Columns » Bob McCord

Watch the borders

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Do you remember that President Bush said that we had to invade Iraq before Saddam started attacking us and other democratic nations with his super powerful bombs? Well, we did it, but we didn’t find any of the bombs, and, in fact, the British told us recently that our president had been determined to invade Iraq even before he knew anything about the bombs. The result is we have spent 28 months and lost 1,700 American soldiers trying to turn Iraq into a democracy without success. More than 100,000 Iraqis have been killed in the struggle. To retaliate, fanatical Muslim groups like al Qaeda from several countries have burst into Iraq to kill American soldiers and into Spain and now Great Britain to kill innocent citizens because those countries are aligned with the U.S. So we have to hope, even pray, that the Bush Administration will do everything possible to protect the country from these true bomb-killers sneaking into the United States. Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security Secretary, startled us when he told the Wall Street Journal last week that some of those people are already here. He says they live in “sleeper cells” — small groups of terrorists living ordinary lives while they wait for orders to make attacks. “We try to intercept them, we try to incapacitate them well before they become operational,” Chertoff said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” Chertoff doesn’t say how many “sleeper cells” are here, but two years ago the former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there were “100 or more” al Qaeda operatives already in the country. However, a year ago an Air Force general told the press that there were no signs of terror cells in this country. Let’s hope he’s right. Chertoff has assured us that his organization and the FBI have been looking for these people ever since Osama bin Laden’s attacks in New York and Washington in 2001 that killed 3,000 innocent Americans. Last month a man and his son connected with an al Qaeda terrorist cell in California were arrested. According to the Bush Administration, we are still trying very hard to find bin Laden, but you have to be somewhat skeptical because he and his staff have been saying this for three years with no result. Back in 2003, the President had said that there was no place that bin Laden could hide because “he was wanted, dead or alive.” So the administration said it was sending the best troops with the best equipment to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two adjoining countries where all our experts seemed to know that bin Laden had hideouts. Well, he’s still alive but the experts don’t tell us much. For example, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan leader, said last week, “We know bin Laden is alive, but we don’t know where he is.” However, a British television reporter said that President Bush was full of praise for General Musharraf. The next day President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan was asked where bin Laden was by a reporter for the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo. This was his answer: “God knows where he is. We don’t know. He is not in Afghanistan.” Some of us right now are more worried about other things. Twenty-five years ago, only 6.2 percent of the United States population was born in a different nation. Today, 12 percent of Americans are foreign-born. There are about 12 million illegal aliens in the United States not counted as citizens, and very little has been done to keep more from coming. President Bush wants those already here to stay a few more years so long as they have jobs, and then they can go back to their country and, if they choose, return to the U.S. the legal way. Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., whom I used to think better of, are trying to pass a new bill that is somewhat similar to the president’s. Our Washington politicians apparently want to keep farmers, small businesses, hotels, restaurants, etc. well supplied with people like so many illegal immigrants who will work for the minimum wage or even less. As for me, I think that Congress ought to raise the minimum wage (which hasn’t been increased since 1997) so that more Americans would go to work with a salary they can live on. Meanwhile, the borders are full of Mexican illegal immigrants despite the fact that some of the border towns are dangerous and run by cocaine dealers. Recently the new police chief in Laredo was shot to death by drug thugs eight hours after he took office. In the last six months, 27 persons have been abducted or have vanished in these border towns. The Mexicans are still there waiting for a chance to sneak into the United States, joining the six out of every 10 illegal immigrants in our country who are Mexican. The problem is that a Muslim terrorist could quickly join the crowd. He could step across the 2,000-mile boundary that has never been guarded as it should have been. But he would like it because after crossing over the Texas border at Brownsville he could get on a bus and be blowing up the state Capitol in Little Rock in 18 hours.

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