On Thursday during an interview with the Washington Post, Calderon cited a U.S. cable that said that Mexican military officials had "risk-averse habits," suggesting that it had caused turmoil on his national security team.The whole thing is well worth reading.
"It's difficult if suddenly you are seeing the courage of the army [questioned]. For instance, they have lost probably 300 soldiers ... and suddenly somebody in the American embassy, they [say] the Mexican soldiers aren't brave enough," Calderon said during an hour-long meeting with The Post editorial board and reporters. "Or you decide to play the game that they are not coordinated enough, and suddenly start to bring information to one agency and not to the other and try to get them to compete."
Well, sorry Mr President, but your soldiers are indeed risk averse – perhaps rightly so. I've spent plenty of time with them in the past three years. Most of them are lonely and scared, and will put aside their machismo to readily admit that. They hate being stuck out in the middle of the sierra, spending the night camped out in tents, worrying that at any point, a group of AK-47-wielding narcos might gun them down. They spend most of their days pulling up and burning down marijuana plants, and then are asked to conduct raids against what are effectively well-armed paramilitaries during their off-hours? They aren't allowed off the base on weekends because they'll be killed or kidnapped? They have to wear masks 24 hours a day, some even wear them inside the military compounds because they don't trust each other! They are formidable when it comes to hurricane rescues and the like, but combat against these thugs is a different story. Put the pride aside, and admit it, Mr Calderon. Your army is fine, but it could do with some help.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
More on Calderón's Visit
Malcolm Beith has a long and interesting post on Calderón's anger at the US and other related topics: