A bad idea, badly executed 3

To continue our discussion of the “Fast and Furious” scandal (see the two posts immediately below, one of them a video of Bill Whittle putting his argument), we now quote Paul Mirengoff’s opinion on what the operation was intended to achieve:

Bill Whittle is arguing that the Fast and Furious program was an effort by the Obama administration to increase bloodshed in Mexico and thereby lead to tougher gun control regulation in the U.S. … The theory cannot be ruled out. However, I don’t find it persuasive. …

Obama and Holder probably would not have believed that increased violence in Mexico could lead to tougher regulation of guns in the U.S. Americans simply don’t care enough about Mexico to alter domestic policy based on what occurs there, especially when it comes to an issue as passionately and endlessly argued as gun control. Americans view violence in Mexico the way they viewed violence in Colombia – unfortunate, typical, and not our problem at any fundamental level. …

Why, then, was the program implemented? As noted, considerable frustration existed over attempts to deal with gun running through interdiction at the point of sale because this form of enforcement resulted in the apprehension of only the small fry. Those who came up with Fast and Furious probably hoped that if guns followed their natural course into Mexico, they would lead to much more important players. Wire taps and other surveillance of Mexican cartel bosses would assist in nailing these players, or so the thinking went.

It was a very bad idea, poorly executed. But, as conservatives should understand better than most, the government frequently implements very bad ideas and does so incompetently.

Yes. Whatever government does, it does badly.

In any case, trying to apprehend cartel bosses through Fast and Furious strikes me as less foolish than intentionally increasing shootings in Mexico to enhance the cause of gun control in the U.S.

But what about the cover-up, including the assertion of a weak executive privilege claim? Bill Whittle says that to understand it, we should follow the ideology. In reality, cover-ups typically stem from a quintessentially non-ideological motive – the desire to escape blame and stay out of trouble.

What kind of trouble? The administration may be motivated by the desire to cover up evidence that the Attorney General knowingly and deliberately lied to Congress. It may want to cover up evidence that Holder knew plenty about Fast and Furious and/or that Obama did too.

Bill Whittle is right anyway that Obama and Holder are evil men. 

Why? 2

The mainstream media tried to ignore the “Fast and Furious” scandal, but can do so no longer. A Congressional panel has recommended that the House of Representatives cite Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for contempt of Congress, and President Obama has asserted executive privilege to shield Justice Department documents from disclosure.

This summary of the dire results of the nefarious activity authorized by the Department of Justice comes from Investor’s Business Daily:

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010 at the hands of an illegal immigrant working for the Sinaloa Cartel just 10 miles from the Mexico border near Nogales, Ariz. Two AK-47 assault rifles found at the site of the Terry shooting were traced back to a straw buyer allowed to smuggle guns into Mexico with the blessing of the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] and Eric Holder’s Department of Justice.

In addition to Agent Terry, Immigration Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata was also killed [February 2011] in a separate incident by a weapon allowed to “walk” into Mexico from the U.S. as part of the administration’s third-rate alleged attempt to track and catch gun traffickers. Let us not forget the hundreds of Mexican nationals who have been killed by Fast and Furious weapons.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) tried to get information from the DOJ and the ATF about the operation dubbed “Fast and Furious”.

They were lied to. The DOJ claimed that allegations of sales of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then took them to Mexico were false. President Obama declared on TV that neither he nor the Attorney General, Eric Holder, had authorized Fast and Furious.  In May 2011 Holder testified to the House Judiciary Committee that he didn’t know who had approved the operation but now it was being investigated. He said he’d only heard about it in “the last few weeks”. But in October 2011 documents surfaced revealing that he had known about it since July 2010. Holder then hastened to say that he had misunderstood the question. (“When did you first know about …” is a difficult question to understand?) In November 2011 he admitted that “gunwalking” had in fact been done in Fast and Furious, and explained that his earlier denials had been unintentional. But he still insisted that he personally had been unaware that “gunwalking” tactics had been used. On June 7 2012 Holder again testified at a Congressional hearing (his seventh on this issue), and again denied knowing anything about his department ordering “gunwalking”. His department had provided only 7,000 documents, about 5% of the number Congress had asked for. Now Congress asked for 1,300 documents in addition to the 7,000. Holder refused to hand them over. On June 20 2012 President Obama invoked “executive privilege” to keep the documents from Congress under his personal orders. On the same day, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform cited Holder for contempt. The House of Representatives will vote on the issue next week.

Can anyone explain, or plausibly conjecture, why Fast and Furious was launched? What the real motive was for the operation, just what the DOJ hoped to accomplish, and exactly how?

The aim stated when the operation was finally admitted to, was to track the firearms to the bosses of Mexican drug cartels, who would then be arrested so that the cartels could be destroyed. Without the co-operation of the Mexican government – which was not even informed about it – how might that have been managed?

Some say it was to help the Obama administration make a case against the Second Amendment rights of US citizens to carry arms. How might that case be argued?

Answers are invited.