and all, a chap doesn't expect to find a full-grown rhinoceros
in his desk drawer, or a man-eating sparrow on his window ledge.
So you can
imagine my astonishment when I picked up Tuesday's Washington
Times and read on the front page the headline: "Mexican
military incursions reported: U.S. Border Patrol alerts Arizona
a world gone mad we should not expect to see a headline that Mexico
is invading (or even incursioning into) the United States -- unless
it is in the entertainment section regarding a re-make of "The
Mouse That Roared." But the article was on the front page,
and written by Mr. Jerry Seper.
As the editorial
page editor of the Washington Times, I am very familiar
with Jerry Seper. Mr. Seper is no novice to Mexican American border
issues. He is undoubtedly the nation's leading reporter on the
subject. As a longtime reader of Mr. Seper's extraordinary border
reporting, experience has taught me to reliably assume that when
U.S. government officials deny or contradict Mr. Seper's reporting
-- believe Mr. Seper.
reports that: "The U.S. Border Patrol has warned agents in
Arizona of incursions into the U.S. by [heavily armed] Mexican
[military units] 'trained to escape, evade and counterambush'
if detected . . . " The Border Patrol also cautioned its
agents to keep "a low profile," to use "cover and
concealment" in approaching the Mexican military units, and
"to employ 'shadows and camouflage' to conceal themselves
and 'stay as quiet as possible.'"
As a red-blooded
naturalized U.S. citizen (OK, perhaps slightly bluish-red), I
felt my questionably hued blood boiling at the report that our
border patrol has been instructed to hide and stay as quiet as
possible in the face of a foreign military incursion. It's not
that I expected five U.S. Border Patrol agents to take on a heavily
armed Mexican military unit a la John Wayne. (Well, actually,
the thought crossed my mind.)
But I certainly
expected the next line of the report to be that the Pentagon had
been alerted and 10,000 Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton had
been dispatched to drive the Mexican units back across the Rio
Grande -- and then some. If Jimmy Polk was still president, the
Marines would already be well on their way to Veracruz.
of calling in the Marines (or any other American military fighting
organization), U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Salvador Zamora confirmed
the story but said the agents were given guidance on "how
to react to any sightings of military and foreign police in this
country and how to properly document any incursion." He then
went on to excuse the incursions as taking place in areas of the
border "not marked by monuments or signs."
for the Mexican Embassy in Washington did Mr. Zamora one better.
Mr. Rafael Laveaga denied the incursions and asserted that Mexican
military units have strict rules to stay at least a mile from
the border. He then condescendingly suggested that some Mexican
drug smugglers "wear uniforms and drive military-type vehicles"
and might have been "confused" by U.S. authorities as
Mexican military units.
suggest that Mr. Laveaga might have been confused by the fact
that the men were drug smugglers into thinking they were not official
Mexican military units.
Mr. Seper went on to report the views of Mr. T.J. Bonner, 27-year
veteran Border Patrol agent, and head of the 10,000-person National
Border Patrol Council, that: "Intrusions by the Mexican military
to protect drug loads happen all the time and represent a significant
threat to the agents." He went on to say the incursions were
not accidents as the Mexican military has global positioning systems.
216 incursions have been documented according to the Department
of Homeland Security. But yesterday, a Pentagon spokesman said
she had no information on the reported incursion.