Border Insecurity: The War in Texas

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When presidential candidates casually toss out a talking point about “the need to secure our border,” that bland phrase doesn’t even remotely convey the catastrophic reality of life along the Rio Grande. Our rhetoric needs to catch up.

The Texas Department of Agriculture released a fascinating but alarming report late last month entitled Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment. It confirms what rural Texan farmers and ranchers already know: that our fight against narco-terrorism has taken on “the classic trappings of a real war” and that “all of Central and South America have become an interconnected source of violence and terrorism,” with Texas as “operational ground zero.”

The fact that the Department of Agriculture is now conducting strategic military assessments instead of crop reports is in itself an eye-opening indication of how serious the war being waged at our southern border has become. Compiled by 4-star General Barry McCaffrey, former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and former Commander of all U.S. troops in Central and South America, and Major-General Robert Scales, former Commandant of the U.S. Army War College, the report offers “sobering evidence of cartel criminals gaining ground on Texas soil.”

Driven by astronomical profits (between $19 billion and $39 billion in illicit proceeds move though smuggling operations to Mexico each year), the cartels are waging what is essentially a civil war for control of Mexico, and a simultaneous invasion – that word is not too strong to describe it – of Texas. The report’s crime statistics are jaw-dropping. Six of seven cartels have established command and control facilities in Texas cities that rival even the most sophisticated battalion- or brigade-level combat headquarters.

The report notes that the strategic intent of the ruthless, heavily armed drug cartels is essentially to create a “sanitary zone” one county deep inside the Texas border, which would provide sanctuary from Mexican law enforcement. It would also simultaneously enable the cartels to transform Texas’ border counties into narcotics transshipment points for transport and distribution into the continental United States.

The foot soldiers of the cartels waging this war in Texas are “transnational gang members,” many of them drawn from prison gangs. These gangs not only have long been expanding in Texas (225 different documented gangs in the Houston area alone) and across the U.S., but constitute a tightly knit network of cooperation and connectivity that has been growing between prison gangs and the Mexican cartels.

A Reuters report last week notes that the cartels, which now have operations in all major Texas cities, have even begun recruiting children as young as eleven – whom they refer to as “expendables” – to carry out errands for them like running drugs or acting as lookouts. They know that children are less suspicious than adults, are easily seduced by relatively small sums of money, and face less severe penalties than adults if arrested.

What’s it like for the ranchers and farmers living in the crossfire of these border counties abutting the failed Mexican state?

Living and conducting business in a Texas border county is tantamount to living in a war zone in which civil authorities, law enforcement agencies as well as citizens are under attack around the clock… News of shootings, murders, kidnappings, beheadings, mass graves and other acts of violence coming across the border go far beyond any definition of “spillover violence.”

Many farmers and ranchers are intimidated into silence by the cartels that operate openly on their land; many have even quit their livelihood and moved away. The report includes a cavalcade of “fearful and deeply concerned” statements from local ranchers and farmers like these:

Been ranching since 1923. Most farmers and ranchers around the nation they find a dead cow, and that’s one thing, but just to find dead people, and lots of them, is really something else.

We have had several instances where the guys, the bad guys take bolt cutters and just cut our locks off and do whatever they want. Come in the farm.

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  • Upaces

    Place HUGE signs on the border. If you are caught "invading" the U.S.A., you will be shot on sight. Run an ad in every major newspaper in Mexico stating the same as well as a legally written statement that anyone shot due to throwing rocks or shooting at Border Agents will be shot with "no recourse" will be available for compensation in U.S. Courts.

  • jacob

    Seems to me the censor didn't like my wording that if the Muslims in our midst
    do not like our refulsal to bend over backwards for them, to get the hell back to
    where they came from as after all, we didn't send for them but the way around,
    I'll better keep mum from now and on…..

  • Rifleman

    Meanwhile, hussein makes jokes about a moat, and sues States for doing his job by enforcing the laws he refuses to enforce.

  • Mike

    The government should start an incentive program that gives money to U.S. citizens who bring in dead bodies of cartel members and illegals that have been shot on sight. A cartel member can't be distinguished from an illegal looking for work. So just shoot to kill if they are trespassing. The cartels may be strong but the U.S. has the worlds largest amount of armed citizens. The U.S. is a nation of hunters. The transition from animal to human in order to bring peace and security to our country wouldn't be hard. Round up all hunters and fly them to the border and declare open season. And untie the hands of our Border Patrol Agents!!! If they want to beat a few cartel members while in custody, let them! If they want to shoot a cartel member, let them! Quit imprisoning and punishing the men who protect our borders! I feel like im living in the twilight zone with how rediculous the U.S. has become.

  • LindaRivera

    Control of our border has been lost to the violent drug cartels who have successfully invaded Texas. It is an indictment of our government who have ALLOWED it to happen. It is disgraceful that our military are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our military are desperately needed in America on our border.

    Beginning of quote: 'The Obama administration is sending $5.3 billion for 2012 to our Pakistani “allies” against terrorism, aiding Islamic militants in Libya to the tune of about a billion dollars (two billion by some estimates)." End of quote.

    United together in JIHAD, US/NATO, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah triumph over Libya.

    Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the commander of the U.S. European Command told the U.S. Senate that Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah fighters are among the Libyan rebels currently receiving support from the US and its NATO allies. This was confirmed by one of the Libyan rebel officers, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, who leads one of the Al-Qaeda units.
    (US Aid to Israel’s Enemies, Oct 13th, 2011,

    U.S/NATO joined with Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah terrorists to wage relentless war for months. Bombing Libya back to the stone age.

    Barbaric Al Qaeda and Hezbollah who MURDER our troops in Iraq were considered desirable for placing in power in Libya. US/NATO have great guilt in making the world a far more dangerous place. Empowering Muslim terrorists instead of defending America.

  • LindaRivera

    There is mostly silence about the horrors taking place against Libya's blacks.
    STOP the GENOCIDE of Blacks by the U.S. backed cruel Libya rebels!

    The Obama-supported rebels left in charge are now conducting a “large scale cleaning in the areas under their control with the extermination of all blacks in the capital”, according to The Independent.

    Barbaric atrocities, kidnappings and ruthless genocide of blacks in Libya by US/France/NATO backed Al-Qaeda/Hezbollah rebels has been going on for months.

    US/NATO who have waged war for months for Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda
    who MURDER our troops in Iraq-are RESPONSIBLE for stopping the genocide.

    US/NATO are also responsible for rescuing the many terrified blacks kidnapped by the rebels, including the kidnapped black children who have been horrifically abused by the black-hater Muslim rebels.

    Blacks must have human rights!


    • LibertyLover

      The US should not be in Libya to begin with. The black people of Africa should fight to protect the black people of Africa. I'm sick of Americans being sacrificed to save people who will turn against us as soon as they have been saved from their current tormentors.

      • LindaRivera

        Of course, Americans should not be in Libya! US/NATO should NEVER have gone into Libya! The US/NATO war brought nothing but suffering, death and war to innocents. Under Gaddafi, black people lived in safety. US/NATO waging war for Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and other Muslim terrorists enabled the genocide of blacks. We should never have gone into Iraq and Afghanistan either. Our military needs to come home and defend America.

        And America is broke. We have no money to fight any wars.

      • LindaRivera

        Actually, other African nations are afraid to do anything. The genocide of blacks is perpetrated by the US backed rebels. African nations have little money and very little power.

  • LindaRivera

    Our borders are left unguarded. It has been established that many Muslim terrorists have easily crossed our border (and also weapons of mass destruction?). The barbaric drug cartels work closely with Muslim terrorists Hezbollah. But it is all ignored by our government. IS THIS ANY WAY TO RUN A COUNTRY?
    Terrorist Group Setting Up Operations Near Border
    Hezbollah Considered To Be More Advanced Than Al-Qaida

    May 4, 2011

    SAN DIEGO — A terrorist organization whose home base is in the Middle East has established another home base across the border in Mexico.

    "They are recognized by many experts as the 'A' team of Muslim terrorist organizations," a former U.S. intelligence agent told 10News.

    The former agent, referring to Shi'a Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah, added, "They certainly have had successes in big-ticket bombings."

    Some of the group's bombings include the U.S. embassy in Beirut and Israeli embassy in Argentina.

    However, the group is now active much closer to San Diego.

    "We are looking at 15 or 20 years that Hezbollah has been setting up shop in Mexico," the agent told 10News.

    The agent, who has spent years deep undercover in Mexico, said Hezbollah is partnering with drug organizations, but which ones is not clear at this time.

    He told 10News the group receives cartel cash and protection in exchange for Hezbollah expertise.

    "From money laundering to firearms training and explosives training," the agent said.

  • Cap'n Krunch

    Like everyone else, I have become a voyeur of our own demise. Nobody is recruiting help to staff the front lines, and nobody is cobbling together the American People's Army. Instead, we are glued to the d–n monitors and televisions while sitting on our dead butts, making clever comments about how Obama should be impeached or the fence electrified. Rest assured that this condition will not continue much longer. When you hear the gunshots down the block, maybe then you'll log off the web and activate yourselves. I pray the real Americans will wake up and ACT NOW!

    • Beth

      I believe credit deserves to be given to those who are taking up the battle of the war of words – which is real – and happens to be a part of the whole war. It's all connected. Never underestimate the power of words Cap'n Krunch.

  • guest

    Janet Neopolatin says the border is safe. Can we please move her office to a safe place on that border? Put up or shut up.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Strange as it seems I notice that I never see a license plate from Texas
    and wonder why. Obama cannot catch Mexican or South American illegals
    at the border but I can see them every day all over the place. It seems
    the ones I come across are working or on their way to jobs and not hostile
    or problematic, yet alcohol, drugs and other problems exist in the mobile
    population and they kill people on the roads and commit crimes in larger
    cities. What can you do when a car full of gang members stop to say Hi Amigo!,
    and you are wondering if this is the beginning of the end, something has to
    give and soon……………………………………………………………William

  • Jim

    None of the financed politicians wish to do anything because it might reduce the illegal labor force which makes the financiers and businesses so much money and the Democrats so many potential oters

  • Ronald W. Carnine

    Obama is bringing home thousands of troops from Iraq so why can't they be reassigned to our southern border to make it secure. The murder and mayhem have been going on long enough. It is time to take action, and I mean overwhelming action, so that American citizens are protected and law breakers are driven out of the US and a rancher can take his family out for a walk w/o fear. Our citizens have a right to expect that from their gov't.

    • LindaRivera

      Absolutely correct. The top priority of any government is the protection of its people. The number one reason people pay taxes.
      Our military are indeed, urgently needed on our border.

    • umustbkidding

      Neither Obama or our congress has the American peoples best interest in mind. This isn't a new problem this is a decade old problem that is now being exploited due to a particularly weak administration.

      Both the Mexicans and the Muslims know Democrats will cry BIGGOT against anyone who defends American borders or Americans. AND that's all they need do to stop everyone or anyone who will stand against these murdering thieves.

  • poetcomic1

    There was once a time when the U.S. Navy would blockade a port and prepare for war if ONE American citizen was abused by a tin-pot Central American dictator. Our nation and our people and our heritage gets cheaper by the hour under this deeply treasonous administration.

  • john stevens

    Mr Tapson
    been trying to get a source where i can come out there and put an ad in local news volunteering another set of eyes to ranchers and farmers under attack by asking for only a meal a day and a place to sleep. would appreciate any info you might have. thanks
    john stevens
    retired US Navy
    3x in combat zone (swift river boats)
    post certified (Mobile al reserve police)
    thanks for any help

    • mlcblog

      Bless you.

  • Antidrug

    As is usual with this drug-related issues, the author completely misses the point: As long as there's a market -and a very profitable indeed- for a product, the providers will rush to satisfy the product's demands. You can step up security, intelligence, electronic surveillance, legal warfare against capos, anything… All this will only drive prices up.

    As long as the US doesn't either aim to reduce its consumption of drugs or completely legalizes its use and possession, supplying it in government-controlled stores, the problem will keep on increasing exponentially. Kill or imprison a capo, ten will come to fill his vacated place. Bust a criminal ring, their competitors will take over. Fence-off the border, dozens of high-tech tunnels will criss-cross the empty lands between both countries. The drug mafias are only following to the textbook the most sacred principles of capitalism and fighting with their lives and their dollars and their automatic weapons to maintain them.

  • Jim

    It was all great fun for the farmers of the imperial valley when they were making money hand over fist from the illegal aliens. The ranchers started the ball rolling when they started hiring illegals. What did these business people think; that substandard pay would make the illegal workers happy for ever. Why blame Obama for every thing? Bush was just as bad.They both took had the attitude that open borders would be good for America or rather their friends. Border security is offensive in and of it's self. It doesn't mean a thing. It's just a pacifier. Thank also the the SPLC and the ACLU who were right on the ball suing people who tried to stop the flood.