Friday, February 10, 2012

The Drug War's Invisible Victims

by Laura Carlsen, FPIF (Foreign Policy in Focus), January 27, 2012

There are many kinds of war. The classic image of a uniformed soldier kissing mom good-bye to risk his life on the battlefield has changed dramatically. In today’s wars, it’s more likely that mom will be the one killed.

UNIFEM states that by the mid-1990s, 90% of war casualties were civilians-- mostly women and children.

Mexico’s drug war is a good example of the new wars on civilian populations that blur the lines between combatants and place entire societies in the line of fire. Of the more than 50,000 people killed in drug war-related violence, the vast majority are civilians. President Felipe Calderón claims that 90% of the victims were linked to drug cartels. But how does he know? In a country where only 2% of crimes are investigated, tried, and sentenced, the government pulled this figure out of its sleeve.  READ MORE


  1. First of all, I would like to say that i did not realize that there were so many different types of war. However, what this blog made me realize in the end was that no matter what kind of war the soldiers are fighting in, someone is risking their own life for the country. The war stays the same but the purpose and setting is all that changes. I find it very sad that it is not only the soldiers fighting in the war that are risking their lives but the civilians as well. For example, like the drug war in Mexico, more than 50,000 people were killed and for what. Crime will surround us anywhere we go and so will war but personally in my mind i will always picture war as a "uniformed soldier kissing mom good-bye to risk his life on the battlefield." Understanding there are many different types of war and that its always changing that will always be my image of war.

  2. On page 28 of Engage, in our course on Nonviolence we learn about the Zones of Leaning and The Violence Spectrum. The spectrum goes from your comfort zone, where you feel things are easy and safe; to your discomfort zone where things might feel interesting, challenging, and perhaps a bit scary; to your alarm zone where you feel overwhelmed, things are difficult, terrifying and paralyzing. The unfortunate reality that the drug war is causing in Mexico, leads all of their citizens to be in the alarm zone all of the time. It is awful to hear about all the innocent civilians dying, and I cannot imagine how hard it is for them to live in fear every day. It is also unfortunate that their President claims that 90% of the victims are linked to the drug cartel, when there is no way he can know the truth or not. When a government is corrupt and violence and war is all around you there is not where to feel safe, and no comfort zone to be found.