Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In some parts of Texas dumb ideas abound

And the beauty of brevity escapes them

I sometimes scan an online journal in Texas as a perverse way of amusing -- actually, annoying myself -- because the uninformed bias of one of its writers is unsurpassed. I went to the site today, and discovered this rambling, at times almost impossible to follow piece: Check it out if you're snowed in somewhere, or stuck on the Amtrack between Grand Central Station and Washington. It will take you a very long time to read. And if you manage to get through it you may ask yourself, as I did, what in the hell did I just read, anyway?

Like a greasy piece of meat or refrigerator leftovers (left over as in from two weeks ago), the article left me with intellectual indigestion. I thought about leaving a Comment, but it probably wouldn't have been approved. So I'll publish my Comment here, instead. Aren't blogs and and personal websites great?

I'm going to assume that some/many of you will not have the desire/energy/time to read the Texas journal article, so I'll summarize it for you: Short title: "Why the Mexican Army is Evil, by _______. In my opinion, the Mexican Army is evil, and really is the cause of all of Mexico's current problems, rather than the drug cartels. The End."

Responsive Comment, by Edward V. Byrne:

A knowledgeable chef once reminded his students that when cooking, the liberal use of shortening is a good idea. It’s a wise admonition for writers, too.

Readers who enjoy rambling, hyper-detailed accounts of life along the frontier may enjoy this No County for Old Men-inspired piece (if they have the patience to wade through it), as will those who share the author’s firmly-rooted misconception that behind all of Mexico’s internal violence is the ejército mexicano (Mexican Army). But those who pay the slightest attention to what is going on in this country will recognize the article as pure sophistry.

In her third paragraph, the author nakedly reveals the blatant prejudice which lurks just beneath the surface of almost everything she pens about Mexico’s security situation: "The federal government sent in the military to quell the violence. Instead the murder rate in the state of Chihuahua exploded." Her case goes straight down-hill from that opening premise. We’re treated to all sorts of dramatic anecdotal accounts of shadowy-source violence against past and present residents of little border hamlets; we learn of testimony by one trafficker against another, allegedly implicating government military units; and just before the curtain goes down (mercifully), mysterious masked men dressed in black make their appearance on stage. Mexican soldiers, perhaps? Or Los Matazetas (the Zeta killers)?!

I’ll resist the urge to say "where’s the beef?," because informed students of contemporary Mexico will see that all we’ve been served up – one more time – is the author’s fact-less but rabid editorializing against the Felipe Calderón administration. The only thing she got right is that 70 years of PRI corruption and bed-sharing with drug traffickers created the horror that Mexico is now facing, which Calderón had to confront when he walked into Los Pinos, Mexico's White House, on December 1, 2006.

My recommendation: tear up your article and start over, with some solid facts as a guide for your chosen (albeit very misinformed) theories. And contemplate the beauty of brevity.

Calderón responds to drug war critics:
Why the Calderón strategy has been the right one:
Why the L.A. Times (and some others) just don't get it:
Why López Obrador drug war plan would be disastrous for Mexico:
Human Rights Watch, reloaded (yawn . . . ):

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