Military to Get Green Light To Target Cartels?

Military to Get Green Light To Target Cartels?

( – In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001. The joint resolution granted the president of the United States (POTUS) sweeping authority to mobilize forces against a “threat to the national security.” Now, two representatives are trying to pass legislation to create another AUMF to declare war on the drug cartels organizing the flood of fentanyl through the Southern border. Many in Congress, however, are asking whether the military should receive a green light to target cartels waging chemical warfare on America.

Target: Mexican Drug Cartels

On Thursday, January 12, Republican Reps. Mike Waltz (FL) and Dan Crenshaw (TX) introduced legislation for the sole purpose of targeting cartels. In a press release on his website, Crenshaw said the US “cannot allow heavily armed and deadly cartels to destabilize Mexico and import people and drugs” into the country. He went even further, saying the US needs to “start treating them like ISIS.” Rep. Waltz echoed Crenshaw’s sentiments, calling for the US “to go on offense.”

Their call to action wouldn’t be the first time the US put drug cartels in its crosshairs. In the 1990s, the federal government helped Colombia defeat its cartels, so there is precedent. If the legislation passes, President Joe Biden would have the authority “to use military force against cartels” due to their fentanyl production, distribution, and trafficking.

Waltz and Crenshaw mention two main cartels: Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa. The proposed legislation has several other GOP co-sponsors, including Reps. Jim Banks (IN), Beth Van Duyne (TX), and Jake Ellzey (TX).

Crenshaw introduced the measure as part of an overall plan addressing the border crisis and all it entails. Should the AUMF pass, it would expire five years from the enacted date unless Congress extends it.

The Fentanyl Crisis

In 2021, more than 107,000 people died of drug overdoses. Authorities attributed approximately 67%, or 72,000, of those deaths to synthetic opioids, usually fentanyl. Dealers often lace the drug into other substances, like heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, to boost the addictive qualities. People who overdosed often didn’t know they took fentanyl because of that.

Fentanyl represents such an extreme danger because just two milligrams is enough to potentially kill someone. Those who have no tolerance to opioids can fall susceptible to less. It’s up to 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. While the drug has medicinal uses — to help control pain in post-operative and cancer patients — cartels are harming everyday Americans with their illicit shipments over the border.

It’s such a threat to our country that the Drug Enforcement Agency established National Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 10, 2022. Perhaps the next step will entail extending military force against cartels.

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