Border War Rumors

Grim-faced military officers and ashen-faced politicians describe a horrific “war zone,” with “hundreds of people murdered” and “citizens under attack around the clock.” Some of the politicos say that the situation is so dire that it “may require our military.”

Like the frenetic Bush-Cheney litany of lies that rushed America into the senseless Iraq War, what we’re now getting is a similar burst of mendacity about Mexican drug violence spilling across the border into our country. Rick Perry, the Texas gubernatorial goober, is even trying to make it a presidential campaign issue. “It is not safe on that border,” he recently wailed to New Hampshire Republicans, suggesting that he might send U.S. troops into Mexico “to kill these drug cartels.”

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Adding to this macho melodrama, two retired Army generals produced a “study” asserting that spillover violence makes the U.S. side “tantamount to living in a war zone.”

One of the ex-generals is Barry McCaffrey, the infamous, hyperventilating fearmonger who once was America’s drug czar. At a press conference, McCaffrey pointed excitedly to “hundreds of people murdered on our side of the frontier.”

Really? Hundreds murdered? No.

His source turned out to be a South Texas rancher full of anecdotes about dead bodies found in the brush. But the Border Patrol says these were unlucky immigrants who perished during the past several years trying to enter our country, not recent victims of Mexican cartels. In fact, far from being a chaotic war zone, a study of the 14 Texas counties bordering Mexico shows that the number of murders there has actually declined in the past five years.

Rumors of a Mexican cartel war in the United States are nothing but lies by self-serving political opportunists and self-aggrandizing military contractors out to line their pockets.

Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.
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