By Evan Krasomil, Senior Web Editor
As Republican candidates for president publicly debate the merits of having U.S. military forces directly assist the Mexican government in its fight against drug cartels, it's unfortunate that such little attention is paid to the prominent role already being played by the U.S., both in terms of the drugs we demand and the guns we supply. Some troubling statistics from a recent Congressional report examining the flow of firearms from the U.S. into Mexico:
- 20,504 out 29,284 firearms recovered in Mexico in the past two years came from the U.S.
- 15,131 of those weapons were made in the U.S.
- 5,373 were foreign made but came through the U.S. (the remainder were of "undetermined origin").
- The firearms overwhelmingly came from the southwest U.S. The top three states were Texas (39 percent); California (20 percent); and Arizona (10 percent).
- 34,612 people have died in organized crime-related killings since Dec. 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon took office.
- 2010 was the bloodiest year yet in Mexico. Killings jumped 60 percent from the year before, with 15,273 people killed, up from 9,616.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón recently hinted that, for there to be hope that the cartels will ever be defeated, the U.S. will first need to seriously consider legalizing drugs. My guess is that American politicians (save for Ron Paul, perhaps) aren't even close to having that discussion. Any discussion of tighter U.S. gun control also seems to be a political nonstarter.
So where does that leave us? Wondering whether we'll ever need to dispatch U.S. troops to Mexico, I suppose. At least we know what kind of firepower the cartels will have at their disposal. They'll have bought it from us, after all.