Wednesday, May 14, 2008

mexico - what will we do?

My dear friend, Maria, sent me this.

Why Are Dems Making Mexico Suffer?
Ibd Tue May 13, 7:02 PM ET

Diplomacy: When a neighbor's house is on fire, it makes sense to send water, not argue about building codes. Except to Democrats. As Mexico reels from its drug war, Congress is withholding critical help. It's a lethal logic.

The Merida Initiative, proposed to Congress by President Bush after consultations with Mexico last fall, is a three-year, $1.4 billion program to help Mexico wipe out drug traffickers and terrorists.

For years they've scourged Mexico, but never as now, since President Felipe Calderon dispatched 36,000 troops to fight them in 2006. Taking these barbarians on is critical to Mexico's future and an act of courage that has been shown by no other Mexican leader.

It's a hard war that Mexico has fought alone and paid big. Last week traffickers struck at the heart of the Mexican state by assassinating the acting chief of the national police, Edgar Millan Gomez. They also have killed more than 400 Mexican troops and police.

These traffickers are brazen and vicious. The Gulf Cartel's Zeta paramilitaries openly solicit hit men on billboards and post clips of their killings on the Internet. They engage in al-Qaida-like beheadings as they battle the Sinaloa Cartel for drug transshipment routes.

They murder anyone in their path, from fellow dopers to innocent bystanders. They've machine-gunned restaurants full of people, and dried up tourism in border towns. Terrified locals live in fear of kidnapping and put bars on their windows. The bodies are piling up, with nearly 4,000 dead in the last year and a half. And the violence is only getting worse.

That's why the callousness that congressional Democrats have shown toward the first $500 million to buy helicopters, train police and beef up courts and prisons is so appalling. Bush wants it included in a supplemental defense bill on which he's urging fast action.

The Democrat response in the House has been to try to cut the aid, possibly to as low as $50 million, and House Republicans fear they may not even get that when a vote comes up on Thursday.

Democrats have a lot of excuses for withholding the money. Their pals in the AFL-CIO, who have enough pull in Congress to ice Colombia's free-trade pact, are now playing the same power game by contending Mexico's human rights aren't good enough for U.S. aid.

Their alternative: Let the bullets fly until every Mexican cop is perfect. Yet the aid helps clean up the Mexican police forces so they can fight and win. The union's opposition probably is more rooted in a leftist agenda that wants Calderon's conservative administration to fail.

Congressional Democrats are throwing their weight around, too. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., calls the Merida Initiative "the old war-on-drugs paradigm" that orthodox leftists doubt can ever be won. Along with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Dodd doubts the tough security approach that cleaned up New York City and Medellin, Colombia, can ever work.

They prefer social programs to a forceful response even when Mexican cabinet members are dying in hails of gunfire. For Dodd and Leahy, too, Mexico would be better off burning.

Some Republicans, such as Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., are concerned that U.S. money to Mexico could be lost to corruption. That's a valid concern, but there is evidence that the Merida Initiative won't be a boondoggle. Modeled on Plan Colombia, a $5 billion program that made a big dent in that country's drug war without corruption, it uses a proven formula for destroying trafficking organizations in places where they practically have taken over.

Back in 2000, when President Clinton initiated that program of training, equipment and intelligence-sharing, no one thought Colombia had a chance of succeeding. But with the leadership of President Alvaro Uribe, it did.

Colombia's urban areas went from gunfire-ridden hellholes to Singapore-like cities with virtually no trash, graffiti, beggars or dopers -- cities with courteous soldiers, professional policemen and honest citizens, not to mention 7% economic growth.

Every night in Bogota's Candelaria district, college kids literally celebrate peace in the streets "because we once couldn't," one told us. That's a transformation.

What could be better for the United States than to bring that to Mexico? It already has seen some 6 million people flee the drug war to live on our side illegally. Get rid of the drug traffickers and many Mexicans will have reason to head home.

Democrats, however, have no enthusiasm for the promise of such success. They would prefer to see Mexico suffer, pat themselves on the back as they lecture on human rights and throw every roadblock they can at its future to get back at Bush. This is no way to treat a neighbor whose house fire could easily spread to ours.

I'd love your thoughts...

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