GOP Presidential Candidates, Lawmakers Address Narco-Terrorism – OpEd
By Jim Kouri
GOP presidential candidates are speaking out against the drug cartels and transnational organized crime gangs who use extreme violence and threats at a time when the Obama Administration released its International Organized Crime Strategy.
For example, Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachman is calling for tougher tactics against Mexican drug cartels such as Los Zetas. She stated during a campaign speech in Sioux City, Iowa that the Obama administration should have erected a fence over the entire southern border to keep out drug smugglers and human traffickers..
“We should build a fence on every mile, every yard, every foot and every inch of that southern border because we are engaged in a narco-terrorism war,” Bachmann said. “Narcotics are coming through. Guns are coming through and also terrorists.”
Bachman failed, however, to point out that the Obama administration canceled the “virtual fence” project which was a compromise between Republican and Democrat lawmakers that changed the original security fence for a number of security measures such as CCTV cameras and motion detectors.
That project was canceled after the Obama Homeland Security Department spent about $1 billion on equipment that malfunctioned frequently.
Bachman’s speech against drug gangs was echoed by Republican candidate Rick Perry, who said narco-terrorists represent a “clear” and “imminent” danger to the United States. He said the federal government should consider all its options to respond to the “threat.” Perry spoke during a conference organized by conservative groups.
“Make no mistake,” Perry said. “What we are looking at south of the border is nothing less than a war waged by these narco-terrorists. They are spreading violence in American cities and selling poison to our children.”
Perry described Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s effort to dismantle the drug cartels in his country. Calderon ordered troops to help police fight the cartels in December 2006, prompting a war that has killed tens of thousands of people including police officials, judges, soldiers, reporters and others.
Perry angered Mexican officials in September when he proposed sending U.S. troops into Mexico to help battle the cartels if he is elected president. Perry also boasted that as the governor of Texas he appropriated about $400 million to secure his state’s border with Mexico.
According to U.S. law enforcement experts, narco-terrorism isn’t just a Mexican problem. Drug smuggling is believed to be financing the Taliban in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, neo-Marxist revolutionaries in South America –such as Colombia’s FARC — and Islamic and Marxist militants in Southeast Asia.
Another House hearing on narco-terrorism is scheduled for Friday, October 14, by the Homeland Security subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the subcommittee, said, “Every American needs to be aware of the threat these narco-terrorists pose to our communities in every state, and to our national security. If the White House does not heed the warning that now is the time to commit to a comprehensive strategy to secure the border, it unfortunately may take a catastrophic event to get their attention.”
Other warnings about the danger to the United States and Americans were included in a recent report on border security conducted by the state of Texas.
The report titled, “Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment,” warns readers that drug cartels are trying to establish “safe houses” or “sanctuaries” from the Mexican military in border areas inside the United States.
The Texas report also claims the Mexican military’s successes against drug cartels are likely to drive more gang competition and violence into Texas.