Can we talk about a war other than Vietnam for a minute?
Political debate is now focused on whether Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and his mates were under fire at Cam Ranh Bay and how close he was to the Cambodian border (not very) three decades ago. But there are American foot soldiers under siege right now on our own borders.
And neither party is doing much of anything to arm, fund or defend them.
Instead, the Associated Press reported this weekend that President Bush's nephew, George P. Bush, traveled to Mexico in search of overseas votes and condemned the federal policy of arming U.S. Border Patrol agents with plastic pellet guns. According to the AP:
"Speaking in a mix of English and sometimes-halting Spanish, George P. Bush said his uncle was not to blame for the gun policy, which has angered Mexicans. He instead blamed it on 'some local INS guy who's trying to be tough, act macho.' "
Bush went further in defaming the character of our Border Patrol agents and their supervisors: "If there has been American approval for this policy, that is reprehensible," George P. Bush said of the guns, essentially paintball projectiles filled with chile powder. "It's kind of barbarous."
Newsflash, George P.: Your uncle abolished the INS last spring. As for the pepperball gun policy, the Border Patrol purchased a measly 14 of the pellet guns for agents in Harlingen, Texas, earlier this month after conducting a study of non-lethal weaponry. The guns were first made available to agents to protect them against violent confrontations in California and Arizona in 2001.
Whose bright idea was it to arm our border guards with chile powder as they stand watch against terrorists, drug dealers and other thugs? Border Patrol spokesman Doug Mosier noted that the guns were purchased as part of a binational pilot project with -- pay attention, George P. -- Mexico.
George P. Bush calls it "barbarous" that we arm Border Patrol agents with plastic pellet guns. The true disgrace is that we have rendered our border guards defenseless, handing them toy guns instead of real weapons. The criminals in Mexico who traipse across our border have no problems with "macho" displays of barbarism. Park Ranger Kris Eggle was murdered by an AK-47-wielding Mexican drug smuggler two years ago this month. Kris was 28 when he was gunned down -- the same age as George P. Bush.