Thursday, March 10, 2016

Book Review - Alligators in the Moat: Politics and the Mexican Border

IT STARTS AT THE TOP: The U.S. Border Patrol and ICE receive most of the criticism for the United States' failed policy concerning illegal activity on our border with Mexico. The truth is the situation on our border with Mexico is exactly what most politicians are comfortable with. Meanwhile patriotic federal agents who work on the ground as well as American citizens who live in rural areas close to the border are thrown under the bus, and anyone who criticizes the policy coming out of Washington D.C. is slandered, threatened, or even worse. The Border Patrol agents are only following orders and U.S. citizens are only trying to protect themselves. This is a tale of lies, corruption, cover-up and murder.

Those are the notes on the back of  Alligators in the Moat: Politics and the Mexican Border, by Ed Ashurtz, with a Forward and Conclusion by M. Scott Patino Ph.D.

The pertinent question is, "Do the authors actually follow through on what the blurb says?"

And the answer is a resounding, "Yes".

The problem these border ranchers face is succinctly stated by Patino in his forward:

The Arizona moonlight becomes an ominous backdrop as Mexican smugglers stealthily move their drug-laden servants across the border and through the dark gullies and mountainous terrain that cuts into the starry skyline. The drab appearances and soft nighttime chatter of these narco-terrorists belie the lethal capabilities allowing them to move their contraband beyond the scope of the border patrol. These nocturnal predators use advanced communication technology, night vision capabilities, automatic weapons, and complex tactical movements that operate in long “rat lines” that include forward observers, halcones (Spanish for hawks) that drive along adjacent roads acting as scouts, moles that have penetrated local security, and support elements supplying food and aid while holed up in nearby caverns. And as recent events have proven, they are not afraid to kill anyone who stands in their way. The whole scenario resembles more the activities of Latin American revolutionaries like the FARC [Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia] than what many Americans have been led to believe are the desperate steps of impoverished illegals seeking a better way of life in the United States.

What follows are twenty chapters by Ashurtz - told through his eyes and experiences - describing the economic harm, physical destruction, murder and heartbreak visited upon these families and their communities. 

His chapter The Smartest Men In America about the ranchers meeting with Senators McCain and Draper is a classic, and from my professional experience, rings all too true.

Having known Frank Krentz from the NMSU Rodeo Program and Sue Krentz from various forums and discussions on federal lands issues, his chapter All Hell Breaks Loose about the murder of Rob Krentz, hit close to home.  Without invading the family's privacy, Ashurtz lays out exactly what he thinks happened and who committed the act.                                                     

 Although to my knowledge our paths have never crossed, I do feel a certain kinship with Ashurtz. He went to work for the Gray Ranch in 1974 and had his first run in with a group of illegals.  I went to work for Senator Domenici that same year and experienced my first exposure to the "political system."  We've had similar experiences over the years, even both being team ropers, that has affected our way of viewing and analyzing events.

There is, though, one big difference.  This guy can really write.

For just $17.51 on Amazon you'll receive an education, with keen insights and observations on the issues, and experience some laughter and maybe even a few tears.  This is a quality paper back with print that even I can read.  You better get this one. And a couple more for your friends in town.

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