Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stumbling over Security in Mexico

Joseph Westphal, undersecretary of the army, had the following comments at a recent appearance in Salt Lake City:
“As all of you know, there is a form of insurgency in Mexico with the drug cartels that’s right on our border.”

“This isn’t just about drugs and about illegal immigrants,” he said. “This is about, potentially, a takeover of a government by individuals who are corrupt.”
This rightly provoked accusations of alarmism, which led to furious backtracking from Westphal:
[I'm sorry if my] imprecise statements have caused some sort of worry among our friends and partners in the region, especially Mexico. [Note: translation of a translation]
My comments don't reflect the position of my government.
All of this has occurred to the delight of the local papers, some of whom found room for him on their front page. Can you imagine a fourth-tier foreign official's comments on the US ever hitting the front page of the LA Times?

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