In Washington, Gunwalker is all about scalps. Who’s going to lose their job for green lighting the ATF’s plan to allow U.S. gun stores to sell some 2000 firearms to Mexican gun smugglers (a program that contributed to the death of two federal law enforcement officers and at least a dozen Mexicans)? U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder? DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano? President Barack Obama? With all the focus on the inside-the-beltway fallout from the ATF’s black bag job, it’s easy to lose sight of the real scandal, which continues unabated . . .
According to the ATF, Operation Fast and Furious was designed to catch the “big fish” at the end of the “iron river” of illegal guns flowing from U.S. gun stores to Mexican drug cartels. The firearms that “escaped” the ATF’s control were supposedly bait guns for big wigs.
Even if we take that explanation at face value—despite the ATF’s failure to arrest even a single low-level gun smuggler until after the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry—the Bureau’s “botched sting” should be seen in its proper context. It was but a small part of Uncle Sam’s “botched border” program.
Discovering who knew what when about the ATF’s anti-smuggling smuggling op will require no small amount of persistence from Congressional investigators. Recognizing the administration’s wider failure to contain the Mexican drug cartels’ firearms-related violence is as easy as searching “border violence” or clicking on this story from tusconweekly.com.
Smuggler’s Paradise paints a disturbing portrait of American territory firmly in the grip of violent gangs of cartel members ready, willing and able to gun down all those who would impede their relentless pursuit of profits from illegal drugs and immigrants. The paper’s overview of cartel-related activity inside the U.S. border includes a litany of incidents in a sidebar called “Violence on the Rise”. It includes this little tidbit:
July 7, 2010 Based on a reliable intelligence source, Immigration and Customs Enforcement warns that a bounty has been placed on Nogales Border Patrol agents. The alert says 20 to 25 snipers, possibly from the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, are headed to Nogales, Sonora, to shoot agents. The alert says snipers would be paid $5,000 for each person shot and cautions agents “to remain vigilant, maintain awareness of their surroundings, and utilize body armor and long arms as appropriate.”
At no point in this article does author Leo W. Banks talk about the cartel members’ firearms supply. There’s no need. It’s simply not an issue. The bad guys have all the fully automatic rifles and ammo they need. If they need to ratchet things up stateside, they’ve got plenty of grenade launchers, .50 caliber rifles and explosives waiting in the wings.
All of which begs the question: why was the ATF screwing around with cartel-related gun control in the first place? Money is the cartels’ “oxygen.” As long as they have access to billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains, they can secure all the guns and ammo they need. As they have, and continue to do.
Forget Fast and Furious’ [alleged] effort to stem the flow of guns to cartels. Where are America’s defenders at the sharp end, protecting our soil from foreign invasion? Not only does the U.S. government seem unable to counter the criminals on U.S. soil, they seem unwilling.
[Brandon Judd, president of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council] says the Obama administration, desperate to pass comprehensive immigration reform, wants to convince the public that the border is secure, so they deliberately under-staff remote mountainous and desert areas to keep arrests down, allowing Napolitano and others to claim their security efforts are slashing crossings.
Judd says better enforcement has indeed made the border more secure in some areas—such as right behind the new fencing east and west of Nogales, where most of the new agents have been placed. But staffing hasn’t been increased in remote regions, including the mountains west of Nogales. “The border in those areas is as wide open as it has ever been,” says Judd.
It’s a familiar story. Instead of sealing the border and addressing the consumer market/money fueling the cartels’ criminal conspiracy, the Obama administration declares victory, plays CYA and launches a misbegotten crusade against the tools of the narco-terrorists’ trade. Except, of course, the firearms Uncle Sam sold them (one way or another) through our Latin American military and law enforcement programs.
In that sense, the lack of any effective policy to protect our country from terrorist incursion is a bigger and more important scandal than the ATF’s Gunwalker debacle. As hard as that may be to believe.