FEBRUARY 02, 2011
In a perpetual state of denial, Janet Napolitano insists that security along the Mexican border has been strengthened “in a way that many would not have thought possible,” even as drug-cartel violence reaches epic proportions and routinely spills into the U.S.The delusional assessment from the nation’s Homeland Security chief comes just a few months after her equally infuriating estimate that the southern border “is as secure as it has ever been.” Napolitano made that assertion in September, as violence escalated along the Mexican border and overwhelmed federal agents got attacked by heavily armed drug smugglers. In fact, days before Madam Secretary made that brilliant statement, Border Patrol agents came under siege during a bust that netted half a ton of U.S.-bound marijuana.As the crisis worsens, Napolitano continues to paint a rosy picture that certainly diminishes her credibility as the top official responsible for keeping the nation safe. During a speech at a Texas university this week she said that the Obama Administration’s “unprecedented effort” to intensify southwest border security “is working” and that the nation’s “partnership with Mexico is strong.” The U.S.government has given Mexico more than $1 billion in the last few years to combat drug violence, though its worst than ever.Napolitano did acknowledge that there are still “challenges” and that she’s “deeply concerned about the drug cartel violence taking place in Mexico.” That’s probably because the sophisticated operations have taken over northern portions of the notoriously corrupt Latin American country and the U.S. is feeling the spillover effects.In fact, Mexico’s most violent region (Ciudad Juarez) borders El Paso and the situation is so serious that bullets from shootouts among rival smugglers regularly spill into the city, once ranked among the nation’s safest. One example took place a few months ago when a myriad of bullets fired into El Paso, striking City Hall and a public university building. The local sheriff says the gun battles are breaking out everywhere but his hands are tied because he’s legally forbidden from intervening in another country’s war.Napolitano agrees that the U.S. must guard against such “spillover effects,” but insists that it “is inaccurate to state, as too many have, that the border is overrun with violence and out of control.” That statement is often made to “score political points,” Napolitano says, and it is “just plain wrong.” To assure that our southern neighbors get the speech, the Department of Homeland Security has posted aSpanish version on its web site.
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