Texas Governor Rick Perry may run for president in 2012 and he needs an issue to differentiate himself from the rest of the field. He needs a populist message, which will resonate with the average gun-chewing American. Ideally, he would love an issue that can be reduced to a bumper sticker. He thinks he has found one. "United States Into Mexico". Perry has started to beat the drums calling on the United States to send troops into Mexico to combat the drug cartels currently at war with the Mexican government.
For Perry, this issue has winner written all over it. It isn't a Tea Party issue and it quickly separates him from Sarah Palin. It portents to give him foreign policy street creed which most governors lack. Americans don't like Mexicans very much and a large majority in red states hate so many Mexicans illegally entering this country. Being against drugs is a no brainer and going to war with drug cartels is something the American people can understand. It's the Untouchable all over again. It's romantic and for once you have clear good guys and bad guys. It's so simple. Bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and send them into Mexico. You can hear the anthems being written and sung on every country radio station across the fruited plains and Hanbaugh will have testosterone overdoses pushing for America to finally "win" one like we used to do.
I wouldn't be giving Perry much attention, after all he's the one who suggested Texas could secede from the union if Washington ticked them off too much, but I heard a supposed moderate to centrist talk show host on KGO endorsing the proposal and that caused my ears to perk up and my stomach to turn.
The argument goes like this. Violence in Mexico will inevitably spill over into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. American lives will be in jeopardy. The Mexican government is incapable of dealing with the causes so we, the most powerful n nation on earth, will step in to quell the violence and save the day. Oh, and if anyone should argue against this idea, they are acknowledging the United States has become and impotent, toothless, paper tiger unable to protect its own. Santayanna is doing cartwheels in his grave.
We heard similar arguments to justify this nations engagement in Vietnam as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. We were told young Americans had to go fight and die in these countries in order to protect us here at home. We were told if we didn't fight in Vietnam, eventually the enemy would be crossing the Mexican border. Better to fight them there than here, remember? If we didn't fight in Iraq, Saddam would use weapons of mass destruction against us. (Remember the mushroom cloud in Manhattan warning?) Obama upped the ante in Afghanistan based on the premise failure there would lead to destruction here. How have those wars turned out so far? Did the peoples of those countries welcome us with open arms? Now, we are told we should send troops into Mexico once again to safeguard the homeland. Will we ever learn?
What would American troops do in Mexico? Would they dash across the border every so often to hit a cartel and then dash back? Would they engage in full-blown warfare in Mexican cities and towns, doing to them what we did to Falujah or Anbar province in Iraq? What do we do if the Mexican government objects? How far into Mexico will we go? Will we limit ourselves to just border towns? How would the world view America invading another nation? How would the Organization of American States (OAS) respond to the invasion of Mexico? Will we call it a police action as we did in Korea? What would the cartels do? Would they take us head on or term this into another guerrilla war? What's our success rate on guerrilla wars in foreign countries? Are you ready to occupy another country and how will average Mexicans view our actions in light of the fact we stole Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California from them to begin with?
The one image I can’t get out of my mind is American soldiers rolling into Mexico and coming under fire from weapons sold to the cartels by American companies. American guns killing American soldiers. I can't think of a worse scenario. The war in Mexico is fueled by tons of arms blowing into that nation from our nation. The way some people like Rick Perry, who want to sacrifice our blood and treasure in Mexico for political gain, are also opposed to any efforts to restrict the flow of guns from this nation to Mexico. Perry and the NRA oppose restrictions on gun shows. They oppose everything from waiting periods to mandating registration of firearms. Any attempt to dry up the arms flowing into Mexico to kill our soldiers, would be fought tooth and nail by the very same people who would support an invasion. This is beyond crazy.
In order to stop violence in Mexico, we would have to occupy a large portion of that nation. Where would we get the troops and the money to pull that off? The Republicans got back into power promising to cut the federal budget. Now the head of the Republican Governors Association floats the idea of spending hundreds of billions of dollars and destroying any relationship we have with Mexico and its people.
When Lyndon Johnson started to beat the war drums of Vietnam, I thought the American people would never buy what he was selling. When George Bush started talking about weapons of mass destruction and the threat of Iraq, I figured he could never sell the American people on his plan. Now Rick Perry is drumming away again and already some media types are rallying to his side. What will happen this time?