Meanwhile, on the border...
While President Bush obssesses about the fighting thousands of miles away in Lebanon (whilst trying to ignore the full depth of the mess in Baghdad), the situation along the US-Mexico border continues to deteriorate. Zapata County, Texas, Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzales complains that Mexican gangs and drug cartels, which cross the border at will, outgun his police force.
"The weapons we possess are like water guns compared to what they have," Gonzales said. "They're trying to scare us away from the border."Actually, they are invaders with malicious intent who realize that the US is no longer willing to defend its territory and are acting accordingly. They will only grow more brazen and violent as long as they perceive Americans unwilling to protect their land.
Gonzales, representing the Texas Border Sheriffs' Coalition, was one of more than a dozen witnesses to testify before the [Texas state Senate] Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security. The panel was in South Texas for a hearing on border security and funding for sheriffs along the border.
Gonzales said federal efforts to protect the U.S. side of the border have failed, allowing foreign criminals to infiltrate Texas counties - in some cases just to commit violent crimes before slipping back into Mexico.
"Many murders committed in Laredo were committed by Mexican gang members," he said. "(Improvised Explosive Devices) seized in Laredo, we think were being brought to Mexico to be used against us."
Laredo is in Webb County, just west of Zapata County. Gonzales said that in his own county, residents have reported men marching two abreast, carrying backpacks and automatic weapons. He recounted the barrage of gunfire coming at Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies from across the Rio Grande this month.
"It's not just illegal immigrants," he said. "Something more frightening is happening."
Steve McCraw, the governor's director of homeland security, said: "I call them organized crime. They're no longer traffickers."