In 1916, Mexican military commander Pancho Villa led a group of armed men on a cross-border raid of Columbus, New Mexico. The attack left 19 Americans dead and many of the town’s buildings razed.
The very next day, then-President Woodrow Wilson and his advisers decided action must be taken, and a military expedition into Mexico would be imminent.
“This can and will be done in entirely friendly aid to the constituted authorities in Mexico and with scrupulous respect for the sovereignty of that Republic,” Wilson said shortly before the U.S. Army entered Mexico in pursuit of Villa’s forces.
Over one hundred years later, the United States is facing a similar problem.
Cartel hitmen can operate with ease in America, killing and then slipping into Mexico where they are safe from the reach of U.S. law enforcement. While these cases sometimes make the news, there’s no telling how many cartel murders are occurring within the borders of the U.S.
The cartel-linked MS-13 gang is no stranger to bloodshed, and its members are often found to be behind gruesome murder in America.
Not every murdered American is killed by a cartel bullet — synthetic and natural opioids are flooding in from our southern border, poisoning tens of thousands of Americans every year.
Earlier this week, the brutality of the cartels became glaringly obvious as they slaughtered American women and children, shooting some and burning others, in an ambush on Mexican soil.
Despite President Donald Trump’s offer to help Mexico combat these violent thugs, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador refused and claimed that his country could handle the cartels with “hugs, not bullets.”
The time for hugs, if there ever was such a time, has passed. All that remains is the need for action.
The cartels operate with seeming impunity in Mexico, with the country’s police and military unable to defeat the criminal syndicates. These thugs are free to spread murder and poison throughout the U.S. and their own country with little repercussion.
Years of neglect of our southern border’s defenses give the cartels a virtual pipeline into the black market of U.S. cities.
Any offense into Mexico wouldn’t be a conflict to prevent abstract harm that may or may not come to American citizens, but an action to stop ongoing violence that threatens the peace and safety of innocent civilians every day.
Unlike the incursion into Mexico in 1916, any modern attempt to stop the cartels without the support of the Mexican national government would likely end in a firestorm for Trump.
Regardless, action needs to be taken.
There’s no telling how any potential conflict would take shape, or whether Mexican forces would assist the United States or simply stand on the sidelines as they have seemingly been doing for years.
It’s clear that cartels will not stop their violence unless forced to. If Mexico is unwilling to do something about it, it’s up to the United States to end the cartels.
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