Mexico’s War on Terror

December 08, 2010

The Third War on Terror

By Russ Vaughn


Federal police stand guard by Texas-born kingpin Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez during his presentation to the press in Mexico City earlier this year.

In the same period during which almost 1,400 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 7,000 Mexican citizens have been killed by drug violence.  And that Mexican toll goes up every week in far larger increments than the one from the Middle East.  Recently, in a single event, drug assassins in Ciudad Juárez, the cross-border, sister city to El Paso and one of the largest cities in Texas, murdered a dozen young Mexican children attending a party.  We don’t know how these young people, most of them younger than twenty, may have offended the drug dealers who slaughtered them, but we do know how such lawlessness and disregard for human life should offend us and all people of decency who respect the rule of law.

Let me put this murderous event in geographic perspective for those of you unfamiliar with the proximity between several American border towns and their Mexican counterparts.  The distances involved here are not those usual between cities, but between boroughs or neighborhoods or suburban communities.  In other words, for far too many Americans, such violence is taking place just a few streets over from where they live.  You can kick a football from places in El Paso into colonías of Juárez.  No surprise, then, that bullets from shootouts in the streets of Juárez can, and have, impacted in buildings in El Paso.  For you coastal denizens who see the breadth of your nation only from the air, let me point out that El Paso is much closer to Juárez than is Brooklyn to Manhattan or Hollywood to Malibu.

Many of us who live close to this murder and mayhem have long advocated for our federal government to do more to protect our citizens and deal with this growing threat.  But it increasingly appears that a stronger federal border police presence is simply inadequate to deal with the burgeoning power of the paramilitary Mexican narco-terrorists.  Not only are we looking at the need for an impressive American military presence, but the situation also most likely requires actual American cross-border interventions, probably by battalion- to brigade combat team-sized military units, to return the northern border of our southern neighbor to a lawful state of peaceful coexistence.

I can imagine how most Americans will receive such a dire prognosis when we are already engaged in two foreign wars in the Middle East.  However, as great as the threats presented by Muslim terrorists are, they pale in significance to the possibility of a narco-terrorist-controlled Mexican state with which we share more than thirteen hundred miles of porous border.  If the narcos can seize control of a sovereign nation like Mexico or one of its states like Chihuahua, what is to prevent their thinking they can do the same with parts of the American Southwest?  We already have sufficient cross-border incursions to warrant our ineffective government warning Americans away from portions of Arizona and New Mexico via highway signs because of uncontrolled Mexican drug and human trafficking.

As so many of us in the Southwest have been trying to tell the rest of America, there is a war going on down here.  Because too many of you are so far removed from the battlefield, you remain unconvinced and unconcerned.  Poor Arizona, trying to defend herself from all this lawlessness, came in for nothing but condemnation from a far-too-politicized federal Justice Department and the Democrat-controlled media.  Believe me: the one political group that has a dog in this fight is the Democrat Party, which counts every warm body illegally crossing that border as a lifelong voting constituent from the moment those sandals touch American soil.

As another Vietnam vet friend recently reminded me, the United States has 23,000 active duty troops guarding the border between South Korea and North Korea.  The 160-mile-long Demilitarized Zone is the most heavily defended border in the world.  Those American military forces have been there for fifty-plus years waiting for an invasion from the north that has never happened.  Meanwhile, in the southwest United States, we have only national guard non-combat units protecting our border with Mexico, which is more than ten times as long as that Korean frontier.  And on the Mexican border, the invasion is not just anticipated, but real — a constant, aggressive offensive from the south that has been underway for more than four decades since Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats created the Great Welfare Magnet.

And what should be most frightening to all of us is that those who delivered the terror of 9/11 are very much aware of this slack in American border security.  Do any of you honestly believe that terror organizations sophisticated enough to mount an attack such as 9/11 aren’t aware that by far the easiest way to bring nuclear and biological terror weapons into this country is across that porous Mexican border?  The mission of the United States military is to protect this nation from its enemies.  It’s long past time for them to do so on the Mexican border, where it has become crystal clear that the Mexican and South American drug lords have shown themselves to be America’s mortal enemies.
Recently, Governor Rick Perry of Texas called for the use of American troops inside Mexico:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, soon to be the leader of the Republican Governors Association, continued his argument Thursday that the federal government needed to halt their intervention in the private sector and refocus their energy toward securing the border — even if that means sending U.S. troops into Mexico.

I guess if the governor of the state with the longest shared border with Mexico is speculating as to the use of American troops inside Mexico, then I’m not so far off in my concerns.  We have an active war zone on our southern border; we just haven’t admitted it yet.

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