OCTOBER 18, 2011
While the Obama Administration downplays violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities in Texas reveal that Mexican drug cartels have transformed parts of the state into a war zone where shootings, beheadings, kidnappings and murders are common.In fact, drug-cartel violence is so severe that Texas counties along the Mexican border are under attack around the clock, according to an alarming report published by the state’s Department of Agriculture. The agency was ordered by the state legislature to conduct an assessment of the impact of illegal activity along the Texas-Mexico border on rural landowners and the agriculture industry.Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples hired two reputable military veterans to conduct the probe. One of them is a retired four-star Army General (Barry McCaffrey) who served as Bill Clinton’s Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The other, retired Army Major-General Robert Scales, is the former commander of the U.S. Army War College.The results of their in-depth investigation have ignited outrage among border state officials who are sick of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s reassurances that the border is “as secure as it has ever been.” Just a few months ago, during a heavily promoted visit to El Paso, Napolitano said violence along the Mexican border is merely a mistaken “perception” because the area is better now than it ever has been.The reality is that in the past two years Texas has become increasingly threatened by the spread of Mexican cartel organized crime as the enterprises move their operations into the U.S., according to the new assessment. They recruit street gangs and exploit porous borders by using all the traditional elements of military force, including logistics, intelligence and deadly firepower.This has created a sort of “narco-terrorism” which takes on the classic trappings of a real war, the report concludes. “Crime, gangs and terrorism have converged in such a way that they form a collective threat to the national security of the United States.” However, the report points out that “federal authorities are reluctant to admit the increasing cross-border campaign by narco-terrorists.”In the meantime, Texas has become an “operational ground zero” in the cartels’ effort to expand into the U.S. This has put residents of border communities in the crossfire of escalating violence resulting from conflicts between cartels, paramilitary enforcement groups and transitional gangs struggling for control of drug and illegal alien smuggling routes into the U.S. from El Paso to Brownsville.Incredibly, Napolitano proclaimed that “some of America’s safest communities are in the Southwest border region…” during her spring visit to El Paso. She actually said that “misinformation about safety” was negatively impacting border communities by driving visitors away and hurting local businesses.
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