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Mexico's extreme makeover

The US Congress must not undercut Mexico's effort to root out corrupt cops and drug cartels.

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Call it Mexico's second revolution. A government campaign to root out corrupt cops and smash drug cartels has escalated into the kind of violence that hints it is working. Why then is the US Congress challenging an aid package aimed at helping Mexico become a lawful, prosperous country?

Both the House and Senate have passed measures that would provide less than the $550 million requested by President Bush in a three-year program to support Mexico's cartel-busting efforts. And some in Congress appear bent on attaching strings to the aid package, demanding the very kind of law-enforcement reform that President Felipe Calderón desires in order to keep his country from descending into a narco-state.t

Congress risks a nationalist backlash in Mexico by such gringo-like bullying. Mexico doesn't attach such strings to its ties with the US and require an end to the giant sucking sound of $40 billion in illegal narcotics flowing to American drug users.

And Mexican police and military badly need the equipment and technical support that only the US can provide to fight the well-armed and politically entrenched cartels, whose tentacles are slithering farther across the border into street gangs and mainstream US society.

Since taking office 18 months ago, Calderón has deployed the army and federal police against the cartel bosses, who are fighting back hard by murdering top officials in a reign of political terror. The president himself has had to beef up his protection, especially after this month's assassination of the acting national police chief.

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