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A horrible massacre took place in northern Mexico Monday. A drug cartel (probably, but it's not clear which one) murdered three women and six children who belonged to a fundamentalist Mormon-offshoot community in Mexico; the youngest was a 10-month-old baby. The victims, who had dual US-Mexican citizenship, were traveling in a caravan of three cars when they were ambushed by criminal gangs. It's not yet clear, but there's speculation the killings were the result of mistaken identity, just innocent people caught up in a gang war. In any case, the killers kept shooting, then burned the vehicles. Over 200 bullet casings were found on the ground. Seven children who survived the attack were flown across the border to a hospital in Douglas, Arizona.

As with any terrible situation, Donald Trump showed up on Twitter Tuesday morning to make things worse. The solution, he suggested, was to go Full Duterte:

Trump likes to pretend he doesn't like war, but as long as someone else is doing the killing, he sure loves the idea of wiping some people off the face of the earth, and assumes only bad guys would get killed, because he's a fucking idiot who thinks most problems can be solved by killing the right people. After all, if the cartels have no respect for innocent lives, why should we?

War! What is it good for? Guaranteed turnout for a rally, tell you what.


Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Wednesday, thanks but no, war isn't the answer to crimes, because Mexico has been at "war" with cartels for plenty long enough and more killing doesn't seem to result in anything but death -- about 200,000 people in Mexico since 2006. Other Mexican officials pointed out that the bullets used in the murders all came from the USA, as do many of the guns in Mexico's drug violence. (More on that here.) And gosh, who's buying all those drugs, huh?

On Fox News Tuesday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) offered his own Trumpian analysis: America needs our citizens in Mexico to be safe, and if López Obrador won't snap his fingers and make drug gangs vanish, maybe America should consider carpet bombing the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua, because that would totally work (no, he didn't say carpet bomb, we are exaggerating, but only a little). Cotton was so proud of his tough-talking appearance on the Neil Cavuto program that he posted it to his own official YouTube channel:

November 5, 2019: Senator Cotton Joins Neil Cavuto on Fox News www.youtube.com

The problem, as Cotton diagnosed it, is that López Obrador fails to respond to ruthless killers with extrajudicial killings. This is because when you're talking about people who aren't white middle class Americans, instant death is the only justice that works. He told Cavuto,

Neil, unfortunately, it's plain that the Mexican government can't handle this. President López Obrador came into office almost a year ago saying that his strategy for dealing with the cartels was going to be more hugs, not bullets. That may work in a children's fairy tale, but in the real world when three American women and six American children were gunned down and burned alive the only thing that can counteract bullets is more and bigger bullets. If the Mexican government cannot protect American citizens in Mexico, then the United States may have to take matters into our own hands.

Beyond the completely reasonable suggestion that the USA ought to invade Mexico to attack drug cartels (we're pretty sure he wasn't talking about merely "escorting" dual nationals, because that's neither sexy nor kinetic enough), there's a bit to unpack here.

I figured Cotton was Doing Hyperbole with the "more hugs, not bullets" bit, but it turns out he's mocking -- and vastly oversimplifying -- an actual slogan López Obrador has used, though it rhymes a lot better in Spanish: "abrazos no balazos."

But big surprise: López Obrador wasn't talking about hugging murderous drug gangs! Instead, the slogan is shorthand for his program of reducing poverty, fighting corruption, and building up education and infrastructure in parts of Mexico where it just makes economic sense for farmers to grow marijuana and opium for the cartels to send to the US. What a crazy, fairy-tale idea! There are legitimate arguments to be had about whether social programs alone can create enough stability to loosen the cartels' power in Mexico, especially given how deeply they've corrupted every part of government, but nah, he never said anything about hugging the bad guys. Glad we could clear that up -- not that Cotton thinks anything but maximum violence, ideally involving some strafing runs and special forces troops, is worth pursuing against Those People.

Cotton returned to the idea of launching military raids in a neighboring country a moment later, telling Cavuto exactly how the US might "take matters into our own hands," which are tough and skillful and need blood on them:

We showed that we can do it last week in Syria. We showed eight years ago that we can do it in Pakistan during the Osama bin Laden raid. This is only 50 miles away from our southern border. We can certainly defend American citizens inside of Mexico if Mexico is not willing or able to do so.

And obviously, if some other country felt the US wasn't adequately providing security for its nationals, it would be free to launch such an attack on our territory? Haha, don't be silly, we'd shoot down their helicopters and rain nuclear fire on them for violating our sovereignty.

Cotton returned to Fox News later in the day to repeat his call for special forces raids inside Mexico, because when you're pushing a really great idea, you need to make sure you say it several times on the only network that matters, just to be sure President Barstool sees it.

This certainly isn't the first time Cotton has urged some kind of war against "the cartels," which he seems to think are easy to spot and kill (and if you massacre some innocents, so what, they're only Mexicans). When he first ran for Senate in 2014, he insisted with a straight face that Mexican drug cartels were partnering with ISIS and plotting terrorist attacks in America, maybe even in Arkansas, and only electing him would keep Arkansans safe. For proof, his campaign office pointed to reliable international intelligence sources like Townhall, the Washington Free Beacon, and of course World Net Daily.

Thank goodness Arkansas voters went and put Cotton in the Senate, because look what a great job he's done stopping those ISIS attacks in Arkansas! But just to be sure, maybe we could have us a nice series of military raids inside Mexico, which would solve the drug cartel problem with absolutely no negative side effects ever. It's not like Mexico is still mad at us over that time we sent General Pershing to invade Mexico to try to catch Pancho Villa. Or more to the point, it's not like we care.

[CNN / WaPo / Aaron Rupar on Twitter / Guardian / NYT / Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Guardian]

Yr Wonkette is supported entirely by reader donations. Please send us money to keep the servers humming and the writers paid, and we'll keep the hugs coming. Don't make us send in the Green Berets.

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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