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?

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21 Comments on Is It Time?

  1. Randy Fortner says:

    I don’t know Nick. I hear what you’re saying but it scares me. Something has to be done but how far can and should we go? Of course, given the present state of American politics it would never happen anyway. And if it did, we’d probably turn all of our border states over to Mexico as compensaton when it was all over.

  2. The root cause of the Mexican drug violence problem is the American addiction to illegal drugs, and I just don’t know how to solve this problem.

    In the 1920’s we learned the hard way that attempts to prevent access to alcohol created monsters like Al Capone. It became clear in that era that the cure could be worse than the problem.

    Are we seeing the same reaction to our current attempts to prevent a minority of Americans from doing stupid things? Might it be time to allow a few dumb people to ruin their lives legally, in order to foster the greater good? If legalization of currently illegal drugs would eliminate the Mexican drug violence problem, as well as prevent pervasive gang violence in American cities, it might be the lesser of evils.

    I am not necessarily advocating legalization; I am simply trying to look at all the angles. Our current approach is not working, and has not worked over a period of years. I am confused and perplexed about where to go from here. I’m not sure war is the right answer.

    Sorry to ramble. As I said, I’m confused and uncertain.

  3. Kathe says:

    I am neither for nor against your suggestion at this moment….but it is interesting how close the narcotrafficking violence is to the US border and how far away the other conflicts in your list were.

  4. MichaelG says:

    Just legalize drugs and see what happens. You can always make them illegal again later.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with Prop 19 in California. I expect it will immediately be challenged in court, and the Federal government will scream bloody murder (can’t have the states contradicting the feds!), but I hope it passes and stays passed.

    Note that I’m not some dope fiend (I don’t even drink.) But this is a drug that hurts very few people — fewer than alcohol. The law enforcement expenses and jail time do a lot more damage than the drug.

    If Americans could produce their own drugs, the war in Mexico would stop instantly, and save thousands of lives. It will also save billions of dollars in law enforcement expenses here in the U.S.

    Why is this hard?

  5. Tom in Ohio says:

    I don’t believe you solve a problem by giving in to it. Money and votes have replaced the values that America once had. I too would approve a hands on approach to clean up our borders. President Bushs action against our foe was simple and direct.
    Straight talk and then back it up with action when needed. Lets fly the “don’tread on me” flag again. You have a choice…defend or be defeated. We’ve seen the clips on TV…..muslim or hispanic..they have booth told us we are going to take over your country. If your going to legalize drugs, why not just open the borders up to all who would destroy us?

  6. D.Dot says:

    Rather than spending billions being the world’s police to “stabilize and protect our interests abroad”, why don’t we focus on bringing back our exported jobs to strengthen our economy and research more aggressively ways to replace our dependence on fossil fuels? Then, use our military might to protect our borders and put tougher laws to control immigration. Lets focus on making America healthy again. To the international press, we have become bullies – it has become tough to argue that point since so many of us can no longer justify why we are sending our young men only to be killed or maimed with no worldly recognition.

  7. Dave C. says:

    I’ve read the responses and for the most part agree. The problem is diverse but I’m not sure military action in Mexico is the answer.
    How about calling up the commanding general of the Marine Corps and telling him to do what ever is necessary to secure the border?
    Then keep the politicians off his back and let his troops do the job. That won’t take more than a couple of weeks.

  8. Agree with MichaelG.

    Legalize marijuana and cocaine, tax them and use the tax revenue to pay for military on the border. Allow individuals to grow marijuana on private land for private consumption just like we can make our own beer and wine.

    Take the insane 1,000% profit out of drugs and you’ll instantly stop most of the crime and violence. Look at prohibition in the 1920’s for a history lesson.

  9. And what did we really accomplish in all those “interventions” in ouw hemisphere? And what are we actually going to accomplish in Afghanistan?

  10. there are some great posts here today ..Of which I totally agree with most of them. Where are these sound minds when it comes to electing our government in D.C.
    History repeats its self… And I totally agree with Dave C. Call out the Marines !!!!! And turn them loose on all our Borders. They will put a stop to this Crap in a hurry !!!!

  11. Gina Ellis says:

    Prohibition does not work. It didn’t work with alcohol and it isn’t working with drugs. Legalize them, control them, tax them. That will do several things. It will unclog our judicial system, greatly reduce our need for prisons, help the budget, and put the drug lords out of business. OK, some folks are still going to abuse drugs, but aren’t they doing that now? Regarding Mexico and military action: We need to secure our borders using whatever means is necessary…all our borders, not just the southern one. Invading Mexico isn’t the answer. We’re spread too thin militarily as it is. On the other hand, we should have annexed them when we had the chance about 100 years ago.

  12. Jim@HiTek says:

    I’m against the idea at least until our troops are home from Afghanistan and Iraq. And we should bring back the troops from Korea too. I wonder…do we still have troops on the East German border?

  13. Mike Auschouser says:

    I agree with you. I’d much rather see our troops cleaning up the mess on our border than getting killed on the other side of the world in battles that do us no good at all.

  14. Ray T says:

    An argument could be made that if we actually did something constructive in Mexico by providing the funding to fix their problems and give their people honest work at livign wages, they wouldn’t need to manufacture and sell drugs to Americans, or come across the border and commit crimes to survive. There is no problem in the world that can’t be fixed if you throw enough money at it. And it would still be cheaper than military action, or what we’re doing now that isn’t working.

  15. Rob Fox says:

    At the end of the day the USA has to do what it takes to protect it’s citizens. There is, however, a lot that can be done before contemplating yet another campaign on foreign soil.

    The USA and it’s citizens have control of three key elements of the problem: demand, guns & the entry and exit points.

    The demand for mind altering substances has probably been with us ever since stone age man chewed on a new piece of foliage and found that he quite liked it. The whole point about liberty is being able to do what you darn well like …… so long as you don’t have an adverse effect on others. Demand is very difficult to control and history has proven that making substances “illegal” has unintended consequences. I feel that honest education, as to the health risks, and legalisation is the way to go ……. carefully. (mind you that opens up a new thread on the “free market”)

    The violence is greatly fuelled by the free flow of firearms into the region. Much could be done to stop this abuse of your right to bear arms. I understand how emotive this subject is but it’s time to do something.

    Finally, the border needs to be plugged both ways. There is a lot of it to protect but the country and it’s citizens needs protection.

    The USA saved the free World in the last century and put a man on the Moon ….. surely it can deal with this problem.

  16. Allan says:

    Our country has a right and a duty to protect our borders and the citizens of the USA. The federal government has been shirking its duty. It should allow only legal traffic across its borders and I don’t mean legalizing illegal immigrants. I don’t want to involve our country in a war in Mexico if it can be prevented. Legalizing drugs won’t stop crime. Many people steal and commit all types of crime because they are taking drugs. I have seen how drugs affect not only people’s behavior but also their attitudes and morals. It might have something to do with the shape the country is in now.

  17. Alex says:

    Your rosy view of America as one who combats, stabilizes, and protects needs to be tempered with the alternate arguments presented in the book An Economic Hitman. A must read for anyone who really wants to understand our past and current foreign policy decisions.

  18. ken t says:

    Do not start a war with Mexico! Trade with them. Give them all
    of California for an area of Mexico,say 20 miles south of our
    the existing border. From Yuma Az.to the gulf of Mexico. Offer Israel this new state,lets call it New Israefornia Put them and
    all our troups we will recall from the big sand piles of the east and they could defend our borders agenst Mexico and Old california. Within no time they would have new settlements and
    green fields and solar everything. Make it clear to them that
    nothing other than eatable fruits and vegetables comes across
    our borders.At the same time we would expell all undocumented/
    illegals and make everyone who has became a U.S. citizen in the last 25 years reafirm their alliance and take a Polly test to that fact! Anyone who fails Must leave within 24 Hrs. going back
    to whereever they came from! Note; there would be a vacuum in
    Israel and those that have said they would drive everyone from there would race in to claim it. Maybe they will annihilate eachother and save us the job. All those Mexicans who were displaced in our trade ,would have three choices,Become legal
    U.S.citizens and go whereever they want,or go to Old calif. or go further south in Mexico! Sounds like A Good Deal To Me

  19. KevinH says:

    I agree with securing our borders with our troops. Also legalizing, taxing and controlling pot and cocaine. Then, eliminating the drug cartell compounds and production facilities. We can do this with stealth bombers and pin-point accuracy weapons. This would send a powerrul message and minimize collateral damage. No warnings.

    A hard stand for hard times.

  20. Ben says:

    Legalize marijuana and the other commonly smuggled drugs. That will drain the money from the cartels. They’ll wither on the vine and the violence will vanish. We’ll also get better control of drugs and drug crimes once they are out in the open.

  21. ken t says:

    You people who want to legalize mary jane or any other mind altering substance have got your heads up your behinds! Yes,legalizing liqueur did put tons of cash in the government
    coffers and made a lot of people money. Joseph kennedy comes to mind ,along with many others. however, there are thousands of stills going strong today pumping out gallons of illiegal booze.
    You can get your share if you know the right people. And yes there is a lot of corruption connected to this.Wise up America
    Ken T

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