Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg Open to Sending U.S. Troops To Fight Mexican Cartels

Afghanistan taught us the risks of miring troops in entrenched domestic security problems.


South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg: We should bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan!

Also, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Maybe we should send troops to Mexico!

Over the weekend, several Democrats running for president swung through California. In a Los Angeles forum focusing on Latino voters, Buttigieg suggested it might be appropriate to send the military to Mexico to help deal with that country's drug violence.

Asked if he would consider military assistance in Mexico, if the country were to request any, Buttigieg told ABC7 reporter Adrienne Alpert: "If it is in the context of a security partnership, then I would welcome ways to make sure that America is doing what we can to ensure our neighbor to the South is secure."

But Buttigieg also hedged significantly, saying he'd only send troops into conflict if American lives were on the line, if there were no other choice, and if treaty obligations necessitated involvement. More importantly, he's not suggesting anything like President Donald Trump's tweet that he'd be happy to send U.S. forces down to Mexico to "wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth."

Buttigieg is also well aware that the power of the drug cartels in Mexico has been reinforced by our own overly militant policing, which helped create such a dangerous black market in the first place.

"Part of what we can do is make drug trafficking less profitable by walking away from the failed war on drugs here in the United States," he said.

So the totality of Buttigieg's comments make it pretty clear that he doesn't actually want to send troops down to Mexico to help fight drug cartels, but he might be willing to consider some sort of security agreement to provide military assistance.

But he shouldn't consider even that. Buttigieg, a Navy veteran, was deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence analyst in 2014. He has been calling on the campaign trail and in debates for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. His history in Afghanistan is instructive, because the country's attempt at self-government has been mired in all sorts of corruption that the U.S. military is not in a position to combat. Our "assistance" in Afghanistan in recent years has mostly involved putting troops' lives on the line as billions of U.S. dollars get blown on projects that a federal inspector described as plagued with "far too many instances of poor planning, sloppy execution, theft, corruption, and lack of accountability."

While Mexico is nowhere near as unstable as Afghanistan, it's clear that there is an extremely corrupt relationship between its drug cartels and its local government officials. American troops are no better positioned to "fix" Mexico's internal security issues than they were Afghanistan's. That's not what America should be using its military forces for, and it's certainly not where we should be directing defense spending.

NEXT: Mutual Hatred Is All Democrats and Republicans Have to Offer

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  1. Mexicans and Buttsex- I knew Pete was a libertarian

    1. Buttigeig bit off more than he can chew!

  2. Is this guy nuts? What? I thought he was the reasonable one. Do we really need another war of choice in Mexico? I mean, did we learn nothing from the last one….?

    1. I mean, did we learn nothing from the last one….?

      Didn’t we get Texas and California out of the last elective war with Mexico?

      Although I’m sure both Team Red and Team Blue loyalists wonder whether the one was worth the price of the other . . .

      1. Yeah! I mean, did we have to wind up with Texas and California just so we could enjoy a war with them?

    2. Makes sense to me. I’m not sure what Buttguy is thinking, but I’m pretty sure it is similar to this:

      1.) Declare war on cartel members
      2.) Declare everyone in Mexico to be cartel members
      3.) Wipe them out
      4.) Mexico becomes part of the US
      5.) The land is transformed into resorts, golf courses, and laser tag arenas. Maybe bowling alleys if people still do that.
      6.) Instead of mass transit systems people will travel by water slides.
      7.) ESPN starts showing dog-fighting.
      8.) Every restaurant will have a taco special on Tuesday

      USA! USA! USA!

      1. Except for #6 and #7… not a bad plan

        1. Buttigeig is 100% for cock-fighting.

        2. I’ve seen the plans for the 78 slide south and that will revolutionize travel. It will really cut down on traffic. I’m already looking into the Adopt-A-Slide program to help out my community.

      2. Does Mexico have a thing with water parks or something?

        The episode was scheduled to air in Spanish on MTV Latin America on February 8, 2010, and was advertised extensively for one week prior to the broadcast date. However, a few hours before the scheduled time, the network decided not to air the episode and replaced it with the episode “The Ring”, allegedly due to its depiction of Calderón irritating the international community and frivolously spending the space cash on water parks.

        1. Might explain the field conditions for the Chiefs vs Chargers game

      3. I take it the dog fighting will be scheduled for Mondays.

        1. No, Tuesdays. Everyone will gather at bars to watch the PPV UDF (Ultimate Dog-Fighting) and eat Tacos with 1 dollar Tecate specials.

      4. This guy had a similar idea some time ago.

    3. I mean, like the article says, if you listen to all his comments it’s pretty clear he’s envisioning something more like a limited action only if the Mexican govt requests the assistance. While I appreciate that that’s a more reasonable position, it’s still not a good one. Indeed, I’d argue having a destabilizing military presence in a neighboring country would be monumentally worse than what we’ve gotten up to in Afghanistan, particularly when we have a long and largely unpoliceable border with that country.

  3. Lol. In all seriousness we have more reason to be there than anything we are doing in the Mideast. I don’t think we have the stomach to do what it would take to beat the cartels. Unlike us the Cartels don’t care to much about the negative publicity. Also unlike when we ran death squads in Colombia this is going to have a ton less plausible deniability of the atrocities we would be committing that would impact americans as well as mexicans.

    1. In all seriousness we have more reason to be there than anything we are doing in the Mideast.

      True, that.

      I don’t think we have the stomach to do what it would take to beat the cartels.

      Legalize drugs? You’re probably right.

      1. Even if we did, it wouldn’t help. The Cartels have become shadow governments. Even if you made drugs legal, the cartels would just sell the drugs legally. They would still be killing each other and terrorizing the population. If we had legalized drugs 30 years ago, the cartels such as they were would have died. Now, it is too late.

        Not to say that there are not other good reasons to end prohibition. There are. But, ending prohibition isn’t going to end the cartels or even weaken them much at this point.

        1. It won’t weaken, them, no, but decriminalizing a business’ business does wonders to incentivize them to stop behaving like crooks.

          1. No it doesn’t. Organized crime is really just variations of extortion. They go legitimate by engaging in legitimate business and then murdering anyone who tries and compete with them. If you can get away with it, murdering your competition and extorting your customers is a hell of a profitable business model.

            1. If you can get away with it, murdering your competition and extorting your customers is a hell of a profitable business model.

              And once you form a monopoly, you become a government.

              1. Pretty much.

        2. Actually organized crime has always provided alternative governance. In many cases they provide better constituent service that recognized government. The fact that they’re violent and corrupt does not in any way differentiate them from their “legitimate” competitors.

        3. The cartels aren’t going to compete with Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline in the US, and the US is where the big market is at. They might be able to survive if they can grab market share in other countries where prohibition persists, but they’d mostly have to fight the Russian mob and the Triads for those markets. Ultimately the cartels are dependent on prohibition in the US, so they have a vested interest in seeing it continue, in much the same way as the DEA.

    2. Agreed, the Cartels have more influence within the US than groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda and have probably killed more American within our borders than either outside of 9-11. I’m not advocating we invade Mexico, but I could certainly imagine a situation where it would be worth sending in troops, especially if it is at the request of the Mexican government.

  4. Dear God! What if we win?

    1. Then the Deep South will finally have someone they can legitimately feel superior to?

      1. Well, Mexicans are basically just Rednecks turned up to 11.

      2. Then the Deep South will finally have someone they can legitimately feel superior to?
        You mean OTHER than Chicago, NYC,Philly, L.A.,San Francisco, and every freaking liberal and liberal bastion on the face of the earth?

    2. Admit any Mexican state into the Union if they sign on to the Bill of Rights.

      1. Why should they have to sign on to the bill of rights? The current states don’t.

  5. Rather than secure the border and do something to keep the cartels out of the US, this dumb ass would get us into a partisan war in Mexico trying to defeat them. Please God don’t let this creepy little fucker get into office.

    1. Would it be a partisan war because if the Democrats started fighting the War on Drugs with the military, the normally far more extreme Drug Warrior Party on the right will do a 180 and advocate for legalization just to spite the left? I’d like to see that.

    2. There is no way on earth the tolerant DIMWITS will let a fudge-packer run against Trump!!!! They may say they love LGBTQXCFDS perverts, but they love them just like they love blacks: with sanctimonious condescension!

  6. From a Koch / Reason libertarian perspective, sending US troops to Mexico is probably not a good idea. But it’s nowhere near as outrageous as building a hateful wall along the border. Or running concentration camps. Or forcing people to drink from toilets.


  7. Just convince Mexico to allow their citizens the right to bear arms, of any type not just single shot rifles

    1. The drug cartels would never allow that.

  8. A war against the terrorist narco state that controls and profits from the invasion of the country is long overdue.

    1. or you could end Prohibition and stop feeding the beast

  9. Not surprising. None of the Dems (or Trump) seem particularly fond of, or aware of, the limitations on government power found in the Constitution.

  10. It is a wonder that someone amongst our commentarians has not yet adopted the nom de web of Pete’s Butt Plug.

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