Border War

BY Herschel Smith
12 years, 6 months ago

We have previously discussed the adoption of military style tactics, techniques and procedures by the Mexican cartels, the increasing corruption of the U.S. border patrol, and the recruitment of large numbers of High Schoolers by the cartels.  After observing that the use of the National Guard is problematic for a number of reasons (including the lack of training, the lack of appropriate rules for the use of force, etc.), I recommended that:

… we view what is going on as a war against warlords and insurgents who will destabilize the state both South and even North of the border.  I have further recommended that the RUF be amended and the U.S. Marines be used to set up outposts and observation posts along the border in distributed operations, even making incursions into Mexican territory if necessary while chasing insurgents (Mexican police have used U.S. soil in pursuit of the insurgents).

While militarization of border security may be an unpalatable option for America, it is the only option that will work.  All other choices make the situation worse because it is allowed to expand and grow.  Every other option is mere window dressing.

We now know that gang members are being recruited by the cartels to do street-level jobs, and the loss of border security has wreaked ecological disaster.

“I have learned to live with trash,” said fifth-generation Arizona rancher Jim Chilton.

He saw his once-beautiful ranch, just a few miles from the border with Mexico, is now dotted with clusters of crushed trees and cactus, whole hillsides have been turned into charred eyesores, years worth of his award-winning conservation projects obliterated — and the whole thing is littered with trash, tons and tons of trash. And some of the trash was dead bodies.

Chilton had the misfortune of settling in the path of what would become a dangerous drug- and human-smuggling route on the U.S.-Mexican border, parallel with the notorious Peck Canyon Corridor.

“I’ve got 30,000 to 40,000 illegal aliens coming right through the ranch every year, and the Forest Service says each one leaves about eight pounds of trash. That means 100 tons of trash. Some cows eat the plastic bags and about 10 head a year die a slow and painful death. At $1,200 a head, that means we lose $12,000 a year to trash.”

Chilton saw southern Arizona not as the headline-grabbing political flashpoint of the Justice Department’s failed “Fast and Furious” guns-to-smugglers tracking project, but as the land-grabbing opportunism of Obama’s resource management agencies and, sadly, the failure of the U.S. Border Patrol to secure that bloody line separating the United States from Mexico.

The land-grabbing chapter of the trash story has gone largely unnoticed, but surfaced last year when the Bureau of Land Management proposed to shut down target shooting on 490,000 acres in the Sonoran Desert National Monument — and in large swaths of other public lands as well.

The reason? Monument manager Richard Hanson claimed shooters were leaving trash at the shooting sites, an outrageously trumped up excuse, but Hanson’s claim couldn’t be refuted at the time.

The BLM had closed 400,000 acres of publicly owned, national monument lands across three states to recreational shooting activities in 2010, labeling recreational shooting as a resource-harming activity and a public safety threat.

That was a clear signal showing that the SDNM move was just another step in Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s obnoxious “lock-it-up-and-kick-’em-out” plans that have drawn the ire of Congress.

If it seems that the administration is taking an un-serious view of border security (intentionally conflating the trash left by illegals with shooters), then this report shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Federal agents trying to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border say they’re hampered by laws that keep them from driving vehicles on huge swaths of land because it falls under U.S. environmental protection, leaving it to wildlife — and illegal immigrants and smugglers who can walk through the territory undisturbed.

A growing number of lawmakers are saying such restrictions have turned wilderness areas into highways for criminals. In recent weeks, three congressional panels, including two in the GOP-controlled House and one in the Democratic-controlled Senate, have moved to give the Border Patrol unfettered access to all federally managed lands within 100 miles of the border with Mexico.

While the cartels develop intricate intelligence networks and adopt military style tactics, the U.S. prohibits access to lands controlled by the Bureau of Land Management due to EPA regulations, and blames trash at the border on shooters.  It’s no wonder that insurgents have gone hunting at the border – not hunting for animal game, but human game.

Five illegal immigrants armed with at least two AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole known as Mesquite Seep just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and one U.S. agent was killed, records show.

A now-sealed federal grand jury indictment in the death of Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry says the Mexican nationals were “patrolling” the rugged desert area of Peck Canyon at about 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 14 with the intent to “intentionally and forcibly assault” Border Patrol agents.

Commenter Scott Wilson recommends the following:

They should take the 7th Army (and the Ghost of Patton), and all its subordinate units, and move it lock, stock & barrel to Del Rio, TX. They can then patrol the banks of the Rio Grande with Bradley’s, Apaches & Cobras. Then, let’s see how much success these border insurgents, armed with the semi-auto AKs have against that.

Germany has the strongest economy in Europe. It can afford to defend itself from Russian aggression. If it can’t, then we have PLENTY of military contractors that can sell them the weapons that they need. Europe needs to stand on its own. Our resources need to be protecting our borders, not Germany’s.

This sentiment is certainly in line with my own, but unfortunately, roving the border with Bradley Fighting Vehicles won’t work.  This requires combat outposts and Marines (or Soldiers) on foot patrol.  Infantry – not mechanized infantry – is the order of the day.

But it will require more than that.  As long as we continue to treat the border as a law enforcement endeavor, with agents subject to rules such as those outlined in the Supreme Court decision in Tennessee versus Garner, with criminals imprisoned or sent back to Mexico to try it all again, we will continue to lose the war at the border.  Imprisonment of drug traffickers and illegals won’t work any more than prisons work in counterinsurgency.  Prisons are a costly ruse.

Make no mistake about it.  This isn’t a war against drugs, or a war against the drug cartels, or a war against illegal immigration, or even a war against human trafficking or Hezbollah fighters entering the U.S. at the Southern border.  This is a war for national sovereignty – a border war.

Law enforcement cannot do the job when people are afraid to call them for fear of retribution and are being told to wear body armor to work out in their own fields.

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A border war.  Only when we militarize the border with combat outposts and shoot all trespassers will we even begin to wage the war on the enemy’s terms.  In spite of claims that the Posse Comitatus Act applies, this war is against non-U.S. citizens, and it is a fight for the survival of what defines America.  Presidents in both parties have seen America as an idea rather than a location with secure borders.

If America is an idea and the Southern border is to be just an imaginary line, then we have already lost.  If America deserves defending, then we must do what is both uncomfortable and necessary to effect its security.

Prior on Border War: Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment

Prior Featured: Analysis of Brief For The U.S. In Opposition to Sean Masciandaro

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  1. On November 27, 2011 at 9:55 pm, Rick Keyes said:

    Most of America does not have any clue about what is going on along the border. And captain fantastic who we have in the White House and his law enforcement and homeland security heads seem more than willing to surrender the border to the cartels. I think it would take a huge event or series of the to shock the public into putting out military on the border or reapers in the sky.

    It would be nice for as willing as the current administration is to use Reapers in the Middle East and Africa to point some of them south and hit the cartels where it hurts.

  2. On November 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm, Warbucks said:

    The President of Columbia suggests also legalizing marijuana

    1 out of 10 drivers you pass on the road every day are under some influence of drugs, medicine, or alcohol that impair their driving ability… So I read somewhere.

    I don’t believe it’s ever going to change much regardless of what we do.

    Police the borders because it’s the right thing to do, but legalize the drugs like alcohol and tax it.

  3. On November 27, 2011 at 11:45 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    We “police” the borders now, Rich. In part, this is the problem. The war isn’t over drugs. It’s over there being such a thing as the border at all.

  4. On November 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the attention:

  5. On November 28, 2011 at 1:05 am, DAve said:

    Legalize marijuana and the cartels will simply flood the markets with methamphetamines instead: they aren’t going to just sit back and lose all their business and profits- why would anyone think they would??? Their business will just shift to something 1000000 times worse.
    Proper decision-making focusses on consequences, not intentions.

  6. On November 28, 2011 at 1:08 am, tyree said:

    Mr. Smith, what comes first, removing all federal and state subsidies and entitlements to illegal aliens or eliminating the border? How do we end the subsidies and entitlements for only some people without an national ID card of some sort? Borders might be an imperfect idea, but the alternative is much worse. My grandson was the only one in his kindergarten class who spoke English at home. I know how bad it can get.

  7. On November 28, 2011 at 1:11 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Nationalized E-Verify.

  8. On November 28, 2011 at 1:12 am, tyree said:

    Dave has a point. When the Australians legalized prostitution the criminals did not go to school, get educated and become fine, upstanding members of society. They started selling drugs to the people who visited the prostitutes. Criminals are not criminals because of the law, they are criminals because they believe the law does not apply to them.

  9. On November 28, 2011 at 1:37 am, Ross N said:

    Here’s a perspective you may have not considered: We deficit spend into our overseas military bases, thus inflating the foreign economy. In effect, foreigners pay for a portion of our presence by way of inflation, as our deficit dollars consume their resources. Those dollars then return home, usually to be locked up as T bills. This is why we have some 800 overseas bases. T Bill purchases mean that those deficit dollars resturn and do not buy our industry and resources. Instead, they are locked away as numbers, serviced with more debt issuance. Good luck getting the Military to withdraw from such a sweet deal.

    With regards to Mexico, NAFTA codified private banking (American) control over their money supply. Chinese MFN status occurred right on the heels of heels of NAFTA provisions under Clinton. China short circuited Mexico, and the bankers/plutocrats pick up real assets in Mexico on the cheap.

    Most of the things we buy from China, should have been made in Mexican maquiladoras, thus providing employment and preventing the Mexinvasion of the U.S. It was a double cross of giant proportions, but the objective was not to help labor in Mexico, it was to grab resources and control.

    The game is one of a neo liberal neo fudalist oligarchy extending control throughout the world. Tolls and tribute will be paid in actual property or in usury transfers. In the case of Mexico, the rich land and productive resources are transferred to the few, a few who can then can be controlled by higher up Western oligarchs. That Mexico had several peso devalutions and has been bear raided (Goldman et al) seems to be beyond coincidence.

    If 95% of Mexico’s population has to scrap for 5% of the wealth, then is it no surprise that cartels and other mafia type operations come into existence? The real answer is to fix Mexico’s social structure, and that means taking a hard look at our financial oligarchs. Mexico is broken, and it was broken on purpose in order to fuel the predatory needs of power mad neo liberals. Some planners in the Washington may also want a failed state on the border, or at least a weakened state that can be easily managed.

  10. On November 28, 2011 at 5:43 am, Francis Buxton said:

    The simple fact is that the “WAR on drugs” fuels black market violence. And it’s not hard to see why. (I mean, the name alone should really be a giveaway.) The war on drugs IS violence. It’s the policy of sending men with guns to confiscate sellers’ profits, destroy their inventories, and lock them (and their customers) in government cages. (Yes, those are acts of violence.) All of the OTHER violence that surrounds the (non-alcohol, non-tobacco) drug trade is fundamentally a REACTION to that initial state-sponsored violence. For example, prohibition renders contracts unenforceable and makes it impossible for competitors to use the courts or the police to settle disputes or challenge intimidation. Those conditions promote violence. Look at Coke and Pepsi. Like rival cartels, they’re “fighting” one another for market share. But I’m pretty sure no one has been decapitated or had their mutilated corpse hung from a bridge as a result of the “Cola Wars.” Today, you also don’t see rival beer distributors engaging in deadly shoot-outs over turf. But you USED TO — during alcohol prohibition. Anyone starting to see a pattern?

  11. On November 28, 2011 at 5:53 am, Francis Buxton said:

    “Criminals are not criminals because of the law, they are criminals because they believe the law does not apply to them.”

    Actually, most crimes are crimes of opportunity. And prohibition creates MASSIVE opportunities. (“Wait, you mean all I have to do is grow a few plants in my closet, and I can make HOW MUCH?”)

    Finally, I just want to say that I’m mystified by “conservatives” who support the war on drugs. (I’m a conservative-leaning libertarian and I’m vehemently opposed to the war on drugs.) Exactly which aspects of the war on (some) drugs are compatible with a belief in “individual liberty,” “limited government,” “respecting the 10th Amendment,” “opposition to the nanny-state,” and “ending hugely expensive government programs with a proven track record of failure”? Sorry, but it seems to me that a lot of “conservative” opposition to reform stems from the misguided belief that this is a “liberal” position (and should therefore be reflexively opposed). It’s not. The war on drugs has been a bipartisan disaster. It also strikes me that there’s a large (and very tired) “culture war” aspect to conservative opposition. “But only hippies and leftists like pot.” Um… no, pretty much everyone likes pot. And even if it IS enjoyed disproportionately by “hippies” or “leftists,” that’s NOT A PRINCIPLED REASON FOR CRIMINALIZING IT! We don’t make hackey-sack possession a crime, do we?

  12. On November 28, 2011 at 7:18 am, egoist said:

    When one of these guys is picked up, rather than sending them back south, they could just give them a 1-way train ticket to DC. Tell them “they love you up there”. I think that would spawn action.

  13. On November 28, 2011 at 8:45 am, Al said:

    Not every Hispanic who works for the BP is corrupt but so many are that they should all be purged including officers with Hispanic spouses. For sure any BP officer (regardless of ethnicity) who has never taken a promotion examination and has not been transferred should be purged.

  14. On November 28, 2011 at 9:02 am, DAve said:

    Supporting the “war on drugs” comes from having actual real-world experience with them and the unholy destruction they cause. Not some academic/theoretical stance based on libertarian talking points-

    Proper decision-making focusses on consequences, not intentions.

  15. On November 28, 2011 at 9:04 am, DAve said:

    FYI Francis not “everyone likes pot”, just all of YOUR friends…

  16. On November 28, 2011 at 10:15 am, Warbucks said:

    There have been so very many approaches on these pages to address effective measures to neutralize drugs and cartels and enforce borders ( , , ) and now one new perspective by ROSS N linking the discussion into the apparent Occupy Wall Street (OWS) banking and currency reform movement context of discussion , a noble discussion who’s time is coming.
    We have even discussed somewhat prohibited subjects of  Skull & Bones, secret societies, New Word Order, CIA involvement in drug trafficking to this day still, The Georgia Guide Stones –500-million population cap for humankind…… and libertarian peaceful anarchy of limited government, and  the apparent failure of religion. 

    We now seem about ready for either the Second Coming or Call In The Marines in yet another war where our own backyards become part of the battlefield, an issue by the way being voted on today in Congress in our uninterrupted march toward one world government a singularity in power which has little to do with spiritual unity, love, tolerance, and personal enlightenment….

  17. On November 28, 2011 at 11:19 am, AJ said:

    I tend to think that if all drugs were legalized and regulated, this border and cartel problem would vanish. The cartels are aggressive because LE is interfering with their profits. Take away the profits, their reason for existing goes away. The mafia didn’t exist before prohibition. The cartels didn’t exist before prohibition.
    FWIW, I don’t use any drugs, but I don’t know of anyone who refrains only because it’s illegal.

  18. On November 28, 2011 at 11:30 am, Herschel Smith said:

    The Mafia, AJ, existed long before prohibition, and continues to exist to this day (long after prohibition was repealed).

  19. On November 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm, Francis Buxton said:

    DAve: I guess I should have been more clear. No, literally everyone does not like pot. I meant everyone in the sense that people of all backgrounds, political affiliations etc. like pot. And no, not all of my friends like pot. Some of them certainly do. And they’re all great people that I love and care about. (BTW, none of them lives in their parents’ basement and they’re all gainfully employed earning six-figure salaries.) And I don’t think the fact that they choose to relax with cannabis gives the state the right to brand them as criminals or lock them in government cages. I guess that makes me some kind of extremist libertarian ideologue.

  20. On November 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    No matter how much one may try, even with the religious fervor that pro-legalization advocates bring to the table, you cannot make this out to be a debate on cannabis and whether it is legal.

    Again, stay on point please. This isn’t about drugs or any war thereto. It is about the border war, and the border war will exist with or without drugs, legal or not.

  21. On November 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm, Francis Buxton said:

    Aww, crap. I now see that I’d already used my McDonald’s analogy on this thread. (It’s admittedly something of a go-to.) In my defense, I’m on my smartphone, and have been commenting on a few different stories this morning. But feel free to insert your favorite pothead joke here. I mean, I DID walk right into it.

  22. On November 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm, JR said:

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    The idea advanced in this blog to kill ‘all trespassers’ essentially denies that these people have any rights to speak of. One argument is to shoot people who try to shoot you, quite another is to lay down a constant line of fire to kill ‘all trespassers’, purporting essentially that these people forfeit their right to life the moment they enter the US illegally. That includes all children, pregnant mothers, etc. You yourself said that they were recruiting high schoolers, which is right, but then the best modus operandi against these high schoolers, using your strategy, would appear to be to mow them all down. You’re essentially playing into the exact stereotype of border vigilante (only a few steps removed from your proposed organized Marine machine of death in bases along the border) in the movie Machete.

    Your effort to dichotomize your argument in a way that shuts out all discussion about the War on Drugs, human trafficking, etc., from my point of view is ridiculous. The entire point of legalizing the movement and sale of drugs, and free movement of human beings, is to destroy the black market that exists today in both cases. Just over 10 years ago a friend of mine, married to a Salvadorean, had her mother-in-law travel back and forth to the US by BUS on a monthly basis, financing her trips via coyotes (she was totally illegal) with the sale of items on both ends. Imagine that, a sixty-plus year old grandmother traveling unmolested back and forth every month. But once the border fence idea came along, no way back there, choose if you’re staying with your son or in El Salvador. Didn’t stop the movement of people (who are CIVILIANS not combatants in the VAST majority of cases), mind you, it just made the trip much more dangerous, affecting decisions about where to stay and how long. It’s now an extremely lucrative business to move people back and forth, why do you think the 70 people were killed en masse by the Zetas? They REFUSED to bring drugs in, so bye bye. Well, under your plan they could have been killed on both ends in a massacre.

    I use the story just to illustrate that these policy decisions are entirely connected, you absolutely cannot debate one of these issues without tackling the others. Your expertise may be in military matters and so you are ducking these issues, but they’re still at the center of it all. Is it just some sort of bizarre coincidence that the cartels have grown in power exponentially over the past ten years as the War on Drugs and the effort to build a border fence escalated? No way. My dad travelled from his native California every summer to Ensenada in the 50s without a single wall in sight. Tijuana was a tiny little hamlet, much smaller than Ensenada. Drug trafficking and illegal immigration did not start in the XXIst century, but the ultra-sophisticated apparatus to stop both did. And with every tightening of the screw, more innocent people are murdered. I for one am against paying the salaries of those who do it.

  23. On November 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Yes, my position does indeed deny that trespassers (from South of the border into the Northern side of the border) have any rights under the U.S. constitution. You’re restating the obvious. If I claim that Tennessee v. Garner should not apply, then I am stipulating that the SCOTUS’ decision should afford no protection to illegals crossing the border. Your point in simply restating my own point?

    I suspect that it would be very bloody – for a VERY short period of time – until the flow stopped. In the end, lives would be saved because there would be no more dead bodies on ranchers’ land, no more people dying of thirst, no more people getting shot by insurgents, etc.

    You see, the problem is only a problem because we want it to be so. We choose for it to be the way it is. It could be different, but we have no made the collective choice for it to be any different than it is, so until we do, there will continue to be ecological disaster, chaos and death at the border.

  24. On November 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm, Herschel Smith said:


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This article is filed under the category(s) America,Featured,Mexican Cartels,Terrorism,U.S. Border Patrol,U.S. Border Security,U.S. Sovereignty and was published November 27th, 2011 by Herschel Smith.

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