Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Case for U.S. Military Action Against the Cartels

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images
On Monday, Mexican cartel members brutally murdered nine members of an American family—three women and six children—in the Mexican state of Sonora, about 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona.
It was a horrific attack, in which cartel gunmen opened fire on the three vehicles of the Americans, riddling them with bullets and causing one vehicle to explode.
President Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning:
This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!
His offer was met with a quick dismissal by Mexican President Luis Obrador, who said, “It’s not in agreement with our convictions. The worst thing is war.”
The carnage in Mexico wrought by the drug cartels has reached previously-unseen levels. In 2018, a record number of 33,341 murder investigations were opened, 33% higher than the previous record set in 2017. Although former Mexican President Enrique Peńa Nieto promised to reduce cartel violence, it actually increased 40% during his tenure. President Obrador took office in December 2018 pledging to use the Mexican military to combat the cartels. But the violence continues. A significant reason why is that the corruption that permeates government throughout Mexico also infects the military. Indeed some cartel members brag about how easily they bribe members of the military.
It has become abundantly clear that Mexico cannot or will not defeat the cartels by itself. And now American citizens are being shot, in addition to the thousands of Americans already killed by the fentanyl, meth, and other drugs smuggled into the United States by the cartels. If U.S policy does not change, the cartel killings will continue, because Mexico has proven itself incapable of defeating the cartels. At some point, the United States has to act to protect the lives of its own citizens.
Taking action without the permission of Mexico would be difficult, given that Mexico is a neighbor and a nominal ally of the United States. And at least on the surface, the Mexican government says it doesn’t want our help. But the case for utilizing the U.S. military has become compelling. In addition, there is a way to change the mind of the Mexican President.
1. The cartels should be designated as terrorist organizations.
In March 2019 President Trump publicly stated that he was considering designating the cartels as international terrorist organizations. He should now do so. According to 18 U.S.C. 2331, such terrorism is “intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; [or] (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.” The cartels clearly fit within this definition. They have used violence to intimidate government officials and civilians for decades.
Not only do they meet the definition of terrorist organizations, they function as terrorists and are well-outfitted with military weaponry. And they are more powerful than some other terrorist organizations around the world.
Read the rest from Kris Kobach HERE.

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