A good but true article written by Marine Carlton Meyer, who is another truth teller with brains! Carlton has a great web site called G2mil.com (free access to many great articles). Carlton is writing about what should be done to the drug war waging across our southern borders. At heart of his article is leadership failure and corruption.
Many major decisions deferred by Congress regarding the war being waged in the south is due to the influence of lobbyists hired by corrupt Mexican politicans in turned influenced by the drug cartels. The other influence is slowing down border trade. Again, short term profits trumps doing what is right.
Any person who is in a leadership position and knowningly partakes in not making the right decision in regards to doing something about the war along our border is morally corrupt. Carlton, as always points out a problem and offers viable solutions. As I have also said about my fellow citizens of the U.S., if we did not have a drug problem, the cartels would not be in business. So, every time someone uses illegal drugs, they are funding corruption, murder and evil. They are not only harming themselves and their families, but also harming their fellow law abiding citizens. We should not tolerate this type of behavior as it is also undermining our once great nation.
The Border Cartels Challenge Obama By Carlton Meyer Apr/21/2009
In the great movie “Traffic,” the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), played by Michael Douglas, holds a meeting with the nation’s top drug warriors. He states that the war on drugs has clearly failed, and asks for new, fresh ideas, something out of the box. There was no response, just silence. “Traffic” was released nine years ago, yet President Obama will encounter that same silence as he searches for solutions to the drug cartels in Mexico. He will make no progress if he relies on advice from their unofficial American allies, the drug enforcement cartel and the homeland security cartel.
Last September, SRA warned readers of growing instability in Mexico, which faces five major problems: 1) rapidly declining oil production that funds 40% of its federal government, 2) the economic decline of its largest trading partner – the USA, 3) a reluctance in the USA to absorb a million poor Mexican refugees each year, 4) the continued growth in power of Mexican drug cartels, 5) a sharp fall in tourism.
The economic wallop of the first three problems resulted in millions of desperate recruits for the drug cartels. This quickly elevated the level of violence, which in turn led to a sharp fall in tourism revenue and cross-border shopping and partying. The Pentagon officially recognized this threat last November with the publication of “Joint Operating Environment 2008.” The report warns that Pakistan and Mexico are in danger of regime collapse with dire consequences for the USA.
This alarm was ignored in Washington D.C. despite the thousands of drug cartel related murders last year in Mexican cities. However, citizens began to complain as violence spread across the border. As a result, President Obama recently ordered 450 more federal law enforcement agents to the border region and appointed a border czar to coordinate actions. Drug War Follies Sending more agents and more funding to the border will have little impact if resources are thrown into the same failed strategies. There are 16,000 federal agents assigned to the Mexican border; 450 more will make little difference.
The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) led to a surge in cross-border traffic. Some 18 million vehicles cross from Mexico every year, less than a million are searched, and drugs often escape detection during these brief searches. Michael Levin is a retired DEA agent and author of two books about the failed drug war. He didn’t like the movie “Traffic” just because in one scene a border agent states that they intercept 30-40% of the drugs crossing the border. If seizure rates were that high, the cartels couldn’t find enough volunteers to smuggle their product.
Levin says perhaps 1% of drugs are seized, so the risks are tiny while the profits are high. However, there are options to quadruple the seizure rate that cost nothing more than the political will to implement change.
Win the Passport Battle An obvious weakness in American homeland security is that people are allowed to legally cross the border without presenting identification. If a person looks like an American citizen, or dresses like one, and speaks good English, he is waved on. As a result, Congress passed a law in 2004 to require a passport or wallet-size passport card to cross into the United States. This requirement was to begin on Jan. 30, 2009, but was delayed until June. This will hurt the drug cartels if they can no longer use English-speaking Mexican drivers as smugglers. They can use those with work or residence visas, but such people are not as desperate for work and will lose their cherished visas if caught smuggling. A few years in prison is less a deterrent than a lifetime ban from the USA.
Smuggling by American citizens will be hampered since passports are scanned and instantly show if that person has a criminal record of drug smuggling, which will guarantee a detailed search. As a result, the drug cartels are using their influence to stop this idea, or at least delay it as President Bush did. This is evident by the outrage expressed by senior Mexican officials, who frequently have profitable relationships with drug cartels. Mexico openly hires congressional lobbyists in Washington DC, and it should surprise no one that drug cartels also employ lobbyists to indirectly influence American legislators.
Many agents for the homeland security cartel dislike the passport requirement because it will increase their workload. In addition, the billionaires plotting to merge Mexico with the USA and Canada as a North American Union hate the idea of any border restrictions. These are using their influence to pressure President Obama to eliminate the passport requirement. If President Obama backs down, it will be a great victory for the drug cartels.
Charge a Fee to Drive Across Complaints that passport checks will cause further delays at congested border crossings are valid. It is not unusual to wait over an hour to drive across a busy border crossing. The solution is a $10 crossing fee for automobiles and $20 for large trucks. Homeland Security collects a $5 fee to cover the cost of searching personal luggage at every American airport, yet there is no user fee for searching vehicles entering international ports of entry. This would raise billions of dollars a year to recover some of the costs from people who use these crossings.
An added bonus is that it would reduce cross-border traffic by perhaps 30% as locals make fewer trips or park and walk across. This means a higher percentage of vehicles can be searched, increasing the risk for smugglers. Agents already stop each vehicle and will soon check passports, so collecting a small fee is easy. Reducing the wait to cross the border would also reduce fuel consumption and air pollution. This will encourage frequent border crossers to use mass transit, like San Diego’s light rail commuter line that has a station right at the Mexican border. This will also eliminate the tax dodge game where Americans cross just to purchase subsidized “half-price” gasoline in Mexico, which angers the Mexican government and deprives American states of tax revenue.
Another problem is that federal law allows drivers of Mexican registered automobiles to cross the border to shop. However, tens of thousands of people who reside in Mexico and work in the USA use Mexican registered automobiles to commute to work. Registration in Mexico is much cheaper, and pollution control standards and insurance requirements do not exist. This deprives states of taxes and contributes to air pollution. A $10 crossing fee would nearly eliminate this problem as commuters use mass transit or carpool.
The only opposition would come from border political leaders, yet their regions receive massive amounts of federal money to guard the border. It costs $10 to cross many large bridges in the USA, and $25 to enter Grand Canyon National Park. A fee to drive across the border is reasonable, especially since it would reduce cross-border traffic congestion.
Burn the Weed There are excellent arguments that legalizing recreational drugs would destroy the drug cartels, and the drug enforcement cartels. However, political support for this drastic change is weak. President Obama hinted that he agrees with most Americans that marijuana is not that dangerous. One of his first acts was to direct the DEA to respect state laws permitting the sale of medical marijuana.
Unfortunately, the DEA remains loyal to its dogma that marijuana is just as dangerous as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine because an old federal law declares it a “Schedule 1” drug — the most dangerous. Amazingly, cocaine and crack cocaine are listed as Schedule 2 drugs. If President Obama wants progress in the war on drugs, he must force the DEA to focus on the most dangerous drugs. Perhaps he should appoint an independent medical board to review the DEA’s drug scheduling. The standard should not be drugs that are the “most addictive” but the “most dangerous” to users and the safety of the general public.
Retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper recently wrote: “There has never been a single recorded marijuana overdose fatality” and that he is unaware of any incident where a marijuana user engaged in acts of violence. This is important since border agents spend much of their time dealing with petty marijuana smugglers. There is an endless game where agents find a few pounds of “weed,” which entitles them to spend several hours in the office preparing legal paperwork, and the subsequent daily circus of court cases involving marijuana smugglers who are sentenced to several months in a minimal security prison where they eat well and get in shape.
Poor illegal immigrants often carry a few pounds of weed in hopes of making some money once they walk across. A few weeks in jail with free food and health care are little punishment, especially if they have a medical problem. This is a massive waste of manpower that should be used to search more vehicles. Another reason to ignore marijuana is because the drug cartels do not smuggle it since the profit margin is far lower. Any Mexican or American farmer can grow weed, whereas hard drugs require a sophisticated network to obtain the raw materials and process them in a lab.
In addition, marijuana is bulky with strong odor, so it is more difficult to smuggle. Some low-level members of drug cartels engage in marijuana smuggling as a hobby since that does not anger their bosses, but this does not fund the drug cartels. President Obama should quietly issue an order for border agents: “Burn the weed and get back to work.” In short, when agents find over a pound of marijuana, they seize the vehicle, burn the weed, input the smuggler’s name into their database for future reference, and tell the smuggler to go home. This doesn’t mean the smuggler goes unpunished, since he lost his marijuana, his vehicle, and is now on a watch list so that every time he enters the USA he will be thoroughly searched.
If the smuggler is not a U.S. citizen, his residence card or visa is revoked and he is deported on the spot. This would anger some federal agents who see all drug smugglers as evil people who must be punished. However, those working as mules are usually poor and unemployed. Those caught with large amounts must inform their boss that it was seized at the border, and hope he believes them. This would encourage more smugglers to walk loads through the desert, but this is far more difficult and risky since Mexican gangs often rob people attempting to cross in remote areas. More vehicles searches will find more hard drugs, and even more marijuana. The real gripe about a “burn the weed” directive is that agents must spend many more hours searching vehicles, rather than taking a break several times a day to book another marijuana smuggler. Even worse, there would be no more days off to testify in federal court about a marijuana seizure.
Ignore the Homeland Security Cartel The Military-Industrial-Congressional complex recognized the profit potential when the Department of Homeland security was formed after the 9-11 terror attacks. For example, the Border Patrol bought its first $40 million “Predator B” Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in 2005 that was developed for the US Army. Some Congressmen expressed worry about costs and safety, since traditional turboprop aircraft perform the same mission and cost less than $1 million each. The Border Patrol’s Predator B went into service on 9-29-05 and crashed for unknown reasons after just six months in service. The 5-01-06 issue of “Aviation Week” noted: “The Predator crashed during an operational mission after a series of redundant, fail-safe systems failed.” The Homeland Security cartel prefers to solve problems with more funding for ultra-expensive technology and executive jets for VIP transport.
President Obama must be skeptical of such proposals and recognize that technology helps find suspected smugglers, but manpower is needed to intercept and search them. Moreover, President Obama must implement a new strategy to weaken the drug cartels. Standing firm on the passport requirement is one element, charging a crossing fee to raise revenue and reduce traffic is another, while increasing vehicle searches by eliminating the circus involved in jailing marijuana smugglers would deal another blow to the drug cartels. Only drug legalization will destroy the cartels, but these three steps will weaken them at no cost.
 “Will U.S. Troops Invade Mexico?” SRA, September 5, 2008.
 “Joint Operating Environment 2008,” U.S. Joint Forces Command, November 25, 2008.
 “Michael Levin,” AEI Speakers, bio accessed April 20, 2009.
 “Ambassador: Mexico to lobby hard for immigration reform,” USA Today, February 20, 2007.
 “Will the USA Invade Canada?,” SRA, July 17, 2007.
 “Drug Scheduling ,” DEA website, accessed April 20, 2009.
 “Thoughts on Pot vs. Alcohol from a former Police Chief” Huffingtonpost, April 20, 2009.