Tuesday, March 29, 2011

National Interests here and abroad

How many of you caught the President's speech on our distraction du jour, Libya, last night? We didn't but we read the text of the speech which can be found here.

To be totally fair to the Commander-in-Chief, we aren't reflexively opposed to what we're doing there, it's just that we're not really quite sure what it is that we're doing there. And the mixed signals we have been getting from the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department, respectively, over the past week and a half has made it clear that our leadership does not really know why it is we're there.

Now, as for the justification laid out by the President last night, we are told that it is in out best "national interest" to aid the Libyan people so that they can overthrow Gadaffi. Whether or not overthrowing a brutal dictator is in our "national interest" is debateable but one thing we do know for sure is that the border we share with Mexico is definetely in our best national interest and recent developments there have caused this current rash of cynicism with our referencing the "distraction" of Libya.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

When they said the drug wars were going violent because of U.S.- purchased guns making their way into Mexico, they weren't kidding.

A couple weeks back, we reported out on a scheme carried out jointly by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security to allow guns sold here in the States to cross the border into Mexico so that we could better identify what drug cartels they were going to. If you are asking yourself, "What could possibly go wrong?", you aren't alone.

It seems more border patrol agents are now speaking out:

South of El Paso, Texas, on Mexico's side of the border, lies Juarez - the most dangerous city in the world. CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports ATF Special Agent Rene Jaquez has been stationed there for the past year, trying to keep U.S. guns from being trafficked into Mexico.

"That's what we do as an agency," Jaquez said. "ATF's primary mission is to make sure that we curtail gun trafficking."

That's why Jaquez tells CBS News he was so alarmed to hear his own agency may have done the opposite: encouraged U.S. gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexico's drug cartels. Apparently, ATF hoped that letting weapons "walk" onto the street - to see where they'd end up - would help them take down a cartel.

Jaquez is so opposed to the strategy, he's speaking out. "You don't let guns walk. I've never let a gun walk."

Yet ATF agents told us they were ordered to let thousands of weapons walk. Two of them, assault rifles, were later found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona last December. Another gunrunning suspect under ATF surveillance was linked to the shooting of Customs Agent Jaime Zapata. And sources say many more "walked" weapons turned up at Mexican crime scenes.

(quick note: we deservedly hammer the main stream press for bias and/or negligence in reporting but in this case, props must be given to CBS News and Sharyl Attkisson for breaking this and staying on top of it.)

No word if any of this has brought us closer to bringing down any Mexican drug cartels but we do have a couple of dead border agents to show for it.

At what point does one sense that the adults are not in charge? There is a level of unseriousness about this whole affair that is at once frightening and sickening. Not to worry - here is that miserable hack that runs the Justice Department:

Justice Department head Eric Holder said the inspector general is investigating. "The aim of the ATF is to try to stop the flow of guns. I think they do a good job in that regard. Questions have been raised by ATF agents about the way in which some of these operations have been conducted. I think those questions have to be taken seriously, and on that basis, I've asked the inspector general to look at it."

They're looking at it.

Thank god for a stagnant economy, natural disasters in the western Pacific and civil unrest in the Mideast because the U.S. government purposely supplying weapons to Mexican drug cartels, on a slow news day, just might make the front page.

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