They are Fast and Furious with the red herring. And that’s too bad.

18 Dec 2011 08:51 pm
Posted by: Donna

I get regular email updates from several GOP politicians in Arizona, including my own Representative Ben Quayle. Earlier this afternoon I received a mass email from him demanding US Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation for “the Fast and Furious debacle”.

After questioning the attorney general and listening to his responses during the December 8 Judiciary Hearing, I became increasingly frustrated by his refusal to answer straightforward questions or hold individuals within the Justice Department accountable for the Fast and Furious debacle.

Fast and Furious was a deeply flawed program. Since its implementation, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and numerous Mexican citizens have been killed by criminals using weapons obtained through the program. These facts alone signify a lack of leadership and control within the Justice Department that warrant the removal of certain individuals who authorized and failed to supervise the damaging operation.

Republicans here are leaning hard on this Fast and Furious talking point since the Justice Department released its report describing how Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office engage in racial profiling and brutality toward inmates, especially Latino ones. This came on the heels of the revelation that MCSO botched hundreds of child sex abuse cases. The usual Republican M.O. is distraction and projection and this is what’s going on here: Point the finger at Holder, Obama, and Fast and Furious (distraction) while claiming the Justice Department are the ones distracting with the MCSO report (projection). Repeat ad nauseum.

Let’s be clear, Operation Fast and Furious appears to be a poorly conceived, poorly executed strategy that resulted in multiple tragedies. I can’t think of anything more harebrained and ill-advised than “let’s demonstrate the poor results of no controls on a dangerous activity with a ‘controlled’ experiment where we remove all the controls!” You can’t even call it ironic when things go, um, awry. It’s like unleashing a known invasive species into a known vulnerable habitat and being shocked when it devours everything in sight. So it looks very bad and deserves a thorough investigation. Heads should roll up to and including the highest level of the DOJ, if necessary.

Same goes for MCSO. It’s disgusting and immoral to foster an institutional climate of bigotry and persecution as a law enforcement agency. It’s unconscionable to fail to pursue justice in crimes against children. And while I’m not the slightest bit inclined to help Republicans score political points or win elections, I am a citizen so I’m not going to give a Democratic-led agency a free pass if they’ve screwed up. I want the Maricopa Sheriff AND the ATF to be held accountable for any misdeeds either may have committed. When Republicans use Fast and Furious as a red herring to diminish or supplant the MCSO scandal we all lose.


  1. Comment by Montana Libertarian on December 18, 2011 10:17 pm

    I haven’t followed the situation in Maricopa County, being two large states north of there. However, the situation with respect to Fast and Furious, since it has national and international aspects, is a bit more troubling to me.

    Only a very small percentage of the total number of weapons recovered at Mexican crime scenes originate in this country. The Obama administration usually cites the percentage of weapons recovered in Mexico that could be traced at all, leaving aside a huge number that cannot be traced. Even then, a large fraction of the traced weapons were purchased in this country long ago, which renders the trace meaningless in any practical sense.

    Recently released internal ATF emails make it very clear ATF contemplated linking crimes committed with guns the ATF itself had released into Mexico to efforts to increase gun control measures in this country.

    Let’s be clear: the actions of this administration in allowing guns to move into the underground market with no tracing at all beyond the initial buyer go far beyond dumb. Those actions are criminal. Allowing straw buyers to obtain weapons, allowing those weapons to cross the border, knowingly facilitating the possession of weapons by felons and parties engaged in criminal conspiracies to smuggle drugs are all serious felonies. Those who participated in such actions need to be charged and tried here, then offered to Mexico for extradition if Mexican law recognizes furnishing weapons to murderers as a criminal act.

    This monstrous fiasco in no way can justify further gun control in this country.

    Again, this was not merely a misguided or stupid operation that went awry due to inadequate appreciation of the consequences. It was a whole series of criminal acts committed under color of authority. It is far beyond stupid or even malicious. It is pure evil.

  2. Comment by Donna on December 18, 2011 10:34 pm

    But all of it pretty much demolishes the libertarian argument for no gun control whatsoever. My main problem with Fast and Furious was that it was, stupidly, trying to do a ‘controlled’ libertarian experiment.

  3. Comment by Timmys Cat on December 19, 2011 9:20 am

    Little Benny (pay per view) Quayle like most Goopers, and apparently some “libertarians” like to forget that the model for F & F started in the Phoenix ATF office under He Who Will Not be Nameds Justice Dept. Benny doesn’t seem to want to dig too far down into this pure evil. !!!!!!! 1111 !!!!
    Same with Joe (tax money down the) Arpaio. This whole civil investigation was started under The Phantom President.. The Justice Dept had to sue him to cooperate, delaying the whole thing, thus. giving the Justice Dept hilariously ironic perfect timing. Now he’s bleating about politics. Ha! For one grandstanding about being Amuricas Toughest Shuriff, he sure comes across as a kiity cat nickname.

    F & F =The Mighty GOP Wurlitzer!
    Arpaio = chirp-chirp

  4. Comment by dude on December 19, 2011 11:17 am

    Fast and Furious and its Bush administration predecessor weren’t attempts to get stricter gun control laws, no matter how cute you look when you accuse anyone who notices the gun you’re cradling of trying to sap your precious bodily fluids.

    They were both attempts to find and disrupt the supply of illegal guns to terrorists in Mexico. They were both really, extremely stupid, however, to be carried out as though the straw buyers were directly linked to the cartels.

    Keep in mind, though, that the failed operation didn’t introduce a new concept to the cartels. The ‘iron river’ of illegal guns that arm the madmen in Northern Mexico has been flowing a long time, and stopping that flow doesn’t threaten our right to defend ourselves as Americans.

  5. Comment by Montana Libertarian on December 22, 2011 5:30 pm

    There are a few points that commentators here should think about:

    First, the Bush program differed from Fast and Furious in a number of ways. The guns were traced, not simply released into the wide world. The Mexican government was aware of the program and involved. The program was found to be ineffective prior to 2008 and was terminated.

    Second, the U.S. Department of state has, for a number of years, authorized the sale of 20,000 firearms annually to Mexico for issuance to their police and military. Sadly, through corruption, a number of these guns wind up with the narco cartels. They will, of course, trace back to the U.S.

    Third, since Fast and Furious started in the ATF office where the Bush program ended, it is obvious that managers in that office were either incapable of learning from their mistakes, or the objective of Fast and Furious was different than that of its predecessor.

    Again, Fast and Furious goes far beyond ineptitude or stupidity. It has cost lives on both sides of the border, it will continue to cost lives far into the future.

    Arming criminal cartels is itself a criminal enterprise. Those responsible need to pay the price.

    We don’t have a gun control problem along our southern border. We have a problem with so-called public servants who arm criminals under color of authority. I crime is a crime, even when the perpetrator carries a badge.

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