by Ralph Peters [author, novelist]

While Washington focused on terrorists half way around the world, a narco-terror crisis exploded — with 8,000 dead in two years — along our border with Mexico.

Were we blindsided? Only because we closed our eyes on purpose. One administration passed the problem on to the next. And the next.

Are we taking this crisis seriously at last? Let’s hope.

After her disastrous pilgrimage to Beijing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have gotten a big diplomatic move right: On Wednesday, she acknowledged both the seriousness of Mexico’s narco-insurgency and our complicity as a huge drug consumer and the major source of drug-cartel weaponry.

Our top domestic problem is that this issue’s been politicized by extremists on both the political left and right. So let’s cut through the hot air and look at what’s happened — and what we need to do.

How did it come to this bloodbath? The warning signs were there 15 years ago. In 1994, I did an on-the-ground drug-war analysis for the US Southern Command. Among the key conclusions: Mexico was headed for a crisis.

The logic was simple. For five centuries, Latin America has suffered boom-bust commodity cycles — in gold, silver, tin, beef, rubber, oil and, last but not least, cocaine.

All booms lead the countries of origin to overproduce. The end market becomes saturated. Where does the surplus go? It’s sold at discount rates in the transit countries — which lack the infrastructure to deal with the sudden economic distortions and soaring corruption.

It was obvious that Mexico would become a market-share battleground. It was also clear that cocaine’s appeal would peak and other drugs would be introduced. (Welcome to the toxic world of meth.)

The Clinton administration simply didn’t care. Latin America was a backwater, and Mexico (a massive country vital to our security) was an afterthought. George W. Bush did come to office with a Latin-America agenda — only to be consumed by 9/11.

And here we are. Mexico’s border cities are killing fields, the Mexican army’s in the streets (and not always winning) — and violence is spilling north of the border.

Our bad? Thanks to political biliousness on the hard left and extreme right, weapons we sell kill Mexican cops and soldiers, while our own citizens go unprotected from ferocious criminals who enter our country illegally.

What should we do? The medicine’s bitter:

* Decriminalize marijuana. I hate the idea. But marijuana doesn’t kill and it’s not an “inevitable gateway drug.” We need to concentrate our resources on the killer drugs and the murderers who push them. Make hard-drug smuggling and vending crimes with mandatory life sentences. (I wish we could make them capital crimes.)

* Create a serious paramilitary force to control our border: Expand, up-arm and legally empower our Border Patrol. Thanks to vile activists, Border Patrol agents have gone to prison for wounding drug criminals. We need to authorize deadly force and stop second-guessing those who defend us.

The political left needs to stop protecting criminal aliens. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s ballyhooed shift of several hundred Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to the border is a phony trick to appease pro-illegal-immigrant activists: It means far less domestic enforcement of immigration law.

The political right needs to accept that, while firmly protecting the gun-owning rights of law-abiding citizens, we must crack down fiercely on the supply chain that puts automatic weapons in the claws of drug cartels. The Founding Fathers wanted to protect our rights of self-defense. They didn’t intend to equip foreign thugs.

* Enforce the laws we have. And tighten those laws as necessary. Immigration is a great strength for our country, but we have every legal and moral right to decide whom we welcome as future Americans. Illegal immigration and narco- terror are inextricably intertwined.

What won’t work? A wall — at least along the eastern half of our border, from El Paso to Brownsville. As border expert Dave Danelo points out, we really have two borders. First, there’s the grisly, out-of-control stretch from El Paso west to the Pacific. That’s where walls do help.

But a wall on the southern border of Texas would hand the Rio Grande River to Mexico. And law-abiding Hispanic families have lived on both sides of the river for centuries, visiting back and forth. They’re not the problem. (Been there, seen how it works.) The problem is interloping narcos.

We shouldn’t penalize honest citizens just because Los Angeles or San Francisco protects gang-bangers from deportation.

Bottom line? If we want to worsen the problem, keep politicizing it. To solve it, ignore the extremists: Empower our officials, punish criminals and concentrate on the drugs that kill — not on busting aging-hippie potheads.

And help Mexico every way we can. If President Felipe Calderon’s brave efforts fail, the next president south of the border will be a tool of the narco-terrorists. ExileStreet

NY Post / copyright 2009 NY Post

Ralph Peters is Fox News’ strategic analyst. His book “Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World” describes his drug-war experiences.

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications.

One Response to “BORDER BLOODBATH”

  1. Mike Rausch Says:

    Ralph, I generally regard you as a genius. However, you are wrong about the gun issue. They are not getting automatic weapons from the U.S. and you know better than that. Automatic weapons are not manufactured for civilian sale in the U.S..

    Fox news reported this week that the claim that U.S. guns make up the majority of those seized in Mexico is a lie. Most guns seized are not tracked back to the U.S. and come from the Mexican army and other foreign countries. Check with the ATF on that. They will verify that information.

    At the same time, how does taking guns away from law abiding Americans suddenly make criminals honest? They’ll just get they guns elsewhere. They have millions and millions of drug dollars to buy them.

    I’m disappointed that someone as brilliant as you would take Hillary Clinton’s bogus talking points and push them without checking your facts.

    Love ya man — but you are wrong on this.

Leave a Reply