Allen B. West

U.S. general says crime-terror convergence emerging on border

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Innocent children are not the only ones flowing over our southern border. If they can get in, you can be quite certain the bad guys can too – and do. And now a top U.S. general has an alarming assessment.

In order to put this into context, I’d like to take a moment to explain how our military focuses its efforts globally, based on geographic areas of responsibility (AORs). They are also referred to as Geographic Combatant Commands, and include: CENTCOM (Central Command), PACOM (Pacific Command), AFRICOM (Africa Command), EUCOM (European Command), NORTHCOM (Northern Command, Continental USA), STRATCOM (Strategic Command), and SOUTHCOM (Southern Command). Here in south Florida, in Doral near Miami, is the location of USSOUTHCOM and its responsibility is our southern hemisphere.

The Commanding General of USSOUTHCOM is Marine Corps General John Kelly, and he is gravely concerned about what is occurring in his AOR.

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As reported by Defense One, Gen. Kelly says he’s been unable to combat the steady flow of illegal drugs, weapons and people from Central America, and is looking to Congress for urgent help. Gen. Kelly has asked Congress this year for more money, drones and ships for his mission – a request unlikely to be met. Since October, an influx of nearly 100,000 migrants has made the dangerous journey north from Latin America to the United States border.

General Kelly firmly stated to Defense One, “In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in the hemisphere with the associated drug and [undocumented immigrant] flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance. Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”

We know Obama has a penchant for turning generals who don’t toe his line and agenda points — like former CENTCOM Commander Marine Corps General Mattis — into civilians. I certainly hope we don’t see another truth-telling general, a commander, called on the carpet by Obama’s lapdog, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel — or worse, getting a call from the Capo di tutti Capi Valerie Jarrett.

Defense One reports “in spring hearings before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, Kelly said that budgets cuts are “severely degrading” the military’s ability to defend southern approaches to the U.S border. Last year, he said, his task force was unable to act on nearly 75 percent of illicit trafficking events. “I simply sit and watch it go by,” he said. But the potential threats are even greater. Kelly warned that neglect has created vulnerabilities that can be exploited by terrorist groups, describing a “crime-terror convergence” already seen in Lebanese Hezbollah’s involvement in the region.”

In the past, when I’ve made the statement that not everyone is coming across our border to cut grass, build homes, or babysit our children, the Left went apoplectic predictably.

What no one seems to understand is that there is a category of folks entering America illegally across our southern border classified as OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) and relates to those not of Hispanic origin. You have to wonder, how many OTMs have slipped through into our country while our Border Patrol is living a real-life version of “Kindergarten Cop?”

In a very disconcerting statement General Kelly says, “All this corruption and violence is directly or indirectly due to the insatiable U.S. demand for drugs, particularly cocaine, heroin and now methamphetamines, all of which are produced in Latin America and smuggled into the U.S. along an incredibly efficient network along which anything – hundreds of tons of drugs, people, terrorists, potentially weapons of mass destruction or children – can travel, so long as they can pay the fare.”

Some people think we should simply surrender and stop combating the flow of illegal drugs into America — but the top general assessing the situation is concerned about more than drugs and illegal immigrant children.

As usual, the federal government believes we just need to throw more money at the situation. But Gen. Kelly offers his perspective, “the poverty and violence prompting the migration have created a real threat to U.S. national security. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have the first, fourth and fifth-highest homicide rates in the world and “have left near-broken societies in their wake. Although there are a number of other countries I work with in Latin America and the Caribbean that are going in the same direction, the so-called Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) is far and away the worst off.”

The challenge Gen. Kelly faces is clear: he simply doesn’t have the resources. As Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menedez (D-NJ) says, “while the deployment of U.S. military assets and personnel rightfully prioritizes national security challenges in the Middle East and Central Asia, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is only sourced at five percent of the capacity it needs.”

We somehow forget the number one priority of the federal government is to provide for our common defense — and our southern border is not well defended. We cannot begin any movement towards “comprehensive” (I hate that word) immigration reform until we secure the border and stem the flow. As well, we must develop the capability and capacity to defeat trans-national criminal elements and the support they are lending to Islamic terrorist organizations in our hemisphere. There has to be a clear message sent to the drug cartels and elected officials in Mexico and Central America, but all they’re getting is hand-waving.

Right now, we are leaving ourselves the most insecure right where we should be the most secure: right on our own border. The coordination between USSOUTHCOM, USNORTHCOM, and U.S. Border Patrol is critical and their resourcing is vital. This cannot be relegated into the realm of politics as usual. We should listen to General Kelly, not the charlatans on Capitol Hill — and certainly not the one occupying the White House.

Unfortunately, it seems Obama only listens to Valerie Jarrett — and we know she has vast amounts of strategic military experience.

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