Michael Ware


AAM: "This war has been going on for at least two years and it's only now that American people are waking up to that."

Length: 4:33

LARGE (63.1 MB) ----- SMALL (5.6 MB)

Michael was on from New York this morning, discussing the reality of the situation in Mexico. He also confirmed that he will soon be moving there to cover the story. He asks during the piece how we are going to stem the demand for illegal drugs ... talk about an unsolvable problem!

KIRAN CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

Is the White House ready for this plan to deal with drug violence in Mexico? "The Washington Post" is reporting that President Obama's plan would include sending more federal agents to the border. That announcement could come just as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Mexico City. Her two day trip starts Wednesday and President Obama is also planning a visit next month.

Our Michael Ware has been tracking the deadly gun battles between the cartels and Mexican authorities and he joins us now to discuss the plan.

Okay. Welcome, by the way. Good to see you this morning.


CHETRY: The earlier, the better, right? You're always asking to be in the 6:00 hour.

WARE: Oh, my god! Today, of all days. Sorry.

CHETRY: All right. This plan to actually put more U.S. boots on the ground, what type of impact do you think that will have?

WARE: Not much. In my opinion. And yet, we haven't heard the detail, of course, and when we say boots on the ground, we're talking about a few DEA officials who, I would suspect, would be relaying intelligence about the cartels, and will be cooperating with their Mexican counterparts. That is a good thing. But what kind of a dent is it going to make in a fight where estimates say that there is a hundred thousand cartel foot soldiers who are as heavily armed as some American infantry platoons?

The solution has to be much more drastic. Yes, it's a good thing to send extra help, but it's a finger in the dike.

CHETRY: This is interesting. There are a couple other people who agree with you. John Cook is the mayor of El Paso, it's a border town, of course. He's saying that the deployment of federal troops is really not the way to go. He thinks that a safer and a more effective approach for federal help, if we're getting it here, would be to search all vehicles heading south into Mexico, that you need to stop a lot of these guns that are coming from the U.S.

WARE: Yes, I saw that. They are talking about now using extra techniques to detect weapons in vehicles as they cross over. The sad fact is that these cartels are good operators, they always find a way to get their guns. And the guns is only one part of it. What America is trading is guns and the demand for the drugs. And Mexico is the one that bears the brunt of the violence and is a recipient of the benefits that America is giving.

We're now seeing it spill over the border. You know? We're seeing in Tucson, house invasions where they're kidnapping children to get drug debts repaid. I mean, it's...

CHETRY: Will that ever change? I mean, we understand the demand for drugs is coming from the United States. Has that ever changed?

WARE: Well, I mean, think of Prohibition. I mean did demand for alcohol change? Fortunes were made by some of America's most prominent families. Can anyone find an answer to curb the demand for drugs from America? Because as long as you have that, forget the guns, forget everything else. They will find a way.

Now, at this point, there are two things that you need in this war with the cartels. One is intelligence. Information on who is doing what and how. We don't have a lot of that and Mexico doesn't have a lot of that yet. The other thing is you need honest, reliable boots on the ground in uniform and Mexico is using the army because they can't trust the federal police or the local police.

Essentially, America, in an extreme situation, would have to send in American troops to basically fight a counterinsurgency and none of us want to see that but that is where we're at. I can't begin to tell you how terrible the situation is.

CHETRY: Well, you're living there, right now, right? Or you're going to be soon?

WARE: Yes, I will be soon. Yes.

CHETRY: You'll be able to tell us firsthand. Hopefully there will be some progress made. Secretary Clinton is heading to Mexico City Wednesday and President Obama is planning a visit next month. So keep us posted.

WARE: I shall, but the thing is with all of the good intentions, what are they offering? I mean, it's such a difficult problem here. Much different to al Qaeda and the Taliban, but also with a similar dynamic. Basically, this war has been going on for at least two years and it's only now that American people are waking up to that. That, in itself, is a crime. It's going to take some real commitment to deal with this.

CHETRY: Always great to see you, Michael Ware, international correspondent.

WARE: Thank you.

CHETRY: Thanks for being with us this morning.

WARE: Oh, I'm so good in the mornings.