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Mexican Drug War Claims 50,000 Lives, Little Attention

The above pic leads an Atlantic photo essay with the eye-opening title “Mexico’s Drug War: 50,000 Dead in 6 Years.” Let’s just say, it’s among the tamer images. The text lede is powerful:

Since Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón began an all-out assault on drug cartels in 2006, more than 50,000 people have lost their lives across the country in a nearly-continuous string of shootouts, bombings, and ever-bloodier murders. Just last weekend, 49 decapitated bodies were reportedly discovered on a highway in northern Mexico. The New York Times reports on an increasing numbness and apathy among Mexicans after years of worsening carnage, about which they’ve been able to do virtually nothing. Gathered here is a collection of recent photographs from Mexico’s drug war and the people so horribly affected by it.

While this story has of course received coverage in the American press, it may well be the most undercovered major story of our times. The exploits of the Kardashian family have garnered more press than a massive civil war on our own border.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    The exploits of the Kardashian family have garnered more press than a massive civil war on our own border.

    … add to that the trial of John Edwards, and the resurrection of the Reverend Wright “goddamn America” connection to President Obama – and you realize how amazing it is that most Americans even know where Mexico is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. CB says:

    its pretty incredible. i can almost forgive the lack of general knowledge about what is happening in central asia or south america, but this is, like you said, a massive civil war right next door. the absence of coverage should be unforgivable, but is anyone really surprised? our national press is a joke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    Is it the Mexican drug war or the US “War on Drugs” that is responsible?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Ron,

    I would say our War On (Some) Drugs is indirectly responsible for much of what has happened in Mexico and Colombia (among other places) over the years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Fog says:

    Our appetites fund the cartels and our taxes fund the “war on (some) drugs.” Gotta go with the libertarians on this issue. This is insane.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. walt moffett says:

    Not so sure ending the War on Drugs would stop the violence though a reduction is probable. the Mob didn’t disappear when Prohibition ended and there are so many other ways to make money with a willingness to kill, smuggling and money laundering skills.

    Be funny to read about a Los Zetas herbal blend/finest X truck being searched for untaxed cigarettes and weapons in New York while the company happily donates money to all the parties.

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  7. @walt moffett:

    the Mob didn’t disappear when Prohibition ended

    It disappeared from the alcohol trade.

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  8. Ron Beasley says:

    @walt moffett: Not entirely perhaps but much of it because that’s where the big bucks are. I can’t think of anything that would replace the drug money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. walt moffett says:

    @Ron Beasley: A lot depends on how we structure the newly legal drug trade and what is legal, quasi-legal and not legal. If we leave it wide open or impose too many controls, either way, ruthless, amoral folks with lots of money take over. They won’t need forklifts to move money but wheelbarrows still hold a lot.

    @Stormy Dragon: Quite right they found drugs and the entertainment industry even more a money maker.

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  10. André Kenji de Sousa says:

    There is a interesting story. One day in the nineties, some prisoners in Taubaté, a city distant 100 miles from the city of São Paulo, in Brazil, decided to create a criminal gang inside the prison, in response to a brutal massacre of prisoners by the cops in 1993. They were arrested after some years, and they were sent to the city of Rio de Janeiro, where drug gangs used to run entire neighborhoods. They noted that the drug dealers inside of the prison were full of cash, and they decided that they would the same thing.

    That criminal gang, created after a soccer match inside a prison, would become a major criminal force, that would culminate in a major series of attacks in May of 2006, where hundreds of people where killed and where the biggest state in the country would be paralyzed by fear of these attacks.

    The drug prohibition provides cash to these gangs, a giant amount of cash to buy gangs and to hire criminals.

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  11. Jenos Idanian says:

    Here’s a theory — the same reason why so many liberals pooh-pooh Fast and Furious: it’s mainly brown people killing other brown people, so who cares?

    And if it really was dangerous, wouldn’t Obama be more concerned about securing the border?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Here’s a theory — the same reason why so many liberals pooh-pooh Fast and Furious: it’s mainly brown people killing other brown people, so who cares?

    Here’s a theory — many conservatives are obsessed with “Fast and Furious”: because it happened during the first term of the Obama Administration, and not because it’s mainly brown people killing other brown people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  13. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: Here’s a theory — many conservatives are obsessed with “Fast and Furious”: because it happened during the first term of the Obama Administration, and not because it’s mainly brown people killing other brown people.

    Hmm… interesting theory… but nah. I’m more hung up on the dead innocent Mexicans, (at least) one dead US cop, and a plan that had absolutely no logical purpose or intent behind it.

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