Bono: Propagating The 90% Mexican Violence From American Weapons Myth

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 3 months ago

Bono treats us to some of his wisdom.

“I want you to send a message to people of conscience,” he said.

“Ask them to answer the question. Why is it that all we hear on the news is how drugs are smuggled through Mexico to the United States?

“‘And we don’t hear about all the automatic weapons that are being smuggled into Mexico from the United States. Nine thousand registered arms dealers on the other side of the border. Nine thousand.

“Most of the murders committed here are from weapons sold in the United States of America,” he said.

‘We sing this for the innocents who have lost their lives in the violence here,’ he said, before continuing the song with an alternate lyric:

Late in the evening, April 15
Automatic round takes a mother and child.
Free at last, they took your life
A lioness and her pride In the name of love….’

That’s special and everything, but I guess Bono has never heard of the BATFE gunrunner scandal.  Either way, he is propagating the myth that 90% of the weapons used by the Mexican drug cartels comes from the United States.  But STRATFOR, whom I customarily do not reference (for reasons too complicated to explain here – perhaps I will explain later), has done a magnificent take-down of this myth.

For several years now, STRATFOR has been closely watching developments in Mexico that relate to what we consider the three wars being waged there. Those three wars are the war between the various drug cartels, the war between the government and the cartels, and the war being waged against citizens and businesses by criminals.

In addition to watching tactical developments of the cartel wars on the ground and studying the dynamics of the conflict among the various warring factions, we have also been paying close attention to the ways that both the Mexican and U.S. governments have reacted to these developments. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects to watch has been the way in which the Mexican government has tried to deflect responsibility for the cartel wars away from itself and onto the United States. According to the Mexican government, the cartel wars are not a result of corruption in Mexico or of economic and societal dynamics that leave many Mexicans marginalized and desperate to find a way to make a living. Instead, the cartel wars are due to the insatiable American appetite for narcotics and the endless stream of guns that flows from the United States into Mexico and that results in Mexican violence.

Interestingly, the part of this argument pertaining to guns has been adopted by many politicians and government officials in the United States in recent years. It has now become quite common to hear U.S. officials confidently assert that 90 percent of the weapons used by the Mexican drug cartels come from the United States. However, a close examination of the dynamics of the cartel wars in Mexico — and of how the oft-echoed 90 percent number was reached — clearly demonstrates that the number is more political rhetoric than empirical fact.

As we discussed in a previous analysis, the 90 percent number was derived from a June 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress on U.S. efforts to combat arms trafficking to Mexico (see external link).

According to the GAO report, some 30,000 firearms were seized from criminals by Mexican authorities in 2008. Of these 30,000 firearms, information pertaining to 7,200 of them (24 percent) was submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for tracing. Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States.

This means that the 87 percent figure relates to the number of weapons submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF that could be successfully traced and not from the total number of weapons seized by Mexican authorities or even from the total number of weapons submitted to the ATF for tracing. In fact, the 3,480 guns positively traced to the United States equals less than 12 percent of the total arms seized in Mexico in 2008 and less than 48 percent of all those submitted by the Mexican government to the ATF for tracing. This means that almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico in 2008 were not traced back to the United States.

Oh well.  I never liked U2′s music anyway, and I guess you don’t have to be a genius to be in a rock band.



  • TS Alfabet

    This is a good example of how a democratic republic can lose its way.

    Consider whether there is any difference between what Bono said and the way in which Democrats routinely address our most important, national issues.

    There isn’t.

    Democrats like Pelosi, Reid, Obama and Biden like to think of themselves as rock stars, adored– no, worshiped– by millions and called upon by their minions to pronounce grandiose opinions and flowery statements of towering rhetoric. In other words, for Democrats, it is about image, perception, grandstanding, feeling good about themselves, emotional release. Time and time again, when you look at the statements of Democrats, they are just dead wrong factually. Sometimes it is only gross slopiness, but many times it is out and out falsehood.

    The tragedy here is that we have a major political party in the U.S. with leadership that is no better than rock stars at communicating on vital issues. They are not statesmen, they are simply prima donnas that love to preen in front of the public and spout sound bites that vilify the opposition or demagogue an issue.

    So, I am not going to beat up Bono. He is doing what artists do— getting caught up in emotional issues and indulging his heart over his head. He is, afterall, just an entertainer.

    But to see the Democrats — to see a U.S. President!– do the very same thing is disgraceful and bodes ill for the serious, adult work that needs to be done to save this country.

  • http://umc-unofficiallaymanopenforum.ning.com/ Warbucks

    It just seems to me that Western societies would function no worse if drugs were legalized and we adapted ourselves to operate with the consequences.

  • scott s.

    It is very dangerous to use ATFE trace data for any analysis (though there seems to be a cottage industry of “public health” researchers who attempt to treat it as epidemiological data). It is not a random sample by any means. For example, you will often find claims that ATFE trace data prove that certain handguns are most-used “crime guns”. When you pull the string on the data, you find out the most likely “crime gun”to be successfully traced is used in male suicide. It just so happens that handgun is preferred by males who want to commit suicide and the typical scenario is that the male buys the handgun from a dealer and soon thereafter kills himself. So the weapon is at the crime scene and it is easy to trace manufacturer-distributor-dealer-buyer.

    As far as Bono’s claims about “automatic weapons”, to deal in automatic weapons (in the law defines as machine guns) you can’t just be a licensed “gun dealer”, you must also have a Class III Special Occupational Tax (SOT) license. I don’t know how many Class III dealers there are, but it can’t be that many, even if you throw in Class II manufacturers. Note that for the ATFE, parts which can turn a firearm into a “machine gun” are also covered under the regs for Class III, that is, any transfer requires the transferee to obtain a transfer tax stamp from ATFE. From what I’ve read, ATFE is pretty aggressive about going after illicit manufacturers (for example, installing so-called drop-in automatic sears).

  • Mongreltude

    For admirers of the Second Admendment try looking into project ” fast and furious ” or project ” ”gun runner. ” Here is a ongoing discussion of fellow firearm enthusiasts. PLEASE read it.

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=1145029&page=1

  • http://bit.ly/FirstContact3 Warbucks

    May I post this public opinion poll on the Right to Bear Arms?
    READ THIS AND VOTE!! THEN SEND TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

    Attorney General, Eric Holder, has already said this is one of his major issues. He does not believe the 2nd Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms. This takes literally 2 clicks to complete. Please vote on this gun issue question with USA Today. It will only take a few seconds of your time. Then pass the link on to all the pro gun folks you know. Hopefully these results will be published later this month. This upcoming year will become critical for gun owners with the Supreme Court’s accepting the District of Columbia case against the right for individuals to bear arms.

    Here’s what you need to do:

    First – vote on this one.

    Second – launch it to other folks and have THEM vote – then we will see if the results get published.

    The Question is:

    “Does the Second Amendment give individuals the right to bear arms?”

    Click on the link below http://www.usatoday.com/news/quickquestion/2007/november/popup5895.htm

    USATODAY.com – Quick Question

  • Pingback: The Captain's Journal » St. Petersburg Times Propagates the American Weapons – Mexican Violence Myth

  • Pingback: The Captain's Journal » Notes From HPS


You are currently reading "Bono: Propagating The 90% Mexican Violence From American Weapons Myth", entry #6913 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Mexico and was published May 17th, 2011 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (675)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (28)
Air Power (9)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (6)
Ammunition (13)
Animals in War (4)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
AR-15s (36)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (34)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (25)
Australian Army (5)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (2)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (44)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (15)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (2)
Blogs (4)
Body Armor (16)
Books (2)
Border War (6)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (25)
British Army (35)
Camping (4)
Canada (1)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
CENTCOM (7)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (10)
Christmas (5)
CIA (12)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (2)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (214)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (114)
Department of Homeland Security (9)
Disaster Preparedness (2)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (5)
Drone Campaign (3)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (1)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (1)
Featured (160)
Federal Firearms Laws (14)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (249)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (14)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (38)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (7)
Georgia (19)
GITMO (2)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (188)
Guns (523)
Guns In National Parks (2)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
HAMAS (7)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (7)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (11)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (1)
Horses (1)
Humor (13)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (32)
India (10)
Infantry (3)
Information Warfare (2)
Infrastructure (2)
Intelligence (22)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (169)
Iraq (377)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (33)
Islamists (37)
Israel (17)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (2)
Jihadists (71)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (8)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (2)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (2)
Lawfare (6)
Leadership (5)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (1)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (11)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (7)
Logistics (47)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (229)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
MEDEVAC (2)
Media (22)
Memorial Day (2)
Mexican Cartels (20)
Mexico (24)
Michael Yon (5)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (3)
Military Equipment (24)
Militia (3)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (10)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (16)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (13)
NATO (15)
Navy (19)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (2)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (1)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (53)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (204)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (6)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (17)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Police (104)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (134)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (73)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (74)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (27)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (136)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (22)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (17)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Survival (9)
SWAT Raids (48)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (1)
Tactical Gear (1)
Taliban (167)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (16)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (86)
Thanksgiving (4)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (10)
TSA Ineptitude (10)
TTPs (1)
U.S. Border Patrol (4)
U.S. Border Security (11)
U.S. Sovereignty (13)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (2)
Uncategorized (38)
Universal Background Check (2)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (2)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (210)
War & Warfare (40)
War Movies (2)
War Reporting (18)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (5)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (57)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (11)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2014 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.