"Every American should be watching the border conflict where environmentalists and the Mexican Drug Cartels find themselves bedfellows. They both want permanent protection of large federal holdings with limited access. Here is a classic case of idealism and barbarism meeting head on."
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Danger of Congress and the Omnibus Bill
Call from the Borderland
The Danger of Congress and the Omnibus Bill
By Stephen L. Wilmeth
As Americans watch the Lame Duck Session of Congress, there is little evidence that the Democrats recognize the mandate shot across the bow of party leadership on November 2nd. That leadership trudges ahead with the agenda that does nothing for what ails us. Heart Landers have little faith that “right decisions” will be made and less faith that they would be enforced if they were made.
Americans who live on the border and face that real world challenge look to their front and realize that there will be no real federal intervention unless more American blood is spilled. Those same folks look over their shoulders and view the antics of Congress with hardened skepticism and distrust. Empty suits and collegial expression are what we have come to expect.
From Brownsville to the Pacific Ocean, the southern border is on fire. Every American city that faces the border has ongoing reminders that a war is being waged across from them. In Matamoros across from Brownsville there were over 100 people killed recently in a two day stretch. Across from El Paso in Juarez, the most dangerous city in the world, weekend death counts no longer make the news unless they reach double digits. In the San Diego Sector of the Border Patrol, human and drug smuggling activities are increasing relative to the entire border on a rate of increase that is only matched by the Tucson Sector where the most dangerous border in the world now exists.
In the face of rising Mexican chaos, ensconced leadership has the gall to tell Americans that the border is safer than it has been in over 30 years. With a death count in the First Mexican Revolution of the 21st Century that is well on its way of matching the loss of Americans in Viet Nam, perhaps those that spread that nonsense need to go back and figure out a better way to “package” that bit of propaganda. This is a war, it has no appearances of subsiding, and those who live on the border can make up their own minds about how safe that region has become.
Since the majority of the press and the Obama administration display little realization of the consequences of a war that the government of Mexico is losing, Americans need to become attuned to some simple indicators. That process must start with Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon.
In the much publicized Wikileaks controversy, some interesting American-Mexican communication has been made public. Recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked about how Mexican President Felipe Calderon is holding up. The Mexican Ambassador’s response was that the President has been “down” in meetings. From the success of his efforts, he has reason to be down. His government has brought to trial and prosecuted only two percent of all cartel operatives detained. Similarly, in Juarez where infamous characters like “the Butcher” (El Carnicero) operate, only two percent of all persons arrested have even been charged with a crime. Although there have been some high profile kingpins captured, prosecutions are seldom and woefully unsuccessful.
Such results must be interpreted as corruption of the entire legal system in Mexico, or worse yet, the complicity of Mexican leadership. The age old corruption concern of that government once again bubbles to the surface, but now it is in the midst of a war that threatens America’s own security.
The time has come to start worrying about the survivability of the Mexican government. The first marker of major concern is the flow of revenues from the Mexican oil monopoly, PEMEX, to the government. Because of the importance of those revenues, any substantial reductions would impact the Mexican government’s ability to operate. Current estimates of reductions of revenues from the northern states of Mexico alone are ranging from $350 to $750K per day. The losses are coming from the government’s inability to operate in drug cartel strongholds.
The second factor is the loss of revenues flowing into the northern states from fundamental sources of income including government pensions and moneys remitted from Mexican citizens normally working in the United States. This shortfall is causing major disruption of services and basic living standards.
The third factor is the horrendous social disruption occurring in the war torn municipalities along the border where the cartels are battling for turf and human and drug smuggling corridor access into the United States. In Juarez, huge displacement of residents has already occurred. Those who have dual citizenships have gone north into the United States (has anybody noticed the increased traffic in El Paso in recent months?). Those who do not have the means or options of going north are attempting to leave the border areas and are moving back into the interior of Mexico where it is safer. Regardless of outcome, the disruption of social structure along the border may take a generation to return to some form of equilibrium.
The final and looming prospect is the rebound of the United States’ economy. Mexico is already starved for revenues and hope. The promise of jobs across the border will set off a frenzy of illegal migration like never before.
As citizens, Americans must be concerned with any void that would occur with a Mexican government failure. Unlike past Mexican Revolutions when yet another rich and powerful leader ascended the golden threshold of the Mexican presidency, the world is a much smaller place. Many forces of the world would now be very interested in Mexico’s location on the soft underbelly of America. Those same forces seek conditions of political chaos. The Mexican world of drug cartel violence and unrest would serve them very well.
Recently, Congressman Devan Nunes (R-CA) discussed on national radio the weekly arrival of a plane from the Middle East that drops off passengers in northern South America. From that point, Congressman Nunes described how they make their way through Central America and on into Mexico. The assumption that they proceed northward toward the American border is not a question. It is the most likely outcome.
A review of Illegals “other than Mexicans” from the Office of Immigration Statistics shows a very clear and increasing trend that the onslaught that America faces is not simply from Mexico. Those weekly arrivals are part of that growing trend . . . and danger.
With increasing chaos on the American border with Mexico, a pathetic record of prosecution success by the Mexican government, growing evidence of dangerous arrivals from countries harboring and abetting terrorists, and a Mexican population that is increasingly disrupted, misplaced, and frantic are not the factors that should make American leadership bullish about a positive outcome to this war. The simple truth is Mexico is dangerous, it is on the edge of a catastrophic implosion, and there are too many characters in this world that would love to gain a greater stake in a negative outcome.
Where is American leadership? It is in Washington fiddling with agenda driven legislation and the most heinous of the lot is the Omnibus Lands Bill. In the 100 plus bill monstrosity is S.1689, The Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks Wilderness Act. It is part of the multibillion dollar boondoggle that is being pounded down the throats of Americans. It is not only contrary to the dictates of November 2, 2010, it sets the stage for yet more Mexican conflict for the smuggling rights to the newest Arizona Class Drug and Human Smuggling Corridor. This time it will be in New Mexico and the border classified as “uncontrolled” will be expanded from the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector to the El Paso Sector.
Americans living on the border with duties, responsibilities, and or investments view this one sided agenda with growing hopelessness. If there is a single Christmas wish that Washington might acknowledge, it would be to terminate this attempt to satisfy an agenda that has a downside that transcends all measures of good intentions. Go home . . . don’t do any more harm to us . . . and those that escaped the November 2 mandate can reconvene in 2011 to figure out how to defend your futures and the southern border from the conflagration that it has become!
Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “There is a divide in our neck of the woods that continues to grow. Every American should be watching the border conflict where environmentalists and the Mexican Drug Cartels find themselves bedfellows. They both want permanent protection of large federal holdings with limited access. Here is a classic case of idealism and barbarism meeting head on. It is time that American leaders start protecting our sovereign interests with authority and foresight. The American voters will determine the future of leaders . . . not the environmental community.”