The nation's top narcotics cops are beginning to re-think their role in law enforcement in terms of counterinsurgency.
It's a war, plain and simple, and a special one at that, a war that employs special weapons and tactics, a war of terror and extortion, soul enslavement through cruel drugs
and a bankroll that can easily buy off low-paid soldiers and policemen by the hundreds.
A Mexican chief of police is gunned down on a Nuevo Laredo street, the top narcotics officer of the nation's fourth-largest city, Houston, is shot in the face.
It's all a part of the daily routine in this hot war of
attrition waged on the streets and in the countryside of two
nations, the U.S. and Mexico.
When Mexico's federal police busted Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez
Villarreal in Toluca, Mexico State, it marked a new
departure in a war within a war.
He had been in a protracted battle with his former
colleague, Hector "El H" Beltran Leyva, for territory once
dominated by Leyva's organization.
When the Mexican cops stepped in, they gained not only a
treasure trove of new information about the gangs, their
members and a look at the books, but they took an active
counterinsurgency role in a war that is beginning to
threaten the social fabric on both sides of the border.
In any big city, drug gangs extract "street taxes" from
businesses as diverse as the local beauty or barber shop or
concerns as large as Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX).
Police executives are studying hard.
They are scouring books on the subject of this new and
unconventional warfare, according to two brainy analysts, a
Los Angeles County cop and a career foreign policy and
security specialist, John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus.
Both have written extensively about intelligence, terrorism,
transnational gangs, counterinsurgency and small wars.
Here is a lineup of their best recommendations in reading
material devoted to this new paradigm of police work:
"Accidental Guerilla," David Kilcullen
"Leaderless Jihad," Marc Sageman
"Criminal Insurgency in America," John Sullivan
"Criminal States and Criminal Soldiers," Robert J. Bunker
"Brave New War," John Robb
"Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime and
Militancy," John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt