Operation Fast and Furious was a bad idea that was poorly implemented, and cost the lives of Americans and Mexicans. Current investigations seek to determine who was responsible. But we must not lose sight of the serious fundamental problem: sending high-caliber American weapons to Mexico.
Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the House Oversight Committee again yesterday. For a long time, the committee has tried to find a top official, if possible someone in the White House, to tie to this scandal. That is the political prerogative of Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA).
What is unacceptable is that at the same time the House of Representatives is taking power away from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which is trying to control gun smuggling. The House recently approved a rider to the Justice Department budget that doesn’t allow the ATF to require gun dealers from the four states bordering Mexico to report sales of multiple semiautomatic and high-caliber rifles.
Issa is right in worrying about the weapons lost during Fast and Furious that were later used against Americans. But the House should also be concerned about the fact that almost 70% of the weapons drug traffickers use to flood our country with drugs come from the U.S., and that many of them originate from those 3,000 gun dealers it doesn’t want the ATF to oversee.
The reality is that these lawmakers don’t care very much about the deaths of Americans due to high-caliber weapons-unless they have been linked to Fast and Furious-or the drugs these arms are protecting. In this case, they are in line with the National Rifle Association in supporting unregulated firearms.
It is a tragedy that Congress doesn’t have the same political will to stop drugs from entering the United States-and controlling gun smuggling to Mexico-as it does to conduct hearings whose only objective is to damage the image of the White House.