The “Fast and Furious” seems to never end. No matter how much I wish I was talking about the movie series with underwhelming, unable-to-control-his-emotions-in-a-believable-manner Paul Walker and the overcompensating, macho man Vin Diesel with cheesy special effects (however I did enjoy the first two movies), I’m not.
This “Fast and Furious” refers to a government program led by Attorney General Eric Holder. It was also started under the Bush administration in 2005 under the name “Project Gunrunner.” The operation is currently run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Under “Project Gunrunner,” ATF agents would disguise themselves and sell firearms to suspected cartel members in hopes of tracing the movement of the guns into the eventual hands of cartel leaders. Under the eTrace program, the ATF’s highly sophisticated system of tracing the movement of their guns, the ATF was looking to eventually find and store information of suspected cartel members in order to bring gun smugglers, drug pushers and cartel members to justice.
As with any operation though, the mission did not go according to plan.
According to Carlos Canino, an ATF agent working in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, he said that the ATF’s guns were found at over 200 crime scenes. Also, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed December of 2010 by drug smugglers with weapons obtained through the “Fast and Furious” operation (On a side not, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and the Obama administration forgot the name of Brian Terry who was killed in this fiasco, which is dishonorable to say the least. Conservatives have relentlessly attacked the administration for this as they probably should).
In the world of politics, this is enough fodder to feed the ravenous mouths of the conservative media, pundits and blogosphere looking to do anything except focus on a candidate few Republicans are excited about backing. So what’s their logical move? It is to investigate the Obama administration for an operation that dates back to before the president took office.
According to (R-Ca.) Darrell Issa (who has been indicted for allegedly stealing a Maserati, was accused of stealing a friend’s car and charged with carrying a concealed weapon), 200 Mexicans were killed as a result of the operation. The 200 Mexicans killed represents .00714% of the total 28,000 plus Mexicans that have been brutally and savagely murdered as a result to the U.S.’s relaxed gun laws, the failed War on Drugs and American drug use.
After a 16-month investigation conservative finally got what they wanted. As of Wednesday, Holder has been held in contempt for not cooperating and handing over documents on the “Fast and Furious” operation (the first Obama cabinet member to have been under contempt) under a 23-17 vote by the House Government and Oversight Reform Committee.
However, those on the left believe this investigation is occurring because of an ulterior motive. Holder has been investigating Arizona on their stringent immigration laws, our relaxed guns laws along the Southwest border and voter suppression tactics occurring by the right as we approach elections.
Some also believe this whole investigation to be a ploy by the NRA to attack Holder and potentially remove him from office because of his stance on gun restriction.
Obama, in his first use of executive privilege, didn’t make the situation any better when he refused to hand over documents to the Republican-dominated House—As if the conservative blogosphere needed any other reason to believe the Obama administration was a part of a conspiracy.
*Political ad by America Future Fund concerning the operation:
I am still left with many questions though. The main question I have is why do we as Americans choose to allow our politicians to pursue crazy witch hunts that only scratch the surface of the true problem? The true problem we have is that 28,000 Mexicans have been killed as a direct result to our War on Drugs, relaxed gun laws and addiction to drugs. Almost half of the Mexican cartels’ revenue comes from cannabis with Mexico representing 70% of the drugs that comes into the US.
And why is Issa only worried about 200 Mexicans that have died because of this operation under Obama? What about the other 27,800 Mexicans that were killed? What about DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart and Director of FBI Robert Mueller.
Also, why haven’t we looked into the MANY people involved in this operation. Like Bush’s attorney general and members on the right who also supported this initiative?
Lastly, why was the operation allowed to go this far if the players involved were so incompetent? How could you allow a US border patrol agent to be killed by your weapons? How could the Obama administration be so sloppy? This failed operation is just another opportunity for the right to support the notion that the government is too big and expensive to operate in the public’s interest.
This whole thing reeks of incompetence and political shenanigans. It also gives off a slight odor of racism as every black figure within the Obama administration has been attacked by the right and essentially run out of office from Shirley Sherrod to Van Jones. It was only a matter of time before Holder would be seen in their crosshairs. It’s good to see Obama fight for his cabinet member, even if just this one time—Or maybe he was just trying to save his ass for reelection.
I’ll stick with the latter.
*RIP Brian Terry
Here are two investigative pieces on “Operation Fast and Furious” and the many barriers it has run up against including Congress and the NRA.
1. Katherine Eban’s Fortune Magazine story.
2. Sari Horwitz’s Washington Post story.