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Column 070405 Brewer

Monday, July 4, 2005

Commitment needed to end U.S.-Mexico border


By Jerry Brewer

Mexico’s current and intensely serious dilemma with

internal and northern border area violence is by no
means exclusively its own. It has world tentacles, as
well as critical global attention.

International thoughts and concerns have come from

the “Independent Task Force on the Future of North
America,” among others, formed by the Council on
Foreign Relations (CFR). The task force’s membership
includes U.S., Mexican, and Canadian consultants, as
well as corporate leaders and former government
officials. Creative strategies from these “stakeholders”
could certainly impact an eroding and collapsing
internal government structure in Mexico.

Trafficking in drugs, humans and arms are the elements

that raise the outcry and voices of citizens to the
highest levels imaginable on both side of the U.S.-
Mexico border. And this is clearly terrorism.

Terrorism is characterized as the unlawful use of

violence, or the threat of violence, to coerce or
intimidate a government or a society. Protection from
this menace requires both an offensive capability and a
defensive program. The defensive actions must
prevent or mitigate hostile actions against resources,
facilities and critical information such as strategic
intelligence. All of these recommendations assume the
trustworthiness of our partners.

The primary building blocks that must be placed in this

new foundation of partnering are trust,
eliminating/controlling corruption, adhering to the
principles of ethics at all levels, and instilling the values
for respecting human life. Mastering this level of
commitment will demonstrate the unified effort and
trust required between government, military, police,
and the diverse indigenous sectors. Principles of
democratic policing require training, monitoring, and
vetting personnel for human rights violations and
unethical practices that bring destruction to the
organizational infrastructure. This would in fact serve
to initiate and foster public confidence in the willingness
and ability of those entrusted to protect.

Successful partnering with the U.S. in this fight along

the border, and Mexico’s commitment to not
compromise sensitive operations and intelligence, are
key factors. This is more than likely the Achilles heel
impeding serious progress, due to deep-rooted ethical
and economic weaknesses that permeate fair and
honest economies in favor of terror-enforced initiatives.

Commitments on both sides of the border are of

paramount concern in each element of the overall
“team” effort. There is a vast network of legitimate
investment and economic alternatives at stake here.
Mexico supplies a good share of U.S. oil and
manufactured items. The U.S. needs to understand
that it is not under attack by a hostile country, but
rather it is a conflict with criminal elements motivated
by terrorist notions. Moreover, we are seeing that the
combatants are no longer confined to the Mexican side
of the border.

To consistently anticipate and effectively respond to this

spontaneous, volatile and quick moving escalation of
events, it requires intense cooperation and the
mechanisms of cohesive teamwork to mitigate this
inherent risk to both nations. Quality of life issues
should be the main motivator as both sides degrade the
opportunities for the criminal elements to perform and
hide. Territory occupied by these elements must be
taken back in expedient fashion. Aggression must be
contained and eliminated.

Currently representatives from both sides of the border

are engaged more in talks than cooperation or
commitment. Mexicans must not wait for bureaucratic
discussions and decisions to take back their cities and
streets. The bodies continue to pile higher, with those
who are employed to protect dying in large numbers, all
of which tears at citizens faith and trust in anyone to
believe in.

A proactive strategy, in lieu of sending and removing

troops as a “visual” show of force, would be to adopt a
bold initiative of “zero tolerance.” Saturation patrols
and immediate response to the locations of violence
would not only reclaim the area, but also show criminal
elements that there is and will be swift reactions to
every action perpetrated.

Areas cordoned off and tactical personnel deploying

within serve to place fear back in those who use fear as
one of their primary weapons. Criminal elements and
their illicit businesses cannot stand this type of heat for
long, and are forced or displaced away from those they
seek to control.

Mexican officials, by committing to unify proactive

strategies to aggressively suppress, deter and combat
violence, would be seen by citizens and the world as
heroes in the fight for their country and its economic
survival. As well, such commitment would most
certainly inspire cooperation and be met with a
dedicated spirit of unity by the populace.

Jerry Brewer is Vice President of Criminal Justice International
Associates, a global risk mitigation firm headquartered in
Montgomery, Alabama. He can be reached via e-mail at
Cjiaincusa@aol.com jbrewer@cjiausa.org