During the Vietnam War, and probably during every war since the first caveman threw the first spear at the guy in the next cave, there has been the truth as those far away perceived things, and the truth that the man on the ground experienced.

More than once, during my time overseas, small skirmishes in which a shot or two were fired were reported as major encounters, and resounding victories over the enemy were declared in small ambushes where the only thing that got killed may have been a monkey or a hapless peasant. In reading about some of the encounters we were in, after the fact, I saw a lot more fiction than reality. I don’t know what the folks back in the air-conditioned offices someplace were talking about, but it sure wasn’t what we troops on the ground experienced. But what the heck, it looked good for the folks back home, right?

In Arizona, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has told citizens groups and reporters that things have gotten so dangerous in his area that he is anticipating an armed conflict between his deputies and drug cartel members within the next 30 to 60 days.

Pinal County, located about 70 miles north of the Mexican border, is in the path of major drug routes. Things became so bad last year that the federal government put up signs along Interstate 8 warning drivers and hikers that they were entering an active smuggling area, and that there is a danger of encountering armed criminals. 

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Sheriff Babeu told the Arizona Republic newspaper that he believes a gun battle between his deputies and drug smugglers is coming, because officers are working hard to intercept the criminals as they make their way through the rugged desert terrain that is part of his area of responsibility. The Sheriff said drug gangs have posted armed guards on their smuggling routes through Pinal County.

In a public statement directed at the drug lords, Sheriff Babeu said “We have had enough.  We’re going into these areas and sending a very clear message… we see you and we’re not going to let you through.”

The Sheriff’s comments followed claims by Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano that violent crime is down by 30 percent in American border counties since the Southwest Border Initiative began in March, 2009. Napolitano also said that, thanks to increased manpower and better technology, arrests are down 36 percent on the border, claiming that the government’s actions have proven to be a strong deterrent to criminals from south of the border.

Babeu, an outspoken critic of Napolitano, says she is downplaying border violence and is divorced from reality. “The border is not more secure than before, and this problem hasn’t gone away,” Babeu told reporters.

The sheriff says apprehensions, drug seizures and related pursuits are on the rise in Pinal County. Last year, his office reported seizing 44,189 pounds of marijuana, being involved in 335 vehicle pursuits, and making 370 calls to the Border Patrol for assistance with suspected illegal immigrants. By comparison, deputies seized 28,903 pounds of marijuana, had 142 pursuits, and called on the Border Patrol 188 times in 2007.

Still, Napolitano continues to quote unreal statistics and parrot the “all is good” party line, saying  “It is inaccurate to state that the border is overrun with violence and out of control. This statement, often made only to score political points, is just plain wrong.”

Yeah, Janet, we wouldn’t want anybody misstating the facts to gain political points, would we?

I don’t know about you, but given the choice between the Washington politicians who don’t live and deal with the very real problems on our border every day, or the guy who is on the front line, fighting the battle to stem the flood of illegal drugs and aliens streaming north, I’ll believe the man on the ground every time.

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10 Comments on The Man On The Ground

  1. The only way to atop the drugs is a shoot on site and ask questions later. Maby some vigalinties could help thde idoit napolational dosen’t live in the real world and never has we have to start getting har on the boarder problem

  2. Tom Rose says:

    Several days ago you mentioned when you went through one of the Border Patrol checkpoints on I-10, the Feds were standing around not paying attention. Perhaps that might be why arrests and seizures are down.

  3. Bill Daines says:

    It is amazing when I hear that serious crime is reported to be down. This misleads the public. We live in a society where the real serious criminal will do anything to escape a LEO. The drug problem, in the eye of roughly 50% of folks believe the problem is not serious. If that’s what is perceived, I’m so sorry and have to feel happy they had not experienced any of the drug epidemic. But I resent the statements that crime is down. If anything might be down its the arrests, apprensions. LEO’s now are involved in taking more complaints and have more down time due to report writing etc. The time they spend on actual patrol is considerably less than ever before. One reason, the economy, another, manpower. Criminals respond to less visual patrol to increasing their criminal behavior. The on duty fatality rate of LEO’s is on the rise. Its just a shame that a governmental agency has to put up a sign to warn folks that that area is unsafe, but thats reality. Today we have to go to the drug problem and not wait until it comes to us, “proactive and less reative”. Pinal County Sheriff, go get them, keep up the enforcement. BD. Retired LEO.

  4. Don Damkaer says:

    Nick – Janet is not the AG. She is the head of Homeland Security! Regardless, and being a former Governor of AZ, she is lost in the party line diatribe that we hear daily. Signs like the one you posted are all over S. AZ on Federal Lands. The National Guard is active once again (although not nearly the numbers the Gov’s of the southern states wanted), coupled with the cold weather, so apprehensions are down.

  5. Dave Kunz says:

    It’s past time that we send in the Marines One every 1000 yards facing south, locked & loaded. Semper Fi !!!!

  6. Jan Mains says:

    As residents of Pinal County, we can only say, “Go Paul” we’re proud of him and his dedication to enforcement. Do we feel absolutely safe from all criminal activity caused by border jumpers and drug related offenses? NO! Janet is just a political whore that will say anything to protect her future political interests. Can you say Supreme Court Justice?

  7. bucky says:

    Another case where our so called leaders, are so concerned with pleasing the Mexican goverment, and the illegal immigrants entering the country. They can’t see the woods for the forest.
    I agree with Dave Kuntz bring our troops hoem and put them on the border…

  8. Butch says:

    Although it has been 20 years ago, why did we deliver a massive (and decisive) response to the land invasion of a foreign country (Kuwait) and now we totally ignore (if not sanction or even welcome) a land invasion of our own home land?

    Even more of a question after the 9/11 attacks!

    Butch

  9. Allan says:

    The present administration in Washington doesn’t want it to be reported as a problem. They want to promote their “Dream” package to give amnestey to illegal immigrants and let them become citizens. States and counties are going to have to take a more active role on enforcing the safety of the real citizens if our federal government keeps its “head in the sand” position. I say “Go Sheriff Paul”

  10. don says:

    I’m with you 100% on the fact that what is reported may have very little to do with what happened. I’m not so on board with reports these country sheriffs make. They are as likely as not to be sucking up to the mistaken fears of the right wing SHTF (Something Hitting The Fan) fools or maybe even some left wing idiots.

    Illegal immigrants have worked in this country for many years; indeed, they have taken care of the houses and children of our politicians as we occasionally hear. LOL These aren’t bad people; they are just out looking for work without taking care of all the paperwork involved with being legal. Every big farm in the southwest has used illegals to help them harvest their crops. The braceros have helped this country more than anyone imagines.

    As to the drug problem; why don’t we (the U.S.) legalize drugs? If marijuana were legal, we could tax it and we wouldn’t have such a deficit. Surely no one believes that old crap about it leading to heroin, etc.?

    To continue the thought, if cocaine were legally available, would you use it? Nope, me either. So why, in the land of the free, isn’t it legal to possess? If some poor fool wants to get high, why not? Trust me, your child will make his or her own choices about alcohol/drugs/tattoos/enhancements & a bunch more things. Stop trying to control the world; control yourself and let others do the same!

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