A letter last month was sent to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta by two congressmen and seventeen law enforcement leaders from Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The letter asked Panetta to consider donating some of the millions of tons of military equipment to bolster the ongoing war against Mexican drug cartels along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The fight has been escalating in recent years, claiming more than 40,000 lives and spreading deep into the U.S. heartland as narcotraffickers clash with American law enforcement and border patrol officers. In many cases the good guys are outgunned, perhaps due in part to the Fast and Furious fiasco that is still being investigated in Washington.
In Arizona, we've interviewed local sheriff's deputies who spend their own money to buy weapons and bulletproof vests to try and even the odds a bit. If Panetta's office agrees to the request, an infusion of military equipment would prove helpful.
But more equipment and even more money won't solve the problem without politicians willing to display a concrete will to secure the border. Locals along our southern frontier say they are on the front lines of a war that has been effectively ignored by the Obama administration.
The ranchers who live in this war say it'll take more than the cast-off equipment from the war in Iraq to solve the problem. It'll take troops, too.
But for now, they'll take all the help they can get.