McCaffrey on Mexico - 23 March 2009

139 Comments

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.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ferg · 9 years ago
    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-Americans 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-trafficers 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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    Why can we not roll up the Coast Guard and Border Patrol into one LE/quasi-military 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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Casey · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    Another reason to close the F******g border.
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    Blake Sobiloff · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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/organized 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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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-Industrial-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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    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 · 9 years ago
    Pass me some kool aid Michael.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SFC Winsor · 9 years ago
    I lost complete faith in you Yon.
    Automatic weapons are ILLEGAL in the US!!!!
    Texas needs a GREAT WALL not tighter gun controls.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ed bergin · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Butch · 9 years ago
    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!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jeff · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John · 9 years ago
    Michael,
    Please check out this article-

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mexico-arms-race15-2009mar15,0,229992.story?page=2
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Byron · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gordon Jones · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cecil Trotter · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    mikecnorthwest · 9 years ago
    "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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    mikecnorthwest · 9 years ago
    "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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    FatWhiteMan · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Janice Stroud · 9 years ago
    I have to agree with the majority here, methinks you are off base in siding with the General's conclusions.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Damon S. McClure · 9 years ago
    * 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!!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jagape · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    runcible · 9 years ago
    You are one of the last people I would have expected to buy into this nonsense.

    Sad.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dan Ward · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sam · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    James · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kevin P. · 9 years ago
    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?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carlos · 9 years ago
    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.....
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dan Ward · 9 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Herrmann Glockler · 9 years ago
    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
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Richard Ganey · 9 years ago
    Dear Readers:

    I've known Michael for more than 20 years. During that time, I have been a police officer, a SWAT team leader/instructor, 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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