Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some Friendly Advice

When we as a nation figure out the silver bullet that ends drug trade violence in this country, then we might have a right to start telling other countries what they should be doing from the safe and comfy white-collar offices of Punditburg, especially when our own consumption and our own gun laws fuel the engine of that violence.
Such slaughter usually goes unnoticed in the U.S. press. Should it come to the attention of our newspapers, it will be written off as part of a cartel war. This is a fiction. Almost all the dead are poor people, not drug-enriched grandees. And though we give Mexico half a billion dollars a year to encourage its army to fight drug merchants, this alleged war has a curious feature: Almost no soldiers ever die. In Juarez, more than 4,200 citizens have been slain in two years. In the same period, with 7,000 to 10,000 soldiers in town, the military has suffered three dead.

The border should not be an issue in American life, but rather our window on the world. All our foolish beliefs are refuted here. Free trade is creating the largest human migration on earth. Our belief that drugs can be successfully outlawed has created the second-most-profitable industry in Mexico and a gulag of U.S. prisons. Our effort to fortify the border has created a wall and a standing army of agents, and it has failed to stop people or kilos from moving to our towns. Our refusal to even seriously consider the notion of overpopulation will eventually destroy large portions of the earth’s ecosystems. And we are equally reluctant to face one nagging fact about Mexico: 40 percent of its federal budget comes from oil sales, and the president of Mexico has said publicly that the oil fields will be exhausted in the next decade. What then?

Someday a history of our border policies will be written. It will require a Marxist—Groucho, not Karl.
Or a David Simon:
BILL MOYERS: But it still is a lie, isn't it?

DAVID SIMON: And it always will be. I don't think we have the stomach to actually evaluate this. And--

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?


BILL MOYERS: We don't have the stomach?

DAVID SIMON: Again, we would have to ask ourselves a lot of hard questions. The people most affected by this are black and brown and poor. It's the abandoned inner cores of our urban areas. And we don't, as we said before, economically, we don't need those people. The American economy doesn't need them. So, as long as they stay in their ghettos, and they only kill each other, we're willing to pay a police presence to keep them out of our America. And to let them fight over scraps, which is what the drug war, effectively, is. I don't think-- since we basically have become a market-based culture and it's what we know, and it's what's led us to this sad denouement, I think we're going to follow market-based logic, right to the bitter end.

BILL MOYERS: Which says?

DAVID SIMON: If you don't need 'em, why extend yourself? Why seriously assess what you're doing to your poorest and most vulnerable citizens? There's no profit to be had in doing anything other than marginalizing them and discarding them.
And if that's how we feel about our own people, what do you think we're going to do for the Mexicans? Besides puke out a toilet-full of cant, I mean.