Border? What border?

June 22, 2010

Okay, this is getting ridiculous:

Mexican Gangs Maintain Permanent Lookout Bases in Hills of Arizona

Mexican drug cartels have set up shop on American soil, maintaining lookout bases in strategic locations in the hills of southern Arizona from which their scouts can monitor every move made by law enforcement officials, federal agents tell Fox News.

The scouts are supplied by drivers who bring them food, water, batteries for radios — all the items they need to stay in the wilderness for a long time.

(…)

“To say that this area is out of control is an understatement,” said an agent who patrols the area and asked not to be named. “We (federal border agents), as well as the Pima County Sheriff Office and the Bureau of Land Management, can attest to that.”

Much of the drug traffic originates in the Menagers Dam area, the Vekol Valley, Stanfield and around the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. It even follows a natural gas pipeline that runs from Mexico into Arizona.

In these areas, which are south and west of Tucson, sources said there are “cartel scouts galore” watching the movements of federal, state and local law enforcement, from the border all the way up to Interstate 8.

“Every night we’re getting beaten like a pinata at a birthday party by drug, alien smugglers,” a second federal agent told Fox News by e-mail. “The danger is out there, with all the weapons being found coming northbound…. someone needs to know about this!”

The area they’re talking about is roughly that of the Gadsden Purchase, land bought from Mexico to secure a southern route for a transcontinental railroad.

I hadn’t heard of any plans to give it back, have you?

Hello? Sovereignty? Bueller? Anyone?

I realize the border has been a bipartisan problem through several administrations, but it’s safe to say it’s getting much worse when foreign paramilitary criminal gangs are setting up forward observation posts on your own territory.

Dear Mr. President:

Rather than take over car companies and health care and instead of trying to regulate the very air we breathe, how about doing the job you’re assigned to do?

Thank you.

Love,

The American People

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Obama should fire General McChrystal

June 22, 2010

Those aren’t easy words for me to write, but the President has no choice after his field commander in Afghanistan aired scathing criticisms of the administration and the President himself in an interview with, unbelievably, Rolling Stone:

The top U.S. war commander in Afghanistan is being called to the White House for a face-to-face meeting with President Obama after issuing an apology Tuesday for an interview in which he described the president as unprepared for their first encounter.

In the article in this week’s issue of Rolling Stone, Gen. Stanley McChrystal also said he felt betrayed and blind-sided by his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, as he and his aides took shots at other top officials.

McChrystal’s comments are reverberating through Washington and the Pentagon after the magazine depicted him as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration.

It characterized him as unable to convince some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the nation’s longest-running war and dejected that the president didn’t know about his commendable military record.

In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”

(via ST)

He’s damn right it should never have happened. Forget the venue (Rolling Stone? WTF?), one of the pillars of the American constitutionalism is absolute deference to and respect for the civilian chain of command on the part of the military. It’s something that’s been drilled into our officers for so long and so hard that it’s become almost reflexive. The President has a constitutional role as Commander in Chief, and for any military man to disparage publicly the President of the United States or his ambassadors is by extension to disparage the Constitution itself and carries the faint whiff of Caesarism.

“But what about the general’s rights of free speech,” one may ask. First, they were necessarily and voluntarily limited when he swore his oath and donned the uniform. No captain would tolerate being openly berated by a corporal, nor can any president tolerate being openly insulted (and that’s what it was) by his generals. The principles of chain of command and civilian  control demands severe discretion on the part of the military, and McChrystal violated that.

Second, he has reasonable avenues to make his complaints known: he can talk to his superiors directly, including the President. If that doesn’t work, he can testify before relevant committees of Congress to air his concerns. And if that doesn’t work, he can always resign and return to civilian life, reassuming his full right of free speech, and then blast away.

But to castigate the President in a magazine? That’s three strikes in one, general. You’re out.

As I wrote, it’s not easy for me to advocate the dismissal of General McChrystal. Not only does he have a heretofore honorable record, but, at first glance, I largely agree and sympathize with his criticisms. But his method of airing was unacceptably insubordinate. As President Truman did with General MacArthur, President Obama should fire General McChrystal.

And then, one hopes, he’ll replace him with a modern Matthew Ridgway.

RELATED: Byron York examines General McChrystal’s real offense and says it was just a matter of time before the general stuck his foot in his mouth. Jed Babbin argues that Obama cannot fire McChrystal. Meanwhile, Politico reports that McChrystal reviewed the Rolling Stone article and didn’t complain. Hmmm…

UPDATE: Rolling Stone has posted the article. Don’t forget, this isn’t the first time the general has spoken out of turn.