Friday, March 23, 2012

Martha McSally for Congress: Border Solutions, Not Sound Bites

A Secure Border Requires More Than Sound Bites

March 21, 2012


Tucson, AZ - We need a secure border. No question about it. Yet, after two debates, all we've been hearing from my opponents are the same tired sound bites. But sound bites are not sound solutions. It's time to stop talking about securing the border and simply do it. We have the technology. We have the capability. Now what we need is the political will. Every election, promises are made. And they are not kept.

Election season heats up, and the National Guard gets called in. A few months later, they go home. It's politics, but it's not good policy. We've spent the last decade focused on securing borders eleven and half times zones away in Afghanistan, but given nothing more than a token nod to securing our own porous borders. The hypocrisy and posturing have to stop, and we have to get down to actually fixing the problem.

As a military strategist who helped plan and execute our initial
response in Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of 9-11, I understand that a comprehensive strategy for securing our border must include tactical, operational and strategic approaches working in cooperation to achieve results.

Tactically, that means putting more boots on the ground - and actually putting the border patrol on the border rather than 50 or 100 miles inland or, worse yet, in an office building in Washington, D.C. Then we have to support those brave men and women with the best possible existing technologies and deterrents. That means an intelligence-driven approach that includes fences, barriers, ground and thermal sensors, overhead surveillance and rapid response teams to react swiftly and decisively when illegal crossings are detected.

Operationally, we don't need to waste billions of precious taxpayer dollars on new technologies that never come to fruition. We have the capabilities we need. If we can track a terrorist in the mountains of Afghanistan, we can track a drug mule on our Southern border. We need to use the assets we have to identify smuggling routes and techniques, isolate the organizations carrying out these activities and design mission plans to dismantle them.

Strategically, we need to work with the Mexican government, providing military training and support while demanding accountability from our partners to the South. The Mexican government, while dealing with corruption on many levels, has nonetheless been at war with the drug cartels for most of the last decade. In that time, over 50,000 people - including over 5,000 military and government officials - have been killed by the cartels. We cannot risk Mexico becoming a failed state. That would increase our problems along the border exponentially. We need them to continue to battle the cartels on their end. And, internally, Mexico's drug war is highly unpopular. With Mexican elections coming up this year, now is not the time for us to disengage. We have to work with them, show our commitment to regional stability, and send a message to the drug lords that no place on earth is safe for them: that wherever they go, we will be waiting and ready to take action.

The real question is not whether we can secure our border, but who has the toughness to take the fight to Washington, lead the way, and get things done. The first thing we have to make clear is that this
issue is not about people who want to come to this country, learn the language, work hard and succeed. It's about trans-national criminal organizations that are built and run along military lines, organizations that are trafficking drugs, money, guns and sex-slaves. It's about women who are being raped and left to die in the desert. It's about the destruction these criminal enterprises have brought to the over 1,000 U.S. cities that they've infiltrated.

We can secure our border. And we can do it now. What voters in this district need to decide is who is going to take the fight to Washington and actually get something done? Who has the strategic national and international experience in battling the types of quasi-military criminal organizations that control Mexico's drug trade? Over 40% of the illegal traffic across our border comes through the Tucson sector. The congresswoman from this district must lead the fight in Washington to address this threat.

I am the only candidate in this race who has real, direct experience in planning and executing intelligence-driven strategies against these types of transnational organizations. I have authored and passed legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate. I know how to get things done, and how to fix problems rather than just talk about them. - Martha McSally

Martha McSally for Congress
Sam Stone
Communications Director

Paid for by McSally for Congress

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