The United States will be the only winner in the Mexican government's war on drugs, according to Subcomandante Marcos, spokesman for the Zapatista National Liberation Army, or EZLN.
President Felipe Calderon's militarized struggle against organized crime will leave Mexico a "destroyed, depopulated, irreparably broken nation," Marcos said in an essay, "On Wars," he sent to philosopher Luis Villoro.
Though it still calls itself an army, the EZLN has not engaged in military operations since its initial January 1994 uprising in the southern state of Chiapas.
"Thanks to the sponsorship of Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, we need not resort to the geography of the Middle East to critically reflect on war. It is no longer necessary to turn back the calendar to Vietnam, Playa Giron (the Bay of Pigs)...," the essay says.
Calderon's war on crime was doomed from the start, according to Marcos, because it was "conceived, not as a solution to a problem of security, but to a problem of legitimacy, and it is destroying the last redoubt left to a nation: the social fabric."
The "problem of legitimacy" refers to the circumstances of Calderon's accession to the presidency, which followed months of protests after he narrowly won a July 2006 election marred by allegations of fraud.
The United States, as the "principal provider" of weapons to both the Mexican security forces and the cartels, is the only winner in the drug war, Marcos said.
Even as Washington supplies the Mexican military and police, the cartels acquire many of their weapons - notably assault rifles - from gun shops in U.S. border states.
"What better war for the United States than one that gives it profits, territory and political and military control without the inconvenient 'body bags' and war-wounded that came to it, earlier, from Vietnam, and now from Iraq and Afghanistan?," Marcos asks.
The government says Mexico registered 15,273 gangland killings in 2010, a 58 percent increase over the previous year, and estimates the number of drug-war deaths since Calderon took office in December 2006 at more than 34,000.
Last month, Marcos broke a silence of two years to mourn the death of the bishop emeritus of San Cristobal de las Casas, Samuel Ruiz Garcia, a defender of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas and one-time mediator between the Mexican government and the EZLN.
The subcomandante, a former professor, said the "War" essay is the first of four he plans to send to Villoro, author of "The Challenges of the Society to Come."
Mexico "needs a radical transformation and the only ones conscious of that are the Zapatistas," Villoro said recently.