Should We Send the Military to Counter the Mexican Drug Cartels? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Should We Send the Military to Counter the Mexican Drug Cartels?

Sen. John Kennedy has added his name to the growing list of elected officials who are now seriously talking about the use of military force to counter the metastasizing influence — which at this point is quite close to total — of the Mexican drug cartels on our southern border. The video below comes from a Thursday Senate hearing, and it’s instructive to see just how uncomfortable Kennedy makes DEA administrator Anne Milgram with such a simple question.

We all know that sending the military, backed up by the federal law enforcement apparatus, to deal with the cartels would very likely seriously inhibit the further application of the drug cartels’ influence on the border and likely dissipate some of the crime wave affecting the interior of the country as well. (READ MORE: Lifting Title 42: Another Step Toward Biden’s Open-Border Dream)

Kennedy knows it. Milgram probably does as well. If she didn’t know it, or if she knew differently, then Kennedy probably would have gotten a better response than the shameful gobbledygook he received.

A refutation and a response explaining how there’s a better way to put a stop to the human trafficking and sex slavery, No. 1, and runaway importation of fentanyl and other deadly drugs, No. 2, that the cartels are responsible for along that border would be welcome — even by Kennedy. Of that, I’m sure.

But he isn’t getting it. And on Tuesday, Kennedy went back to that well and said some things about the border that didn’t involve an infantry division.

“We could secure the border within two months, maybe less: All we’d have to do is follow the law and implement some new policies,” Kennedy said. He continued:

Number one: It’s against the law to try to sneak into our country without the proper credentials. When you’re caught, you’re supposed to be deported — President Biden’s not doing that.

Number two: If you seek asylum status in our country, and [if] you lie, that’s a crime. You’re supposed to be deported. President Biden’s not really deporting anyone.

Number three: We could control the flow with the border by simply saying we have a new rule. It’s called the remain in Mexico program. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why President Biden couldn’t figure this out if I could figure it out. And I finally have come to the conclusion: He doesn’t believe in border security. He thinks that the vetting people with the border is racist. He does. I think he’s wrong. I think it’s prudent: Every other country in the world does it.

Those things are true, but interestingly, Kennedy seemed to be backing away from the idea of the military going in.

But is it prudent to back away from that?

Bear in mind, your author is no neocon. I’m done with supporting foreign adventures in pursuit of Jeffersonian democracy among the barbarians and peasants of the Third World. That’s not what this is.

Nor would I be interested in engaging in a program of nation-building in Mexico should an operation to grind up the Mexican drug cartels get a little messy. Were we to send in troops to break those cartels, it would have to be a snatch-and-grab operation, or, failing that, a punitive expedition.

We’re not trying to make the world safe for democracy. That was a stupid idea when it was first hatched, and it’s only gotten worse since. Its descendants are used as the justification for the forever war in Ukraine, and our ruling class seems so bent on continuing it forever that they don’t seem to see the obvious: that neither side of that conflict can win a total victory and therefore the war will ultimately be resolved at the peace table with some imperfect compromise. It’s either that or never-ending escalation that will lead to a spent American treasury and credit and/or military in a best case, or U.S. cities ablaze in a nuclear holocaust in a not-so-unthinkable worst case.

And yet nobody from the Biden regime will even countenance the idea of negotiating a settlement of that war which has drained our military stockpiles and hundreds of billions of dollars our government doesn’t have.

So no. This is more about attempting to pacify our own border that for about a century we were at least mostly in control of. Because a country without a border is not a country.

I use that time frame because there’s a history along that border that is very much relevant to today’s occurrences.

In the 1910s, Mexico had a civil war. Mexico was ruled by a corrupt, tyrannical government (when is it not?) under a shady figure named Victoriano Huerta, who had come to power in a military coup — at the time with the support of the United States. We pulled that support once we saw how bloody he was and instead endorsed a coalition of rebel fighters — including Venustiano Carranza and Pancho Villa — who conducted a successful revolt against the bloody Huerta.

But by 1915, the Wilson administration had turned on Villa and backed Carranza as the revolutionaries fell out among themselves. Villa, a celebrated figure in Mexican culture despite the fact that he was a bandit and a psychopath capable of the most unspeakable violence imaginable, responded by attacking the town of Columbus, New Mexico, and killing 19 Americans. This followed another Villa escapade — a raid on a train in Chihuahua that resulted in 18 Americans being slaughtered.

In other words, Villa presented a similar situation to that which the drug cartels present today. He was a figure arising from Mexico’s status as a failed and unstable society who presented a national security problem for the United States of America.

Of course, the cartels are responsible for a whole lot more than 37 dead Americans. Between the chaos on the border and the fentanyl holocaust, the death toll is well in excess of the 100,000 people they’ve put in the ground.

After the Columbus raid, President Woodrow Wilson sent John “Blackjack” Pershing with 6,000 U.S. cavalrymen into Mexico to stage a punitive expedition to arrest Villa. For more than a year, Pershing traversed the countryside and harried Villa. He didn’t capture the bandit general, who later retired from revolutionary violence to a 25,000-acre hacienda before being assassinated in 1923. But Pershing did kill a great many of Villa’s men, and the disposition of the adventure was that from then on it was the U.S. government that controlled that border.

Well, we don’t control it anymore. No matter what the Biden administration might have you believe, the border isn’t secure. The cartels control it, and the violence on that border dwarfs anything Pancho Villa and his hired killers were able to summon up a century ago.

Is sending our military into Mexico to rout out the cartels the answer?

Well, that’s debatable, though it’s instructive that nobody from the Biden administration, and especially Anne Milgram, is willing to engage in the debate.

And of course they aren’t. You won’t get a straight answer from them on this or any other subject. Which should make you suspicious.

And you’ll be more suspicious if you ask yourself this question: if the Biden administration was bought off by the Mexican drug cartels, what would it be doing differently than it’s doing now?

We’re a very far cry from entertaining Kennedy’s suggestion.

Perhaps it isn’t a good idea. Maybe it’s better to park the U.S. Army on the border, declare everything from Brownsville to Tijuana a military exclusion zone, shut down the ports of entry and everything between them, and simply end all traffic of people and goods unless it carries specific authorization from guys in green camouflage with little U.S. flag patches on their shoulders.

There is a plan — Kennedy’s or somebody else’s — out there that will eliminate the mess on that border. The problem is that the regime in power isn’t interested in anything like that plan.

That’s why Anne Milgram has nothing but gibberish to offer John Kennedy. And why today’s Pancho Villas deal death and mayhem to the Columbus, New Mexicos, and other similar towns with impunity — and without a Blackjack Pershing coming south to put them on defense.


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Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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