Former Attorney General Bill Barr called on the U.S. government to treat the Mexican drug cartels the same way they would Islamic terrorist groups overseas, after four Americans in a North Carolina-plated vehicle were kidnaped in the border town of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
"They are terrorists," Barr said on "Jesse Watters Primetime," adding that the proverbial fifth hostage in the scenario is the Mexican government under President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
"The Mexican government is being held hostage by tens of thousands of paramilitary members of terrorist organizations that effectively control Mexico. It's pretty close at this stage to a failed narco-state. They can use violence and oceans of cash to corrupt the government. The government has no will, and it doesn't have the ability to deal with the cartels," he said.
Barr said the current statistics on Americans killed by Mexican-trafficked drugs is about equivalent to the killed-in-action rate of U.S. servicemen during World War II, positing the cartels are causing the same damage to the United States as a nation we are at war with.
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He added that the Mexican government, while unable or unwilling to take down the cartels, also refuses to "stand aside" and let the United States take action unilaterally inside the country.
In that regard, Barr said the cartels should be dealt with the same way the U.S. battled ISIS, whether it be economically, intelligence-wise, militarily and otherwise.
"[W]e have to methodically dismantle these groups. And we have to tell the Mexicans they're either coming along with us for the ride or step aside – We're going to do it by ourselves."
He also referenced White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre's tepid statement responding to the four Americans being kidnaped just miles from Brownsville, Texas – in which she said the administration is "closely following" the incident and finds it "unacceptable."
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"I'll tell you what's unacceptable, which seems to be, you know, the word that the Biden administration trots out when one of these outrages occurs -- What's unacceptable is the status quo," Barr said.
He also reacted to dozens of Antifa members organizing to set a construction site and its implements ablaze in DeKalb County, Ga., – where Atlanta police have been building a law enforcement training center.
Barr said the FBI must intercede, saying he is disappointed the bureau under Director Christopher Wray has failed to take substantive action against the amorphous group.
"I thought we were making some progress [during our joint tenure]. But I'm very disappointed that this kind of thing can happen without the government being aware of it"
The U.S. consulate has issued an alert for travel into Tamaulipas.