President Obama has finally decided to take action against the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants on our southern border, announcing a plan to mobilize 1,200 soldiers.
The president’s soothsayers must finally have noticed that Obama’s immigration non-policy and his kowtowing to Mexico’s president don’t sit well with the voters. Axelrod, et al must be worried, as there is no other explanation for this move — since it is purely political and cosmetic.
The president’s plan is a day late and a dollar short, wholly inadequate to get the job done.
In the late 19th century, the U.S. government built a series of forts in the American southwest with full complements of U.S. Cavalry. Some, like Fort Huachuca, established in 1877, are still active military posts. Huachuca was home to the famed all-black 10th Cavalry Regiment, better known as the “Buffalo Soldiers.” American icon Douglas MacArthur spent some of his youth in one of these forts — his father Arthur was the commanding officer.
The forts were designed to protect the settlers from the constant raids of the native Apaches, who didn’t take kindly to having their land taken.
Anyone who has visited the border may have been surprised to find the Border Patrol is in fact stationed 20 miles north of it. Yes, we now cede 20 miles of our nation to illegal drug and immigration activity. This activity needs to be stopped at the border, not in Phoenix or Tucson.
Currently the Border Patrol behaves like cops in a city. They meet each morning at headquarters, receive their assignments, and then go out for the day to patrol. The Border Patrol also conducts night operations, but there is no 24-hour presence in force at the actual border.
One current effective tactic is the utilization of Forward Observation Bases (FOB). These stations are situated right along the border and staffed with Border Patrol agents, who live at the bases for days at a time, using horses and ATVs to patrol the area.
Human traffickers and drug smugglers avoid these places. It works.
Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has written President Obama regarding building more FOBs on the border. She has also written to fellow Arizonan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. New Mexico’s two U.S. senators, Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall — both Democrats — have also urged that more FOBs be built in the boot heel of New Mexico.
The pleas of all three have been met with silence.
The Arizona Cattle Growers have released an 18-point plan for securing the border. Among other things, the ranchers propose that these FOBs be expanded right at the border and spaced 12 miles apart. They would be fully staffed and provisioned year-round. The ranchers have agreed to help provide key logistical support — namely water. They already have stock tanks, wells, and pumps to provide water for their cattle, so this is not an insurmountable problem. According to Hugh Holub, an old-fashioned country lawyer and writer living in the war zone south of Tucson, the head of the Border Patrol in that area — Victor Manjarrez — is on the record saying he wants more FOBs because they are extremely effective.
The land on the border is very tough on vehicles, and some areas are simply unreachable on wheels. But how about horses? The Arizona cowboys use them in the area, just like the Buffalo Soldiers did over 100 years ago. Think it’s a crazy idea? Read Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton. He writers that the U.S. Special Forces used horses and mules to great effect in 2001 to topple the Taliban during Operation Enduring Freedom.
If we could make horses work in Afghanistan, we surely could do it at home in cowboy country. Time to sound the bugle call, “Boots and Saddles,” and bring back the U.S. Cavalry.
Where do I sign up?