During the first half of the 20th Century, the United States fought a number of actions in Central America and the Caribbean, called Banana Wars, to “stabilize” places like Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, and to protect American interests in the region.
In 1989, the United States sent troops into Panama in Operation Just Cause and ousted that nation’s leader, Manuel Noriega. Then-President George H.W. Bush said the action was necessary to protect the lives of U.S. citizens in Panama, as well as to combat drug trafficking, and to protect the human rights of Panamanian citizens.
In 1993, the United States led an invasion into the Caribbean Island nation of Grenada, off the coast of Venezuela, in the wake of a military coup there. American officials cited the general political instability in a country near U.S. borders, as well as concern for the safety of American medical students studying at St. George’s University on Grenada as reasons for the military action.
No, this isn’t a history lesson, but rather a description of just a few of the times this country has sent our troops to countries close to us to protect American lives, or to “stabilize” countries, to protect human rights, or to fight drug trafficking. We have a long history of poking our nose in where it may or may not be needed, depending on your political viewpoint.
These days we’re doing the same thing on a global basis, as far away as Iraq and Afghanistan.
So I have to ask, is it time to intervene in Mexico?
I know that may sound scary, or maybe like I’m a war monger, but let’s just look at current events and how they relate to history for a moment.
American lives in danger? Americans like Robert Krentz, the Cochise County, Arizona rancher who was murdered on his own property near the Mexican border earlier this year? Or Americans like David Hartley, who was killed by Mexican pirates while jet skiing on Falcon Lake, on the U.S.-Mexican border, last week? Or how about the squad of armed National Guard troops who had to back off when Mexican gunmen approached their Arizona border post in 2007? What about those American lives? And the lives of all of the other American citizens who are in danger anywhere near the border?
Protecting human rights? Honest Mexican policemen, judges, journalists, and everyday citizens are being tortured and murdered in the most horrific ways, on almost a daily basis, as their nation reels deeper and deeper into chaos. What about their human rights?
Combating drug trafficking? Nobody denies that most of the unrest in Mexico is directly related to drug cartels battling each other and the authorities for control. The U.S.-Mexican border is a sieve through which drug traffickers seem to be able to move their illegal cargo almost at will. Along Interstate 8 in Arizona, there are even signs warning American citizens not to go hiking or even stop their cars, because of danger from drug smugglers!
Bringing stability to the region? Just read any newspaper or internet news post, or turn on a television. Better yet, talk to somebody living in one of our border states. I know people who swore they would never own a firearm who now routinely carry a gun for protection. These are not folks who are scared by campfire tales, but rather people who are tired of having their homes burglarized, their cars hijacked, and of fearing for their lives in their own country.
Aren’t these prime examples of the same reasons we have intervened in countries all over this hemisphere, almost since we became a nation?
Nobody hates war more than the guy who has been in one. And I don’t care if it’s battle on a world-wide scale, or a border skirmish, if somebody is shooting at you, it’s war! But I also know that there is a time when fighting is necessary, if you want to stop the bullies of the world from taking over. Is it that time in Mexico?
Tags: Banana Wars, Border violence, Cochise County Arizona, Combating drug trafficking, Cuba, drug trafficking, frivolous lawsuits, Haiti, Honduras, human rights, Mexican drug cartels, Mexican pirates, Mexican policemen murdered, Mexican unrest, military coupe, Nicaragua, Operation Just Cause, Panama, political instability, President George H.W. Bush, protect American lives, the Dominican Republic, U.S. invasion of Grenada