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Rick Perry: Modern day conquistador

POSTED AT 06:25 PM ON Oct. 6, 2011  (UPDATED AT 06:26 PM ON Oct. 6, 2011)

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Disclosure: Jon Todd is the president of Students for Barack Obama on campus.

Last week Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry announced to an audience in New Hampshire that he would be willing to use American troops to battle Mexican drug cartels. In Mexico. Yes, really.

I’m sure the comment has already faded from public memory. Or if it hasn’t, it will soon, given the length of our collective attention span. But this kind of foreign policy suggestion should concern any sane individual. Let’s think about some of the details of such a plan.

Some of its prominent features would include: a tropical climate, guerilla warfare, a civilian population that is, at best, indifferent to the U.S. military. And at worst, actively hostile to it, and best of all, loosely defined objectives for victory that could never really be achieved because they are so nebulous.

Maybe I’m wrong, but that sounds vaguely similar to another situation we found ourselves in. It starts with a V ... oh yeah, Vietnam. One of the jewels of American history.  

It seems like a lovely idea to send American men and women to fight in unfamiliar territory against a well-funded and well-armed guerilla army again. After all, it worked so splendidly before.

I’ve also heard drug lords are the kind to give up easy, so it shouldn’t take long.
As much as I enjoy needless interventionism in foreign policy, I do have another question for Governor Perry: How exactly would we pay for such a delightful excursion? I can tell you, for certain, the answer isn’t tax cuts.

As we consider cutting funding for education, health care for the poor and the elderly, and social security to fix the deficit we already have, I can definitely see how going into Mexico to kill marijuana growers seems like an awesome idea. What’s more glamorous? Shootouts in the Mexican jungle or grandma having money to pay for her medication?

Maybe we could get Mexico to pay for it. They’ve got a thriving economy and no major political issues, right?

The cowboy attitude is fun in movies. We all enjoy a good straight-talker with a six-shooter on his hip, always ready to pull the trigger if the situation calls for it. I have to say, though, I really don’t think that attitude makes for solid leadership in the real world with real consequences.

If this is a sign of what we can expect from President Rick Perry, I want absolutely no part of it. I’ll be honest with you; I wasn’t going to vote Republican in this presidential election anyway.

But if the best the Republicans can do is a hot-headed, shoot-first- and-ask questions-later kind of candidate, they are in deep, deep trouble.

Maybe I’m wrong about the Republican chances with Perry as a candidate, but if we choose to elect him, we are all in deep trouble.
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jontodd@indiana.edu

 

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