A self-styled drug-trafficking group calling itself the "Zeta Killers" claimed responsibility this week for the recent murders of at least 35 people believed to belong to the Zetas, Mexico's most violent criminal organization.
The claim by the "Mata Zetas" has stoked fears that Mexico, like Colombia a generation before, may be witnessing the rise of paramilitary drug gangs that seek society's approval and tacit consent from the government to help society confront its ills, in this case, the Zetas.
(Via AoSHQ Headlines) Before you start cheering, the WSJ article goes on to note that these guys (they call themselves Los Mata Zetas, or "Zeta Killers") are probably not so much 'annoyed Mexican citizens taking the law into their own hands' as they are 'rival drug gang members using vigilantism as a cover' - although I suppose that you could be a violent drug gang member and still find the Zetas appalling. Which they are. It's just that it's an open question whether these people are any better: while the WSJ did report that the group assassinated 35 people, the AP notes that that total "included 12 women and two minors." While killing hangers-on of a drug gang may be an effective terrorist tactic, it is nonetheless still a terrorist tactic. And it's a tactic that suggests that angels - even the Old Testament (read: scary) ones - are thin on the ground in Mexico right now.
Of course, the real question - at least, for ugly Americans - is: if Mata Zetas is from a narco-terrorist cartel, then did we sell that group the guns? And if we did, did we do it deliberately? I have been very, very resistant to the idea that the White House may have decided that the best way to control the worst Mexican narco-terrorists (H/T: Transterrestrial Musings and Confederate Yankee) would be to run guns to the somewhat less-awful Mexican narco-terrorists. I mean, it sounds like a subplot in a Tom Clancy novel. LITERALLY. And I would like to believe that the Obama administration would have thought twice, or three times, or however many times it would have taken to realize that running guns to Mexico without telling the Mexican government is what people call a casus belli, not to mention a damnably* stupid idea. Stories like the above make me wonder.
It's a heck of a thing when you have to hope that your government is just being run by idiots who can't be trusted to come in from the rain.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Theological opinion, not profanity.