False Security

You can't miss the barrage of headlines detailing the drug cartel war in Mexico. "Mexico Under Siege: The Drug War on Our Doorstep" is the summary The Los Angeles Times places atop the hundreds of stories written by its reporters. A small sample: "Twenty Slain over Weekend in Cuidad Juarez"; "Fourth Mexico Mayor Killed in Under Six Weeks"; "Mexican Marines Find 72 Bodies At Ranch"; and "U.S. May Boost Funding For Mexico's Drug War."

What is not so apparent is the violence and tragic death in another war, one being waged north of the border. In just 40 years, the United States has reverted from a War on Poverty to a war against the poor. This war has many front lines (economic, political, and global), but here on our southwestern border the militarization -- and the casualties -- are dramatic.

In the name of national security, the U.S. has erected more than 640 miles of steel and concrete walls. The number of Border Patrol agents has doubled and then doubled again. Military and Border Patrol helicopters roam the skies of the borderlands, recently joined by seven Predator B drone aircraft, similar to the ones used in the war in Afghanistan. National Guard troops were sent to the border again during the midterm election year. Private prisons are springing up throughout region to jail immigrants. Polls show that 68 percent of American voters support even more walls and militarization in the name of national security.

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Sojourners Magazine February 2011
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