I think the punitive paradigm is not working, because it is a partial strategy and it is only wasting the last resource while exposing the Army and the Navy to the risk of corruption, human rights violations and demoralization. Hundreds of thousands soldiers have deserted the Army over the last years and some of them have joined the drug cartels, making them even more dangerous and powerful. A better strategy has to be international, beginning with a serious effort to reduce drug consumption both in the US and Mexico, attacking the financial power of the drug dealing, and dismantling the command and control structures of the criminal organizations. Soldiers are ill prepared to fight in this arena. Good intelligence and a professional interagency police cooperation should be companion of preventive plans (education and health services. And, like Esteban says, the strategy needs to be hard on corruption too.
For those of you who read Spanish, I invite you to visit my blog on this issues and put comments: