Wednesday, March 17, 2010

America has bloody borders


The most quoted sentence from Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations is, "Islam has bloody borders." Too right. But so does Mexico. And because Mexico is adjacent to the United States, the U.S. also has bloody borders.
Escalating violence in Northern Mexico fueled by the region's seemingly intractable drug wars are being blamed for the weekend murders of a U.S. consulate worker, her husband and another man. Kidnappings, violence and lawlessness have long scourged Ciudad Juarez, a hardscrabble border city just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. … U.S. officials have cleared government workers to pull out of Mexico's border areas, and Canada issued a travel warning against visiting Ciudad Juarez.
I visited Ciudad Juarez several times when I lived in Santa Fe. Once I went with a friend who was buying ceramic tiles for a house renovation, at a fraction of what they would have cost in Santa Fe. Another time — this was about 20 years ago — I drove with my girlfriend and we spent a night at Juarez's best hotel, the Lucerna. It wasn't up to much by first world standards, but comfortable enough. There was an odd scene in the elevator. A young woman and a man were escorted by two hotel guards, who left once the couple entered her room. Away from the scene, I wondered aloud what that was about. My companion gave me a look that pitied my naïveté. "It was a prostitute and her customer," she said. "She pays off the hotel for protection."

Driving around Juarez, we got lost somewhere near the bull ring. Until then we'd seen the "soft" side of the city that partly catered to Yanqui turistas. This was different, sordid, vaguely threatening. My girlfriend was all for getting away from the neighborhood posthaste; the trouble was, we were lost. To be honest, I was as nervous as she. But nobody bothered us, and eventually we made it back to the hotel and the next day, to the Estados Unidos.

We had fancied a taste of foreign culture, and did we ever get it in Juarez. I suppose in retrospect I'm glad to have had the experience, since it added to my knowledge of the world. But needless to say, I would never go back.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, is asking the Obama administration to send help in the form of predator drones for surveillance and 1,000 National Guard troops.

"How many Americans will have to die before our federal government takes serious action along the Texas-Mexico border?" Perry said in a statement. "For years, they have failed in their vital duty to secure the border, resulting in escalating violence." Perry noted that 4,700 homicides were committed since January 2008 in Ciudad Juarez, a city of about 2 million.

Here's another sampling of stories about the blood-soaked borderland of narcotics gang wars.

Ralph Peters:

The bloodbath on our border's going to get a worse before it gets better. Death is on our doorstep -- and no country's more important to our security, society and economy than Mexico. What are we thinking?

Oh, please. I am so sick of reading multi-culti globalizers banging on about how important Mexico is to our economy. That gets it backward. We are important to Mexico's economy. Mexico exports its surplus population to America and counts on a huge money transfer in the form of remittances. We don't "need" Mexico. There are 150 other countries in the world we can export to, in so far as we have anything to export. U.S. companies have cheap-labor factories in northern Mexico, where the workers do the jobs they don't want to pay Americans to do. Good for the companies' bottom line, bad for America. They don't deserve to profit that way.

The Mexican Revolution of 1910 disintegrated into one of the last century's ugliest struggles. A hundred years later, our southern neighbor, with its 111 million people, faces the most under-reported crisis of our time. The Mexican border towns where I partied as an Army lieutenant are combat zones. Mexico's casualties have been more than three times our KIA losses in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. And the action's coming north.
It probably is. What to do? Peters says, "This is no longer just about border security. It's about our national security. And Washington's been taking a siesta."

That's the end of his article. What
should Washington do if, against all the odds, it wakes up from its siesta? Stop Mexican immigration? Deport illegals and jail them if they return? Perish the thought. Ralph Peters is another Viewer With Alarm who is afraid he will lose his perch in the quasi-conservative media if he emits a peep about any serious solution.

The US consular killings are the latest brutal proof that prohibition is a deadly option
There are two main reasons why Mexico finds itself in this predicament. The first is that in the drug business, like any other, closeness to the customer is a paramount advantage.

In the late Eighties, America’s drug warriors shut down the island-hopping route across the Caribbean previously used by Colombian drug barons. The Colombians began sending their cocaine through Mexico to the US. At the same time the Mexicans grabbed control of its distribution in many American cities, giving them the upper hand over the Colombians.

What American cities would those be, where Mexicans "grabbed control" of cocaine distribution? Cities like Los Angeles, El Paso, and San Antonio, that are now Mexican colonies thanks to our government's feckless lack of immigration control?
Second, Mexico’s police forces were long corrupt and ineffective — a legacy of seven decades of one-party rule that ended only in 2000. [Mexican President] Calderón chose to make the security issue his top priority, partly to stamp his authority on the country after winning a narrow and disputed election. His officials accept that they cannot end drug trafficking — as long as Americans snort coke that would be impossible.
"His officials accept that they cannot end drug trafficking" — because Mexico is corrupt, its police forces bought or intimidated by death threats, and the drug dealers know that unofficial policy in Washington is to keep the border open, while making pro forma arrests of a few illegals from time to time as cover.

"As long as Americans snort coke that would be impossible" — baloney. Mexico is a lawless country that can't control its own criminals, so it and its U.S. appeasers pretend it's our fault because blow is popular among some elements of the population (how many of them are Mexicans?) and The Times pundit goes tsk-tsk because we don't have the kind of gun prohibition that has made English people pushovers for burglars and worse.

But I'll agree with one of his conclusions: "Watching this war without end against the drugs mafias, many Latin American political leaders are starting to call for drug legalisation. They are right: Mexico’s suffering shows that prohibition is far deadlier than drugs."

Investor's Business Daily:
[Mexican drug cartels] form a critical monetary and organizational lifeline to their Mexican compadres, making them part of the war.

Last year, there was an authentic cartel hit on a Los Angeles highway in broad daylight, signaling that business as they do it in Mexico has moved here. Lawmen report big drug centers in Chicago and other places outside the Southwest, a sign cartels are getting comfortable here.

They've even moved entire growing operations here, making them less a smuggling operation than fully illegal businesses. Large swathes of national parks, national forests and Indian reservations have reported armed camps of marijuana growing operations run by cartels and guarded by illegal immigrants.

The kidnapping rate in Phoenix, currently the highest outside Mexico City, is another sign of cartel operations. Most go unreported, because most victims are part of the drug underworld. All of these, and more, are signs that cartels are already operating here with near impunity.

IBD, which often uses common sense and sound judgment, is wide of the mark here. After declaring the situation a war, it wants to treat the problem as one of law enforcement (sound familiar?). IBD is uncharacteristically politically correct, afraid to print a Forbidden Thought, viz., we should shut the damn borders, stop Mexican immigration, and kick every illegal out.

Meanwhile, after wasting years and $billions on a super-duper, cutting edge high-tech border fence that has yet to be built, our rulers have scuttled it. Given our national government's priorities, it was probably designed as a political plum for incumbent-friendly contractors rather than a serious border hardening effort.

The immigration-loving beanbags in the media, including so-called "conservative" media, want to sell us the idea that a border fence must be an action-movie fantasy — "mobile surveillance equipment, thermal imaging devices, ultra-light plane detection systems, mobile radios, cameras and laptop computers for vehicles used by Border Patrol agents." In fact, all you need is an ordinary fence with concrete barriers and land mines on both sides. It could probably built in a year.

Naturally, the usual ninnies will whinge that we can't mine the border, since Mexicans have a right to sneak across without risking life and limb, as if there should be a level playing field between illegals and the Border Patrol.

An organization called proposes a slightly higher-tech, but relatively simple solution.


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