For nearly 20 years none has challenged the supremacy of the United States in the open-ocean, blue-water environment. Increasingly, the contest of ideas is being waged in niche arenas, in the littorals, the near-shore green-water areas, and up and down contested riverine estuaries that provide concealment and cover for terrorists, pirates, and warlords. It is in these areas that the slow erosion of law and order is an accepted fact of life, and it is in these areas that the U.S. Navy must go if it is sincere in its strategic premise that preventing wars is at least as important as winning them. This is the environment of the Influence Squadron.
A Washington Post Special Report on wartime brain injuries.
According to this timely report by Landmine Action, each year thousands of direct civilian casualties result from the use of explosive weapons in such circumstances. Some are killed outright or later succumb to their injuries, while others are left maimed and traumatized. There are further indirect costs that come from damage to infrastructure and the often long-term threat to civilians, particularly children, and to livelihoods of munitions left unexploded. Ultimately, development is impaired, further compounding the plight of those individuals, families and communities that have suffered the effects of explosive weapons.
In other words, Moyes and Carvin seem to be on the same page with respect to regulating conventional explosives. Carvin doesn’t elaborate what regulations she has in mind or why they would be more humanitarian than Moyes’, but some of the organization’s specific proposals include establishing a mechanism to accurately count civilian casualties from explosive violence so some determination can be empirically made about whether these weapons can or cannot be used in a controlled manner; and in particular to reduce their use in specific areas where civilian casualties are likely to be highest.
Veteran human rights lawyer Gustavo de la Rosa, an investigator for the Chihuahua state human rights commission that covers Ciudad Juarez, analyzed a pool of 5,000 drug war dead in the city, only separated from El Paso, Texas, by a wire fence and the dry river bed of the Rio Grande. Based on data showing Mexican men aged 18-35 have an average 1.7 kids, de la Rosa estimated they left 8,500 orphans behind.
Extend the math over a national level and Mexico, which considers a child to be orphaned even if its mother survives, could be looking at a total of 50,000 drug war orphans to date.
Christopher R. Albon is a political science Ph.D. specializing in armed conflict, public health, human security, and health diplomacy.