Should the United States deploy its military to assist Mexico to fight the increasingly violent and overpowering drug cartels? There are some in Congress who believe that this is still a viable option. The last time the United States provided its military in such a fight, specifically Plan Colombia, things didn’t go as planned, shocker…

Plan Colombia was signed into law in 2000 by President Bill Clinton, consisting of mainly military assistance to combat the drug cartels in Colombia. The original aid package was just $1.3 billion but over the course of the ten-year plan, it rose to more than $7.3 billion. The plan was to cut Colombia’s cocaine production by half and though this was briefly achieved, most of the production just shifted to neighboring Bolivia and Peru, apparently where it was originally produced prior to Colombia’s production surge. Furthermore, since the “Plan” ran its course, Colombia’s productions have skyrocketed, reaching new heights.

According to a report by the State Department, although the Colombian government “continues to counter the production and trafficking of illicit drugs through eradication operations, aggressive interdiction, and law enforcement activity, potential pure cocaine production in 2015 (the most recent year for which data is available) surged 60%.” The report went on to state, “[t]he rise is attributed to the largest single-year increase of coca cultivation in Colombia ever recorded (immediately following the second largest single-year increase in more than a decade).”

Plan Colombia, though with good intentions, was a costly plan that produced less than stellar results at a very high cost in both taxpayer dollars and more importantly, in lives lost to the wide-spread battlefields of America’s drug war. To create a similar plan for Mexico as one congressman suggested, would be a colossal waste of resources, the most valuable being the lives of our Special Operations Forces.

The continued violence and flood of drugs from Mexico and all of Latin America, for that matter begs a solution. However, applying old bandages such as one similar to Plan Colombia, to this festering wound will only further the infection. What we need is a new, innovative solution from Washington, not more retreading of failed policies. Committing SOCOM to yet another unwinable conflict is just more of the same from DC: fraud, waste and abuse.


Sources:  US State Department, The Guardian,, BBC