If there's any parallel to the Clinton administration's fateful 1996 refusal to extradite Osama bin Laden from Sudan, the White House's failure to extradite Walid Makled from Colombia might just be the same kind of miss.
The mass graves being uncovered just south of our border ought to be a warning about the depths of depravity to which the cartel war has taken neighboring Mexico. On Tuesday, Mexican troops uncovered 120 bodies in Tamaulipas, south of Texas, and found 30 bodies in Tijuana, near San Diego.
Beheadings, child assassins and the cartels' latest terrifying tactic of firing on small children tell just one thing: This is a war that must be confronted and won, or else the cartels will in the end cause Mexico to collapse.
Incredibly enough, the Justice Department blew an extraordinary opportunity to extradite a drug lord whose testimony could have unraveled a number of the networks now wreaking havoc in the U.S. and Mexico.
Makled operated out of Venezuela until he had a falling-out with Venezuela's strongman, Hugo Chavez, whose generals, Cabinet members and National Guard worked hand in glove with his drug network.
From his jail cell, Makled's been giving interviews implicating a top Venezuelan military commander, Henry Rangel Silva, who's already under indictment in the U.S. for drug dealing, along with Chavez's intelligence chief, Hugo Carvajal, similarly indicted.
Makled also had the goods on some 40 generals, governors, congressmen and state ministers, as well as FARC and Hezbollah. Sealed indictments could be a powerful weapon, something Venezuela's government fears.
Last year, Colombia offered to extradite Makled to the U.S. to face charges of drug trafficking, and to testify in trials that could not only checkmate Chavez, but roll up a huge number of cartel networks here, while starving the Mexican cartels of money and drugs.
Incredibly, Attorney General Eric Holder said no.
Perhaps not surprisingly, several of Florida's congressional representatives looked into the Obama administration's response and found it asleep at the wheel.
"I can tell you ... the government of Colombia offered this individual, this dangerous individual, to the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Justice says, 'We do not want him,'" Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, told Secure Freedom Radio.
Mexican drug cartels don't operate in a vacuum. Makled had been their supplier, and even with him in jail, his networks remain in place. He controlled key trans-shipment points like Puerto Cabello, where massive drug shipments out of Colombia flow north.