Mexicans Dying in Our Drug War
by Steven Greenhut by Steven Greenhut
When it comes to foreign affairs, Americans are used to debating progress or setbacks in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or on the Israeli invasion last month of the Gaza Strip. We’re used to thinking about death and destruction thousands of miles from home and, as a result, tend to debate these matters based more on glancing impressions, quick reads of newspapers and Web sites and sound bites rather than personal knowledge or the knowledge of those who live in the countries at issue.
What if I mentioned that thousands of people have been killed — 7,337 at last count — since 2007 in open warfare just a short drive from here? Or that the grisly violence has reached close to areas within the readership of this newspaper? What if I noted that the violence has altered the lives of many of our neighbors, friends and co-workers, who have family members who dwell in the heart of the war zone? What if I added that, because of this war, we place our lives in jeopardy by simply visiting some of our favorite vacation spots? Would that cause you to think twice about your foreign-policy priorities?
I am referring, of course, to Mexico, which has turned into a horror show in the past couple of years. There’s been sporadic news coverage of these events. But the average American — and the average politician, for that matter — doesn’t seem attuned or interested in a human tragedy that’s starting to spill not just across the border, but deeply into the American interior, to cities such as Dallas, Atlanta and Sioux Falls, S.D., where Mexican drug gangs have murdered and abducted people.