Saturday, April 18, 2009

Live From the Battlefield

We can't recommend highly enough Melissa Del Bosque's report in the current Texas Observer on life in El Paso, which has the distinction of being the most dangerous place in America with regard to "spillover" from the Mexcian drug war, and also....not that dangerous!

Consider this gem from former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, now a consultant for ABC News, commenting on Juarez: “There is in fact an insurgency on both sides of the American-Mexican border, and it’s stepped up a lot in the last several years because the Bush administration ignored it and put its focus on Iraq.”

After weeks of hearing the war drums beat louder and louder, Sito Negron, editor of El Paso’s online daily news journal, Newspaper Tree, recently decided he’d had enough. An insurgency on both sides? he thought, listening to Clarke’s prime-time pronouncement. Are you kidding me?

According to the FBI, more than 1,600 people were killed by cartel violence in Juarez in 2008. El Paso, a city of 755,000, recorded just 18 murders last year. Laredo had 11; Brownsville and McAllen had three and nine, respectively. By comparison, Washington, D.C., with a population smaller than El Paso’s, had 186 homicides in 2008.

Go read the whole thing. There'll be a quiz.

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