FEBRUARY 17, 2012
Officials in Texas are under attack from a mainstream newspaper critical of a state web site created to track Mexican drug-cartel violence that’s transformed the southern border into a war zone.
The Texas Department of Agriculture started the web site to keep farmers and residents informed about the growing danger created by Mexican drug cartels illegally crossing into the state. It’s occurring at an “increasingly alarming rate,” according to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Washington is ignoring the crisis.
The cartels are invading Texas farms and ranches, threatening citizens’ lives and jeopardizing the nation’s food supply, Staples says, adding that the web site, created less than a year ago, documents true stories of the constant danger along the border. The agriculture secretary also takes the opportunity to “implore the federal government to enforce our laws and secure our nation’s borders.”
A few months ago his agency released a report, ordered by the state legislature, assessing the impact of illegal activity along the Texas-Mexico border on rural landowners and the agriculture industry. The details are downright appalling and reveal that shootings, beheadings, kidnappings and murders are common in the area. In fact, drug-cartel violence is so severe that Texas counties along the Mexican border are under attack around the clock.
It’s difficult to dispute the findings since the probe was conducted by two reputable military veterans of varying political affiliations. 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.
Yet the mainstream media is critical of the way Texas is handling the situation, implying in story after story that the crisis along the southern border is a fabrication of a racist, right-wing movement. This week one of the nation’s largest newspapers published a piece questioning Texas’s web site as a way to “publicize the assertions by farmers and others that violence from Mexico’s drug war has spilled over the border.”
It also blasts the Texas Department of Agriculture for its involvement in the “controversial realm of domestic security” when it’s supposed to be concerned with “detecting plant diseases and regulating grain-storage warehouses.” The piece skeptically goes on to say that the agency “paints a frightening portrait of life along the 1,254-mile border that Texas shares with Mexico.” The reporter never bothered considering that it’s reality.
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