The Corner

Better Get That Fence Built

The Texas state police are at war:

“I never thought that we’d be in this paramilitary type of engagement. It’s a war on the border,” said Captain Stacy Holland with the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Holland leads a fleet of 16 state-of-the-art helicopters that make up the aviation assets used by the Texas DPS to fight Mexican drug cartels.

In recent years, the cartels have become bolder and more ruthless.

They cross the border with AK-47s on their backs, wearing military camouflage. They recruit in prisons and schools on the American side. Spotters sit in duck blinds along the Rio Grande and call out the positions of the U.S. Border Patrol.

To combat the cartels, the Texas Department of Public Safety is launching a counterinsurgency.

Tactical strike teams send field intelligence they gather to Austin to a joint operation intelligence center, or JOIC in military terminology.

“It certainly is a war in a sense that we’re doing what we can to protect Texans and the rest of the nation from clearly a threat that has emerged over the last several years,” said Former FBI prosecutor Steve McCraw, who runs the undeclared “war.”

And this isn’t the kind of misnamed “war,” like the war on drugs, which leads to excessive militarization of civilian policing, a serious concern I think conservatives are wrong to have left to the libertarians. The cartels in Mexico sure seem to be engaged in a genuine insurgency against the state, and legalizing marijuana — which I think is necessary on its merits — will have no effect in curbing the narco-insurgency south of the border.

In fact, Texas governor Rick Perry said yesterday that we may need to send troops into Mexico to fight the cartels (Glynn Custred wrote about this more than a year ago, but no one paid attention at the time). I don’t think we’re there yet, and I hope the model we followed in Colombia, with money and training, will be enough, but if push comes to shove, protecting our national territory from a narco-insurgency is a whole lot more important that interceding between rival gangs of thieving goat herders in the Hindu Kush.

But what is BHO doing instead? Pulling the National Guard off the border! Because, you know, it’s all secure now. And the whole thing was just a pre-election stunt in any case.


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