There can be no doubt that if a terrorist group like ISIS were operating with impunity just across the border from America, U.S. lawmakers would take immediate action to neutralize this threat and restore order. Yet somehow, just across the line separating the U.S. from Mexico, drug lords are committing acts so depraved and inhuman that even ISIS foot soldiers must be shaking their heads in disgust and incredulity.
Beheadings, mutilation, torture, carving letters into the flesh of their enemies, and dousing victims in gasoline are among the wanton acts of debauchery committed by Mexican cartels; and their smuggling operations bring violence and crime across the border into the U.S. To address this problem, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) proposed the U.S. should use military force to end the cartels’ violent reign of terror.
At America’s front door
U.S. efforts to contain these violent paramilitary cartels have historically been limited to law enforcement measures. The Obama administration sought to fight back with a domestic policy aimed at reforming U.S. gun laws and reducing the demand for drugs in America.
Obama’s anemic policies have resulted in failure. In 2011, one of the deadliest years of fighting in Afghanistan, a resident of the Mexican state of Chihuahua was nine times more likely to meet a violent end than an Afghan civilian.
Cruz argues that an international military coalition may be the best strategy for ending the violence in Mexico. He references “Plan Columbia,” a military action in the South American nation of Columbia where President George W. Bush allied with his executive counterpart to break up the cartels there. Cruz explained:
It was treated less as a law enforcement matter than as a military matter. Where our military went into Colombia and helped destroy the cartels.
This is not the first time that Cruz has offered inventive strategies for dealing with a chaotic Mexican government. In April, the Senator introduced the El Chapo Act, a bill meant to take money seized from Mexican drug cartels and reallocate these funds towards border security and building Donald Trump’s wall.
Cruz acknowledges the difficulty of cooperating with a country that is so thoroughly corrupted by the cartels. He admits that co-opting the Mexican government is “an enormous challenge” where “too many of the police and the prosecutors and the judges are corrupt.”
More than half a dozen Mexican governors are currently under investigation or fighting charges of corruption, and of the 42 governors suspected of corruption since 2000, only three were ever imprisoned for their crimes. Activists seeking reform or the implementation of anti-corruption laws quickly find themselves the subject of threats from cartel forces, prompting many citizens to remain accepting of the status quo.
Cruz has offered a refreshing solution to a problem that affects more than just Mexican society. The number of heroin overdoses has quadrupled in the U.S. since 1999, in an epidemic that is fueled and sustained by Mexican drug cartels.
In America’s backyard, a war is being waged and an entire country is suffering from corruption, poverty and downright evil. Just because there is not a deformed religious ideology at the center of the conflict in Mexico does not disqualify the discriminate use of American military firepower to bring peace and stability.