Felipe Calderón took an extraordinary decision to confront an extraordinary situation. He found territories and institutions kidnapped by organized crime and he didn't hesitate to call the army out onto the streets He explained that he didn't have an option before the weakness of the civil apparatus, particular the police. Now we are being informed that the army will stay on the streets and many have applauded the courage of what the perceive as a decision that was late in coming. Maybe they are correct, but the CNDH is presenting accusations of events that perhaps represent isolated cases, but are perhaps a demonstrations of a growing phenomenon of deviance among the military. In the strictest sense, we don't know the size of the problem.
And we don't know because there are no effective mechanisms of civilian scrutiny of military operations. For all practical purposes, the civil authority, even if it wanted to, doesn't have the resources or the capacity to mobilize sufficient mechanisms of accountability regarding the operation of the armed forces.In any case, only a commitment with acts promoted from the interior and exterior of the armed forces could make the internal and external control of military conduct effective, and the application of consequences, according to the nature of the case. The recent creation of an area of Human Rights in Sedena was justified precisely as a show of the military willingness to guarantee its respect. The signal was welcomed.Now it's time for new decisions, such that the president and the high military command take control, before the eyes of the citizens, of addressing what was said by the CNDH with complete transparency. The society cannot have doubts about the political compromise at the highest levels, be they are military or civilian, to investigating and if need be punishing the violation of human rights and the law by soldiers. We have lost a good part of the strength civilian institutions before organized crime. Protect the authority of the armed forces and do so under through the only possible means in a democratic state with the rule of law, which is to say, subjecting them to [external] control. What is at stake is the moral authority of the state.
I couldn't agree more. Anyone who wants the army on the street should be shouting the loudest for greater accountability, both as a moral imperative and also because it will make the army's involvement in fighting drug trafficking less fraught and more feasible in the long term.