Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Mexico Thursday to garner support for Obama's plan to help Mexico fight drug cartels and to keep violence from spilling over into the U.S.
At a press conference with Mexico's foreign minister, Clinton said a big part of the plan is focused on the the U.S. side of the border.
Keep Drugs, Violence Out of U.S.
"I have discussed with the secretary and with the president and the foreign secretary what the United States can do to reduce the demand for drugs in our own country and to stop the flow of illegal guns across our border to Mexico," Clinton said.
Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano will travel to Mexico in coming days to work out the details of the Obama plan.
Here at home, the adminstration's plan is already coming under fire from critics, even as Mexico announced the arrest of one of 37 most wanted drug smugglers Wednesday.
It was only a drop in the bucket in the war to save Mexico from narco-terrorist anarchy.
Outgunned Mexican authorities are fighting a paramilitary terrorist war, waged by powerful drug gangs outfitted with the latest military hardware: Night vision, encrypted communications, rocket propelled grenades, mines and heavy machine guns. Weapons flow from the U.S. to Mexico. Drugs flow back.
Solution: $700 Million Surge
The Department of Homeland Security's solution is a $700 million surge, which includes sending more than 100 agents and five helicopters to the border.
"I believe our role is to assist in this battle, because we have our own security interests in its success," Secretary Napalitano said.
But the Obama strategy was pilloried by critics. A former top DEA official said it fails to offer a long term solution.
"If the strategy to stop drug trafficking is to guard the one yard line, you are doomed to failure," Michael Braun said.
Under the Obama plan, the 100 new ATF agents sent to stop gun smuggling from the U.S. will only be on temporary assignment for 45 days.
It also sends $89 million to local U.S. law enforcement on the border, where violence and kidnappings are spilling over the border. It's "inadequate," says a former national security advisor.
"That's nowhere near enough to stop the up-tick in crime on the American side of the border because of this insurgency," Richard Clarke said.
There were 5,300 drug related murders in Mexico last year. That's more than all the U.S. troops killed in Iraq. But some fear the death toll in 2009 will be worse.