Fighting Narco-Terrorism Along The Rio Grande: Does America Know That Texas is at War?

During the past two years the state of Texas has become increasingly threatened by the spread of Mexican cartel organized crime. The threat reflects a change in the strategic intent of the cartels to move their operations into the United States. In effect, the cartels seek to create a “sanitary zone” inside the Texas border — one county deep — that will provide sanctuary from Mexican law enforcement and, at the same time, enable the cartels to transform Texas’ border counties into narcotics transshipment points for continued transport and distribution into the continental United States. To achieve their objectives the cartels are relying increasingly on organized gangs to provide expendable and unaccountable manpower to do their dirty work. These gangs are recruited on the streets of Texas cities and inside Texas prisons by top-tier gangs who work in conjunction with the cartels.

from the September 26th, 2011 report “Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment” by retired four-star Army General Barry McCaffrey and retired Army Major-General Robert Scales

When the Texas Department of Agriculture joined with the Texas Department of Public Safety to commission retired four-star Army General Barry McCaffrey and retired Army Major-General Robert Scales to prepare what Commissioner Todd Staples referred to as a unique and strategic assessment of “the increasingly hostile border regions along the Rio Grande” one might be excused for not immediately equating a military-driven approach to the problem of illegal immigration.  At least not a level of hostility that would warrant a military intervention in relation to developing a strategy to better secure U.S. borders.

After all, the American Dream was built on the premise that those from other nations of the world could come to this country and accomplish success along the lines of a Horatio Alger rags to riches story.  Certainly violence within this widely understood context does not enter the picture, unless you happen to believe Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s claim of frequent beheadings in the desert.

Of course Brewer’s is another state which likely faces a similar problem to that of Texas, in which the latter is battling narco-terrorism, including the efforts on the part of Mexican drug cartels to establish sanitary zones just inside the Texas border.

The fact that Brewer who, it would be safe to say, is not one to exercise restraint in terms of bombastic rhetoric, never referred to narco-terrorism or sanitary zones (at least not in the news segments I viewed), is perhaps why many Americans view border policies and related enforcement of controversial laws as being heavy handed and prejudicial.

However . . . and this is a big however, while it appeared that Arizona’s Governor was referring to immigrants seeking refuge in the U.S. and the promise of a better life, what Texas is battling is far more insidious and dangerous . . . organized crime.

It is through this lens that I will over the next several posts, be reviewing the recently released Texas report. My hope is that this exercise will serve as both a warning message and a call to awareness of the state of the southern U.S. borders and what it means to law enforcement and everyday citizens from coast-to coast. In short, is the nature of the threat real and if it is, to what degree should Americans be alarmed?

Note: Use the following link to access the Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment.  You can also read the report here online through the Slideshare Viewer below:


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