform yourself better on this subject.

God bless
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# Tom Hayden 2009-03-27 16:04
First, I'd like to know what the support is for this "tons of weapons flowing into Mexico from the US". How do we know that? I do know that if you cross the point of entry into Mexico at Nogales at they find a .22 round in the trunk of your car, you are either going to jail, paying a fine, or both.

Second, how come we're always the bad guy? Mexico has been having deep trouble with it's criminal element for years. Remember the resort attacks? That was almost ten years ago. Now they feel strong enough to punch it out with the Federales.

Third, is this not another case for the need for border security? How are "tons" of weapons getting down into Mexico unless the borders are totally unsecured.

I don't see this as a gun control issue. It's a national security issue and a foreign relations issue. We need to support the Mexican government in its fight against these thugs. Otherwise, we're going to end up with Afghanistan 90 miles from where I live.
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# Tom Cox 2009-03-27 17:02
You have expressed surprise at the strong reaction to McCaffrey's claim that guns were being smuggled into Mexico from the US. Maybe you are not aware of the strong anti-gun movement in the US, which seizes every opportunity to present any news that might support disarming US citizens. Perhaps, although you are a journalist with strong credentials on Iraq and Afghanistan, you have not gone to the trouble to investigate this claim.

First, where does the cocaine that comes in through Mexico come from? Coca plants only grow in a high-altitude, tropical mountain environment, and the vast majority of those environments are found in Andean South America, not Mexico. Thus, the coke comes into Mexico from the south, and by the ton. What keeps the same smugglers hauling coke into Mexico from South America from Also hauling fully automatic weapons, land mines, RPGs, and shoulder-fired rockets? None of these weapons is available to the general public in a US gun shop. Automatic weapons are sold under very close federal supervision to a carefully-scree ned group of private citizens, and I am not aware of ANY legally-owned, fully-automatic weapon being used in a crime in the US.

Along with the millions of illegal aliens, thousands of "OTMs" ("other than Mexicans), thousands of tons of pot, coke, meth and other illegal commodities smuggled in FROM Mexico TO the US, how hard is it to imagine military-grade weapons like the above being smuggled in the same loads, over the same routes, by the same criminals? Look into these possibilities, and you should not be at all surprised to see that many Americans are alarmed by anyone spreading the myth that we can control Mexico's civil war by banning guns from American citizens. Including otherwise-respo nsible journalists.

Do your homework.

Tom Cox
Charlotte, TN
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# Glenn Hunter 2009-03-27 17:14
I have been on your email list for some time and have ready many of your dispatches with interest. However, your recent articles, first about "torture" and now about how Mexican drug gang violence is America's fault have really turned me off to reading future articles. How can you be so foolish to be buying this nonsense about Mexico? It's just a ploy by the administration to play on the public's sympathies so they'll fall in line as harsher gun regulations are passed. I am unsubscribing today because I don't want any more Obama propaganda in my inbox.
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# Rich C 2009-03-27 17:14
IMO, this weapons smuggling hype will be used by our leftwing Congress to enact their latest Assault Weapons Ban. It will be staged as a national security plan to safeguard our citizens and Mexicans from gun violence.

Meanwhile, if it is accurate [which I doubt] concerning the amount of illegal weapons pouring across the border into Mexico I'd guess they are being stolen and sold by US gangs from US Armories . NOT FROM LEGAL GUN DEALERS.
There are quite a number of gang members within our military who enlisted for that purpose.

I'd also wager the Russian Mafia is involved in many facets, especially with RPG's and AK's being smuggled.

Mr. Yon, respectfully I ask you do not become a pawn in the latest gun ban scheme. by using your knee jerk reaction to this serious problem.
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# Rich C 2009-03-27 17:17
IMO, this weapons smuggling hype will be used by our leftwing Congress to enact their latest Assault Weapons Ban. It will be staged as a national security plan to safeguard our citizens and Mexicans from gun violence.

Meanwhile, if it is accurate [which I doubt] concerning the amount of illegal weapons pouring across the border into Mexico I'd guess they are being stolen and sold by US gangs from US Armories . NOT FROM LEGAL GUN DEALERS.
There are quite a number of gang members within our military who enlisted for that purpose.

I'd also wager the Russian Mafia is involved in many facets, especially with RPG's and AK's being smuggled.

Mr. Yon, respectfully I ask you do not become a pawn in the latest gun ban scheme. by using your knee jerk reaction to this serious problem.
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# Mark B. 2009-03-27 21:30
Hype is precisely what it is. The high profile "war zone" gun battles of late that have been pointed out by supporters of gun control as a reason for restrictions in the US have involved grenades, RPG's, and real Assault Rifles, which are relatively UNavailable (and prohibitively expensive when/if the are) in the US. However, these same weapons are readily available and inexpensive in Central America and Mexico itself.

Why go to the expense and effort to acquire weapons in the US and bring them across the border when poor security at Mexican Army and Police facilities and participation of personnel from those organizations in the drug cartels make more potent weapons available cheaper and easier "at home"? Additionally, developments in the air and on the seas in the form of better radar monitoring by Mexico and Columbia and information sharing with the US has pushed the overland transit of South American cocaine from 1% in 2007 to roughly half at present (Stratfor). This would tend to make it more convenient to have some (real) AK's or RPG's delivered from Guatemala or other Central American states.

The recent BATF case against the Phoenix gun dealer turned out to be a red herring and was thrown out of court. One thing of note is that the alleged smugglers plead guilty to lesser charges in trade for testifying against the dealer. Clearly the wrong parties are being targeted. Let's focus on the smugglers, however many of them there may be.

I agree that Mexico has a problem. However, the only culpability the US has in that problem is its creation of black market demand for narcotics through the "War On Drugs". Did we learn nothing from "Prohibition"?
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# Ted C Hall 2009-03-27 22:39
Mr Yon,

Normally you've got the facts straight and you're shooting from the hip... I'm an admirer of your efforts from a long while back.

Unfortunately it appears that on the issue of US firearms (presumably actual military weapons) going south to Mexico you may be going off half-cocked.

Our US Congress in it's infinite wisdom and good intentions decided in 1986 to freeze the number of "NFA" firearms owned by citizens in the US... NO NEW AUTOMATIC WEAPONS have been manufactured or imported for private/civilia n sales since then...

If there are shotguns and bolt action rifles going south they MAYBE "The US" is contributing to Mexico's problems... Though with the quantities required by an army that's doubtful...

Any significant number of weapons suitable for military use are either being permitted to be exported by the US State Department, the BATF, and full coordination with Homeland Security... Or else they are illegal traffic already in violation of US laws from the NFA to the "Brady Bill" requiring identification and background investigation of all retail firearms buyers as well as registration and a tax stamp transfer for each NFA/full-auto weapon...

The NFA covers grenades, rockets, and other items as well... with a $200 tax stamp for each transfer of ownership of EACH ITEM...

At a minimum Manufacturers are required to document and maintain records on each firearm receiver (lower receiver on M-16/4 and clones) ALL shipments are made to distributors and retailers with full documentation, distributors and retailers keep permanent records on EVERY firearm received, transferred or sold... NFA weapons and destructive devices have a whole 'nother layer of documentation IN ADDITION to the foregoing...

Bottom line Michael, whatever is going on is NOT due to US Gun Laws being somehow lax and irresponsible.. . The AK-47 that sells for $60-100 most anywhere in the third world is pretty uncommon here in the US... NFA licensed M-16s and HK G3 rifles are almost impossible to find...
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# Chris Rainey 2009-03-27 23:27
Michael,

I too have read and look foward to your dispatches but you are off base I believe on this. From what I have bee able to se4e they in mexico are dealing with grenades, Rockets, RPG's and fully automatic weapons.. The drug cartels did not get those from Americans unless it is happening through crooked law enforcement or military. Our side of the border has some of this but not very much. Fort Hood has lost military style equipment before but law enforcement get most of it back I believe. Where are the fully automatic guns,grenades etc.. coming from?
Not from the public either. There are only 100,000 fully automatic guns available to the American public and they are hard to get. Maybe you need to go to Mexico and find out what is going on so we will know.
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# Evan Cowart 2009-03-28 00:51
I find it amusing that when talking about criminals, no matter the scale, everyone wants to talk about guns. Guns are not the problem, criminals are and if we can't stay on point, then it is a stupid conversation.

Criminals by definition, don't obey the law. They will get what ever they want, if it is Hummers, they will have Hummers, if they want guns, they have money and someone will sell them guns. The failure to focus on the problem, the individual criminal, the gang they belong to guarantees that nothing will be accomplished.

If you fail to identify the actually problem and instead treat the symptoms, you will not fix the problem. It applies in many areas of life.

Evan
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# DrStrangegun 2009-03-28 01:35
(maybe I'll finally get to post this darn thing, been trying for two days)

Now, I've very carefully reviewed both posts, and determined the problem here.

Mr. Yon, you are guilty of horrible timing. You see, today on the news we all heard Secretary Clinton invoke AmMex as a prime reason to reinstate the assault weapons ban. You turn this phrase;

"I have no plans to give up my hardware, but we must be honest here and help curb flows that are killing Mexicans and Americans. "

..without any corroboration or real explanation. In the mind of the reader, who has just had the world painted in terms of Mexico==AWB thanks to Hillary, you just said "Ain't gettin' rid of mine, but some's got to be rid of".

McCaffrey uses the same idea in his post, but a little clearer.

"We owe the Mexican people better protection of their security forces by effectively interdicting the huge US flow of automatic weapons and laundered drug money back south. (26,000 weapons seized last year.) "

Heuristically, exactly the same as your sentiment (I gather, as you are unclear). Interdiction of illegal arms trade does not equal AWB, and would likely be highly supported by the community of shooters.

There is nothing patently offensive to the "gun crowd" in McCaffrey's NJO writing. It's quite supportable. But the TIMING is AWFUL, particularly to bring it up in the midst of a vague and "buzzword" filled post, which paints the NJO article and colors it's tone by association. And yes, your post is rather vague and buzzy, given the "mood of the day".

And if that wasn't bad enough, Mr. Yon, I've seen your initial reply, even though it's off the site. It's offensive, both directly and indirectly to the intelligence of the reader.

"My work is misquoted around the world every day, but nowhere as often as on my own site. "

Fantastic. Unfortunately in this instance your work was misquoted because the definition and intent was not clear at all.

"If they invest only that minimal level of attention to the guns they are apparently packing, it's just a matter of time before they accidentally shoot themselves or someone else. Attention to detail is an important component of gun safety."

Oh, Mr. Yon. On the defensive, and antagonizing the audience. That's not a very wise move, particularly when the vast crowd who's disturbed by the original post consists of more than a few supporters... or ex-supporters. You shifted to a high-handed tone and patronized an angry mob of "hurt" people who thought you were "one of the guys".

It's a mistake, I'm telling you. And you'd best consider your next response to these people and make a clear, unequivocal statement on your stance and the intent of your post or they will, as they have already started, eat you alive in front of the altar of Zumbo.

I don't want to see that happen, you do good work.
Godspeed,
DrStrangegun
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# Michael Moriarty 2009-03-28 02:26
I would be most interested in finding out which American gun stores and gun shows are selling the fully automatic rifles, grenades, and rocket launchers the cartels are supposedly buying. Can you or General McCaffrey tell us?

I find it difficult to understand why cartels with so much influence and money would need to purchase an "ant's trail" of semi-automatic rifles from north of the border, when they can buy wholesale from Chavez or Castro, and in selective fire, no less.
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# Jorge 2009-03-28 03:09
Yon, I'm ashamed. It makes way more sense for guns to be flowing from central american countries such as El Salvador, as they have just had civil wars and have a huge abundance of guns that are otherwise illegal in the US. Also the border with the US is fairly well watched, it makes more sense for the guns to be coming from far less watched areas. Mexico itself has been having a small civil war in the Chipas regon for decades now and would have plenty of guns in that area.
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# R. James 2009-03-28 14:28
Iƒ??m reading Michaelƒ??s article what is the part that really upsets everyone here? This line: *but we must be honest here and help curb flows that are killing Mexicans and Americans.

Ok itƒ??s a problem and does need to be fixedƒ??..*but most of you gun show keeping my AK, AR and FN until the cows come home need to slow down a little here.

Now letƒ??s look at what else Michael said:
*I have no plans to give up my hardware
*I'm not giving up my guns and I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with other Americans who want to keep theirs.
Now this sounds like a guy that thinks like almost everyone here who has left an ugly comment.

Now letƒ??s look at Gen. Barry McCafferyƒ??. Michael points out Gen. McCafferyƒ??s article and if it was not for Mr. Yon doing so most of you would still be in the basement cleaning your bullets. Gen. McCaffery has a lot of experience in Mexico and I would bet more experience than the combine total number who people that has left comments here.
What's got everyone upset here? Maybe this: *effectively interdicting the huge US flow of automatic weapons
Yea maybe it is a mistake to have used the word *automatic* but other than that one word does the value of the story out weight the word *automatic*??

So Mr. Yon says:
*but we must be honest here and help curb flows that are killing Mexicans and Americans.
So Gen. Barry McCaffery says: *automatic*

Here is a little side note: Go to Amazon and type in the word ƒ??conversion AR or AKƒ?,
Most everyone here who has left a comment already knows what you will see in the search results; books on how to convert your AK or AR to full auto. Oh you need a permit, got to have a permitƒ??please!

You people are in a world of hate and fear with your guns. You hate or fear anyone that is not like you.
Michael Yon was a Green Beret a weapons specialist I think, has supported our soldiers, has placed himself into harms way for YEARS to help bring the news of our sons and daughters to light.
Cold, tired, wet, sleeping on rocks and in combat right there with our troopsƒ??ƒ??.wh at you think being there is parting like a rock star?

If your married or live with someone there is often two points of view in the house, my guess is you donƒ??t go out and get a divorce every time you donƒ??t see eye to eye. To do that might make you feel better but overall would be stupid.
I think most of you are feeding off of the comments and are not looking at what was said and the fact that action does need to be taken to fix that problem. Everyone here is worried about their gun being taken from them and not the serious problem next door.

So when you do have a gun problem just come on back because Mr. Yon said:
*I am a gun-owner.
*I have no plans to give up my hardware
*I'm not giving up my guns and I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with other Americans who want to keep theirs.

MAYBE you missed that part!
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# NK 2009-03-28 15:28
Thanks, Michael, for allowing us to voice our opinions. I've gotten mad at you for your stance on torture & guns, but by allowing us this free flow of opinions, it's been informative.
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# B. Lester 2009-03-28 16:45
Mr. Yon,

Comparing the so-called flow of arms from the U.S. into Mexico with the aid provided by Iran, Syria and Pakistan to our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan is going too far. The preferred narcoterrorist weapon in Mexico is the hand grenade...pleas e point me to a Yankee gun shop or show that stocks them. Many if not most of the arms are coming from corrupt Mexican soldiers and police. This article has cost you a tremendous amount of credibility. Add my name to those who will unsubscribe from your mailing list.
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# Tom Cox 2009-03-28 17:30
Michael, should you decide to become informed on what is really going on along the border, as opposed to the perverted fantasy advanced by political officer McCaffrey, you could do worse than starting with this story. Note the reference to "criminal weapons smugglers":

EXCLUSIVE: Hezbollah uses Mexican drug routes into U.S.
Works beside smuggler cartels to fund operations

http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/27/hezbollah-uses-mexican-drug-routes-into-us/

[Excerpt:]

Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterroris m officials say.

The Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America's tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Increasingly, however, it is relying on Mexican narcotics syndicates that control access to transit routes into the U.S.

Hezbollah relies on "the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels," said Michael Braun, who just retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

"They work together," said Mr. Braun. "They rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected.

[End Excerpt]

Follow the link. Read it and learn.

Tom Cox
Charlotte, TN
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# R. James 2009-03-28 17:48
LA Times......

"There is only one reason to have bulk explosives," said Thomas G. Mangan, spokesman in Phoenix for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "An improvised explosive device. A car bomb."

In addition to grenades, high-powered guns such as the .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifle have become a weapon of choice in narcotics traffickers' arsenals, Mangan said. Unlike grenades and antitank weapons, the .50-caliber guns can be obtained by ordinary citizens in the U.S. and smuggled easily into Mexico, like the tons of assault rifles and automatic pistols.

Mexican law enforcement, such as the police in Zihuatanejo, is grossly outgunned. Officers have protested, seeking better protective gear, weaponry and pay.

Stop picking this apart.....Mexic o's problem is a problem for all of us.....I really think that is Mr. Yon's point.
Everyboby here says show me this and show me that......Mr. Yon has shown you a problem with Mexico, guns and drugs. This topic from his posting is now up front and on the minds of many more people.

Once again:

So when you do have a gun problem just come on back because Mr. Yon said:
*I am a gun-owner.
*I have no plans to give up my hardware
*I'm not giving up my guns and I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with other Americans who want to keep theirs.

MAYBE you missed that part!
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# B. Bates 2009-03-28 22:08
As a fellow political scientist, I asked General McCaffrey for any source whatsoever for his claims that RPGs, automatic weapons, and other weapons are flowing south into Mexico. I cc'd my request to the department chair and dean at West Point, where he currently serves as associate professor.

To date he has never answered my request, and I have yet to find any evidence whatsoever for his - or any similar - claims.
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# Michael Moriarty 2009-03-29 12:48
Mr. James,

In reading the whole of Mr. Yon's comments, he does provide argumentative cover for himself regarding gun ownership. However, let us look at what McCaffrey, the Obama Administration, and the Democratic Leadership in the Congress propose as a means of handling the situation: a re-instatement of the Clinton era "Assault Weapons" ban, updated and permanent. Increased regulation and stipulation of and on ammunition.
And those are just the starters. These are the people Mr. Yon has sided withon this issue, declared in the case of McCaffrey, de facto, if not de jure in the case of the administration and congressional leadership.
So when we "pick apart" the argument presented us, perhaps it is because we in the community of gun rights supporters will no longer allow the opposition to frame the argument. For too long we have accepted the anti-gun's declared "We only want common sense gun control." Their idea of common sense is the ultimate banning of private weapon ownership.
For too long have we put up with the situation where the opposition says "Let's compromise" and both sides take one step forward, followed by the oppostition then taking three steps back and repeating the process. We will no longer accept "compromise" that means surrender, and "common sense" that means nothing of the sort.
Vigorous enforcement of the laws already on the books (straw sales are illegal, so prosecute) will do more to stem any ant trail or flood of arms to the cartel than infringing upon the rights of Americans.
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# Sean 2009-03-29 22:08
It seems like with every dispatch of yours, Yon, you piss away more and more of your hard-earned credibility.

If you're going to opine on this subject, show some facts. Pointing to another opinion piece of someone who is helping with the Democrats apply their full court press on gun rights in this country is not evidence.

I gave up on contributing money to you a while back, and now you've got me questioning why in hell I'm subscribing to your emails.
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# Mary 2009-03-29 23:13
"Smacking down" the U.S. with drugs is part of the global jihad. How do you win against a much bigger opponent? You first disable them somehow. We buy the oil and the drugs that fund jihadists. Is it coincidence that we also supply some of the guns used in our own smack down? The trademark of jihad leaders is to use desperate, expendable (to them) people like suicide bombers and abused women and American militia and Mexican youth, etc., etc. We need to stop participating in our own take down.
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# Mary 2009-03-29 23:17
"Smacking down" the U.S. with drugs is part of the global jihad. How do you win against a much bigger opponent? You first disable them somehow. We buy the oil and the drugs that fund jihadists. Is it coincidence that we also supply some of the guns used in our own smack down? The trademark of jihad leaders is to use desperate, expendable (to them) people like suicide bombers and abused women and American militia and Mexican youth, etc., etc. We need to stop participating in our own take down.
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# Typhoon 2009-03-30 02:01
Michael:
Here are two sources that would refute the common assertion that the cartels are getting most of their weapons from the US:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mexico-arms-race15-2009mar15,0,229992.story
The story from 3-15-09 states that:
"Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semiauto- matic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California."

The second source is testimony given before the Senate Judiciary Committee 3-17-09
http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=3718

While the US could indeed be the majority source of the weapons imported by the cartels; at this point they appear to have so much money at hand they can get them from any number of suppliers.

In the long view this situation is more serious than Pancho Villa's April 1916 raid on Columbus New Mexico. In response to that President Wilson sent Pershing into Mexico and 15,000 National Guardsmen were called up to patrol the border.

I wonder what the response of our government will be to something far worse and much more ruthless...

Keep up the great work!
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# Bo Seppenfield 2009-03-30 13:41
Mr. James,
You say that the important thing to take from what Mr. Yon said;
"Once again:

So when you do have a gun problem just come on back because Mr. Yon said:
*I am a gun-owner.
*I have no plans to give up my hardware
*I'm not giving up my guns and I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with other Americans who want to keep theirs.

MAYBE you missed that part!"

Unfortunately, Obama, Biden and Clinton have all said almost IDENTICAL things and what THEY mean when they say those things is "We won't take your guns, but you don't need semi auto guns or scary looking guns or hand guns and you don't need to store them in your home." Mr. Yon hasn't responded to many requests that he clear up his position so we're left with what he has already said. I can take a hint.

Mr. Yon, Good luck in your future endeavors. I expect CNN will be offering you a job soon and I'm sure you'll fit right in.

Sincerely,
Bo Seppenfield
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# Gary Barth 2009-03-31 20:45
I happen to know two things (and the first one, if researched properly, would never have showed up here): First, most of the guns going into Mexico are NOT coming from the U.S. And several wise posters up here have looked into, and stated that. And just because McCaffery has a "Gen. (ret.)" attached to his name does not make him an expert. Also true of Mr. Yon. Michael is a former Special Forces guy who knows a whole lot about weapons, but he's spent too much time in the Middle East to know what is happening on our southern border. That we have such a porous border in the first place is the main cause of all this upheaval. Stopping the drug trade AT THE BORDER, by force if necessary, would be a good start.

Secondly, this is a big propaganda intem in Obama's administration. For a man who said he didn't want to take away our guns, he immediately started addressing gun control with things like HR45 and a host of others items. The gun conttrol issue has become by far the largest elephant in the room - why are guns disappearing off the shelves in droves? Why is it hard to find ammuntion? Why are record numbers of citizens (a lot of them seniors) filing applications for a concealed weapons permit? And Michael, you are playing right into the hands of the propagandists - if a big-time Green Beret Iraq War correspondent thinks our president is right, well, then, it's time to start taking the guns away from U.S. citizens.

I've been with you for a long time, Mike. You even live in my neck o' the woods (Central Fla.) so I thought of you as a neighbor. But the time has come to part ways. Stick to writing about the Middle East, and leave the 2nd Amendment alone. You might like your guns, but if you don't stand side-by-side with those who believe in our Constitution, and especially the 2nd Amendment, then you believe that the federal government has total control, and there are no state's rights. And soon, your guns will be in the cross-hairs, and it will be too late to "stand shoulder to shoulder with other Americans who want to keep theirs."

I'll also be cancelling my subscription.
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# Eric 2009-03-31 23:01
Had you seen this?

http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/dgifford/2009/03/31/the-america-is-arming-mexicos-drug-gangs-lie/
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# Bill Smith 2009-04-01 06:19
I have read you for years now, but you shouldn't go attacking "gun people" like that... they're part of your base. Further, after the torture comments, your e-mails are starting to make you sound unstable.

From your e-mail, "If they invest only that minimal level of attention to the guns they are apparently packing, it's just a matter of time before they accidentally shoot themselves or someone else. Attention to detail is an important component of gun safety."

Sounds like you should take your own advice... Remember the propane tank (good shot) incident where you almost shot a US Army CSM and were almost kicked out of Iraq? I do.

Guns kill people... so do your hands in a bar fight, Michael, as you were arrested for that... remember?
I think you're stressing out too much, Michael. Stick to war writing, as I'm not really interested in any of your other opinions.

"your writer"

Bill
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# Hank Dondero 2009-04-01 12:39
Iƒ??ve been a follower of Michael for several years. I donƒ??t always agree with his comments, but certainly look to his information presented because of his insiderƒ??s first hand view. That view is another input worth listening to, in order to get as much info as possible. A nugget of gold may present itself, buried in all the crap floating around in the media. Regarding the Mexico/Drug/Gun situation we, the USA, are faced with a challenge that is clouded by the political powers to be in Washington. Drug use and smuggling is not constitutionall y protected. International money laundering is not constitutionall y protected. Gun purchases for unlawful re-sale and distribution is not constitutionall y protected. Gun purchases and ownership by US citizens IS CONSTITUTIONALL Y PROTECTED BY THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

The US Government has the laws in place to investigate, the personnel authorized to enforce, and the legal system in our courts to punish the folks that are at the root of this problem, on US turf. I certainly agree that more laws, regulations and bans are not needed. What is needed is active enforcement of the existing laws for illegal trafficking of drugs, money and guns, and expedient punishment through trial and conviction for the perps. It seems obvious that the BATFE, FBI, and Federal Courts have their task in plain view. What is missing in these matters is a complete lack of leadership on the part of the President and the Congress to move these use these existing tools. IE: stop wasting time and resources investigating the NCAA selection process, (Arlen Specter (sp). I believe), get serious about this countryƒ??s situation re: Mexico.

Hank
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# Typhoon 2009-04-05 16:25
This morning former CIA operative Mike Baker appeared on FNC and went through the genesis of the widely quoted "90 percent of all weapons..." statistics. Mr. Baker had just returned from his own trip to Mexico to assess the situation there; and he declared that it is as dire as stated by most of the media. According to Mr. Baker Mexican officials confiscated some 26,000 weapons from drug cartel members in 2008. Of that amount background checks were run on some approximately 11,000 weapons; of which some ~5,000 were sourced to the US. So in reality, Mr. Baker asserted, the more realistic figure for weapons smuggled from the US is actually 17 percent. In his conclusion the majority of cartel purchased firearms were coming into Mexico through Guatemala and local Mexican seaports with points of origin the usual worldwide arms dealers.

However, as I stated previously at this point it doesn't really matter where the weapons are coming from as the cartels funding is probably sufficient enough for them to get them from anywhere.

The bigger question is how honest Mexican politicians, military, and law enforcement people are going to clean up their own house of the pernicious corruption that has aided and abetted the operations of these ruthless cartels. Unfortunately no amount of US State Department apologies or foreign aid is going to alter that equation.

Keep up your excellent reporting, Mike.
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# bobn 2010-01-22 17:52
I actually donated to Yon last year - NEVER AGAIN! Hopw did you get fooled this badly? It makes me suspect anything else you write from now on.

When the Obamistas were talking about a high percentage of guns in Mexico being traced back to the US, it was in fact a high percentage of guns already known not to have come from anywhere else - or else thought to be from america and *then* confirmed.

You call yourself a "journalist" and can't do any better than this? FOR SHAME!
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