From an article on CNN.com today:
The Mexican cartels, the report says, are “the single greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States.” The Mexican organizations have operations in every region of the United States and are expanding into more rural and suburban areas. … They’ve also stepped up cooperation with U.S. street and prison gangs for distribution.
According to Michael T. Walther, director of the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, which produced the report. “The economic cost alone is estimated at nearly $215 billion annually.”
Note that this compares with the annual direct costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So while we’re off in those places, guess what’s happening in our own back yard.
More than 2,500 people were killed in drug-related violence in Ciudad Juarez (across the Rio Grande River from El Paso) last year. That’s in one city, right across our border, and only the murders we know about.
With this amount of money at stake, and with the level of violence that the Mexican drug cartels routinely employ, we might rephrase the National Drug Threat Assessment 2010 report’s conclusion as:
The Mexican cartels, the report says, are “the single greatest threat to the United States.”
We have to choose where to use our limited resources, and our survival as a free and democratic country rests upon our choosing wisely.