Caputo's article has many errors of journalistic practice. It is based on few sources, all of them critical of the government. There's not one interview with official sources. In particular, the vision of the army is missing. It is, in summary, a biased vision. The article, nevertheless, is symptomatic of a certain narrative that has begun to circulate about the war against organized crime. The narrative is of a country in which there's been a military coup so that the military controls drug traffic; where there is a deaf, dumb, and blind citizenry that tolerates social clean-ups.I, of course, don't believe this narrative. But it's another demonstration of the natural deterioration of a three-year war that has left 14,000 deaths. The government should be worried about and occupied by this issue. It has to answer the various questions with serious arguments, not only TV spots or patriotic discourses from the president. There's a great deal in play: the perception that the Mexican state could be failing.
The second paragraph makes a good point. Calderón's opponents can rightly be dinged for their reliance on generalized rhetoric and a lack of specificity in their arguments, but the same criticism is just as true for Calderón. I'm sympathetic to the government's arguments that a frontal attack on firmly entrenched criminal gangs was needed, but Calderón's team hasn't offered much detail about exactly how their strategy will pay dividends. I'd like to hear Calderón articulate what Mexican will look like, if everything goes according to plan, in five, ten, even fifteen years from now. The whole security approach has an ad-hoc feel to it sometimes, which is really dangerous even if you think their instincts are correct.