The ‘Mexican Heat’ in real life may exceed my own imagination

Terrible reports drifted north this weekend, as news emerged of a battle in Mexico that almost defies comprehension.

Mexican forces arrested one of their biggest targets: El Chapo’s son, Ovidio Guzmán Lopez, who they planned to extradite to the United States. So far, so good.

But then the Sinaloa Cartel responded before the government forces could exfiltrate the target area. The Sinaloa Cartel captured eight members of the military and reportedly even took families of some of the soldiers hostage, according to The New York Times.

The Washington Post summed the battle up brilliantly: the operation proved that “in parts of Mexico, the government can be outmanned, outgunned, and outsmarted by drug cartels.”

In the end, the Mexican forces released Ovidio Guzmán Lopez and retreated from the city, running for their lives. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suffered a humiliating embarrassment with the raid and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds.

For now, his response seems (to me) absolutely ridiculous.

“You can’t fight fire with fire,” he said of the decision to hand Guzmán back to his cartel. “We do not want dead people, we do not want war. And this takes a lot to understand.”

In the end, seven people died, including one civilian, and sixteen others were injured, the Times reports.

I only share all this because it brought up some old (sweet) memories of a fictional book that I wrote a few years back. The book begins with a simple plot of the United States sending armed forces to deal with the cartels. Initially, it’s a group of Navy SEALs. This attempt fails badly in my hypothetical book (almost like the raid described above), and America is at a loss for what to do.

In the end, the U.S. President sends in a contractor, off-the-books force led by my infamous character Nick Woods, who first showed up in Sold Out.

When I wrote the book (Mexican Heat), I worried I pushed the limits of believably. I describe the cartels attacking police stations, the presidential palace, you name it. I even have them led (through part of the book) by a vicious, Uzi-toting character who likes to hack up prisoners with a katana (Japanese sword).

The book boasts huge amounts of action and tension, and is epic in scale, in my opinion. (Almost Tom Clancy-like in scope, in fact, as the Mexican government is on the verge of collapse and the entire economy is on the brink of disintegrating.) Not to mention, there are loads of battles and probably two-hundred-plus folks killed in small unit action.

Really awesome stuff if you’re into action books like me. 🙂

But as time has gone by, since I published the book in 2014, I’m no longer convinced that the book is outlandish at all. Or at least not by much.

In my book, there’s an escape from the “country’s most-secure prison,” as I call it. Yet in real life, El Chapo escaped from a federal maximum-security prison TWICE.

In my book, the Mexican President is paralyzed by the violence and threats to his government. Yet just three days ago, the forces of the Mexican President surrendered to the cartels and fled a city of more than 785,000. Did I mention above that Culiacán is also the capital of the state of Sinaloa? (I know, it’s almost impossible to believe.)

At any rate, it seems the ‘Mexican Heat’ in real life may exceed my own imagination. Or maybe not. Judge for yourself, if you choose.

Okay, here’s my sales pitch so I can pay the bills. If you want to read a really fun book, that’s a hell of a ride (and where no one really dies), pick up a copy of Mexican Heat. Or if you want, just keep up with the news coming out of the south in real life and it might be just as entertaining and hard to believe.

Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

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Stan R. Mitchell is the author of nine, fast-paced novels. He’s sold more than 70,000 books and writes military action and mystery genre, mostly. He’s also a prior infantry Marine, who LOVES writing!! Click the link at left to check out his books.

My small political rant

As my long-time readers know, I do my best to avoid political posts. Lord knows, I can’t afford to lose half my readers. (Not now. And probably not ten years from now.)

But having said that, I can’t help but address a certain topic this week. No, I’m not talking impeachment. I’m not talking Trump, or Dems, or Left versus Right. I’m simply going to talk about the abandonment of the Kurds in Syria.

I’m not going to get into the weeds of it. Like, whether it’s just the “Kurds” or simply the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which were Kurdish-led. Or who’s to blame or why. I could do those things, but I don’t want to make this political.

The bottom line is I think MOST agree it was a really shitty thing to do. To abandon our allies like that. And thankfully, even Republicans are bucking the President on this.

I’m really hoping that Congress (in a bipartisan fashion) stands up to the President on this one. For the good of the Kurds, who lost a ton of people fighting ISIS (partly for us). And also for the good of our country. (What I mean by this is that I feel strongly that our country works best when our government operates as three co-equal branches, each with a system of checks and balances; just for a situation like this.)

If you feel as I do, sent a line or email or tweet (or something) to your Congressman and/or Senator. Let them know that we shouldn’t be abandoning our allies. And that we shouldn’t allow ISIS to reconstitute because the Kurds can’t pressure the terrorist group (because a feakin’ NATO ally, that we mostly helped arm, is whacking the crap out of them).

Okay, that’s the end of my rant. Don’t hate me for it.

Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

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New front page graphic 2
Stan R. Mitchell is the author of nine, fast-paced novels. He’s sold more than 70,000 books and writes military action and mystery genre, mostly. He’s also a prior infantry Marine, who LOVES writing!! Click the link at left to check out his books.

 

Marine Corps to use Artificial Intelligence to find new spec ops troops

I happened across an article on the use of Artificial Intelligence (link to Wikipedia about Artificial Intelligence) this week that first struck me as ludicrous. It seems the military could start using Artificial Intelligence to help decide who makes it into Marine special operations. (Article link.)

Being a bit skeptical, I read on. Mainly, I thought I’d mock what a dumb idea such a thing was. And ridicule the idiotic bean counters and bureaucrats who seemed naturally wired to mess up the tried-and-true, old way of doing things.

But the article describes why the military has been forced to consider the change. Essentially, it costs a ton of money to train a special ops soldier. (These days, they’re called MARSOC Raiders, but in my day they were called Force Recon Marines. But that’s a side tangent that’ll just make me feel old.)

Back to the point, besides a boatload of money, it also takes a SOLID two years, minimum, to train a MARSOC Raider (and that doesn’t count the boot camp, infantry training, and other stuff you must do even BEFORE you begin your MARSOC-specialized training).

Thus, you don’t want the hypothetical Sergeant Smith to get near the end of his MARSOC training and suddenly fail out of something. Or worse, decide that, “Well, ya know, maybe I’m not really enjoying this whole special ops, life-moving-at-a-100-mph thing after all.”

Not only would the Marine Corps lose that slot, but they lost the two years it’s going to take to get another shooter into that position.

According to the article, the AI will be used to study current Marines who have proven themselves to be successful in special operations, and who have lasted a long time in the highly demanding (and dangerous) jobs.

They’re trying to find certain characteristics. Maybe these types typically come from the South? Or from urban areas that lack many opportunities? Or from traditional families, with a strong support system? Or maybe from broken families, where as a youth the Marine had to be independent and look out for themselves?

Anyway, check out the article if it strikes your interest. Here’s the link again.

I’d love to hear your all’s thoughts on this. Does your company or industry use AI in anyway? And as a sidenote, maybe I need to use AI to decide what book I should write next!! (As a teaser, I think next week I’ll tell you what project I’m currently working on...)

That’s it from here, guys. Thanks for all your support! And hope you all have a great weekend!

Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

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New front page graphic 2
Stan R. Mitchell is the author of nine, fast-paced novels. He’s sold more than 70,000 books and writes military action and mystery genre, mostly. He’s also a prior infantry Marine, who LOVES writing!! Click the link at left to check out his books.