Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

2 Texas Mayors View Differs On Using War-Zone Equipment Along Border

Saturday, November 19, 2011 |

Posted on BB Forum by Chivis

Mayors of cities along the Texas-Mexico border intent on protecting the images of their communities are drawing vastly different conclusions about a proposal that would bring in equipment from overseas war zones to bolster border security.

The Send Equipment for National Defense Act, written by Representative Ted Poe a Republican from Humble, would require that 10 percent of certain equipment returned from Iraq — like Humvees, night-vision equipment and unmanned aerial surveillance craft — be made available to state and local agencies for border-security operations.

The proposal has drawn criticism from Mayor John Cook of El Paso, who has vigorously disputed assertions that his city, which sits across the border from Ciudad Juárez, is affected by the same violence that has plagued northern Mexico.

“I would invite them to come to El Paso, and we can look at the inventory of equipment that’s coming back from Iraq and they can tell me where they’d want to locate this,” Mr. Cook said. “To me, it’s just showing a whole lot of ignorance.”

The mayor said moving war zone equipment to the border would send the wrong signal to Mexico and potentially damage the robust symbiotic economic relationship between the two countries. El Paso and Ciudad Juárez trade more than $70 billion annually, Mr. Cook said.

But Mayor Raul Salinas of Laredo, which has the nation’s largest inland port, said he welcomed the equipment and did not view it as an unnecessary militarization of the border.

“I would welcome any resources and equipment that would help us to be more vigilant along the border,” Mr. Salinas said. “And if it’s equipment that would provide support, I would welcome it with open arms.”

Mr. Salinas has also had to fend off accusations that his city is as violent as its Mexican counterpart, Nuevo Laredo. In fact, data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation show that El Paso and Laredo are among the safest cities of their respective sizes in the country.

Mr. Poe said there is no requirement that local and state agencies accept the equipment. He said six Humvees previously used by the military are already operating in six South Texas counties.

“They are better than chasing somebody in a Crown Victoria in some parts of Texas,” Mr. Poe said. “We got this equipment, it’s American equipment, and it was used to secure Iraq. Now why not use it to secure the southern border?”

Mr. Poe’s proposal is likely to draw bipartisan support from two other Texas congressmen, Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, and Michael McCaul, a Republican from Austin. During a committee hearing last week, they pushed their own efforts to bring home war supplies, including equipment from Afghanistan.

Mr. Cuellar said recycling the equipment does not constitute militarizing the border, which he says is not in the United States’ best interest.

“If you send personnel out there to militarize the border, that’s one thing,” Mr. Cuellar said. “But if you use taxpayers’ technology that has been used in one environment” and ask whether it can be used in a different environment, like the border, “the answer is yes.”

Source:
NYT JULIÁN AGUILAR 11.19.11
Texas Tribune

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4 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Did I hear that bullshit response correctly from this idiotic Mayor Cook...."this equipment will damage our robust symbiotic economic relationship?" Never mind the fact that a terrorist and multiple drugs are getting across our borders....any ass that uses words like robust and symbiotic has to be an ass. And who gives a crap if idiot Calderon won't like it. His war on the cartels has not accomplished a thing. Go to Nuevo Laredo or Monterrey where these damn cartels own the entire cities. Mr. Macho Calderon will soon be out of office not accomplishing anything because he thinks Mexico can take care of business. Total Bullshit.

Anonymous said...

I think mayor cook from el paso is involved with the cartel that's why he don't want this equiment in El Paso!

Anonymous said...

Cook is an idiot. The equipment has to be somewhere; why not nearby an area of potential use?

Anonymous said...

Its one thing to have the equipment and another to pay for its upkeep and use. Cities from coast to coast are broke. They can barely pave the roads. Using those drone airplanes would be a budget buster.

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